I take great pride in the city that raised me during my childhood and likewise, to the area that welcomed me into adulthood. By birth I belonged in Los Angeles, and by chosen venture I found a home in the San Francisco Bay Area.
In short, California nurtured me in it’s two greatest locations and spoiled me beneath it’s sunny skies, with it’s dynamic diversity, wonderful weather, beautiful beaches, and amazing atmosphere. Sadly, though, it spoiled me a bit too much in certain aspects; or rather, it conditioned my way of thinking to favor driving over all other forms of transportation.
But this way of thinking was challenged when I took on the role as a Schwinn Ambassador earlier this year and I made it a personal ambition of mine to consider bicycling as the primary form of transportation in my day-to-day life.
You see, getting stuck in traffic on the 405 and moving at speeds slower than 10mph on the 880 is the norm in many of our lives; and many, myself included, willingly succumb to these congested freeways for the sake of comfort. But sitting in a car, waiting for the driver ahead of you to release their breaks and move one yard forward every five minutes, is not comfort- that is accepting one form of transportation and ignoring other possible options.
Given the incentive of riding a beautifully crafted bicycle, I decided to set aside the luxury of my fuel-efficient Honda and rely entirely on the power of some pedals and handy gears. Yet even before my cycling began, the journey presented itself as a memorable and adventurous challenge.
The day my bike arrived, I found myself alone unboxing my Schwinn Traveler outside of a sketchy UPS delivery location very late one night beneath the dim glow of flickering and fading fluorescent streetlights while trying desperately to cram the disassembled bicycle into my small car. After successfully arranging my seats and angling bicycle parts appropriately, I drove home and carried my new ride upstairs to my place and excitedly put the pieces together.After a good night’s rest, my cycling journey was to begin.
The following morning I woke up ready to begin a new lifestyle. Knowing that my body was not immediately prepared for the 14-mile commute to work I decided to take my city cycling at a slow pace.
To begin, I rode my Schwinn Traveler for 3 miles to the nearest BART station and rode the train as close to my work as possible. Overall, my commute was approximately 6.5 miles per day and my body felt every bit of the exercise. It wasn’t just my legs that felt exhausted at the end of the day; surprisingly my entire body felt the effects of my new ride.
I found myself exhausted and out of breath immediately after arriving home from work each night. Yet, still, as tired as I was, I couldn’t fall asleep. I had completed my first days as a “committed” city cyclist and I needed the self-assurance that I was following the appropriate steps to accomplishing my goal.
I sat in front of my computer searching online for “city cycling essentials”.
There was much that I was unaware of when it came to cycling. I learned just how much there is to be known about riding a bicycle, (e.g. how to change a flat, how to fix a loose chain, how to lock up your precious accompaniment to avoid theft, tips and tricks on how to ride safely in various terrains…etc. etc.). Yet, within this research there was one fundamental item that I did in fact already know – how to ride a bike.
But there was nothing that I needed more, than to discover the beauty and excitement that lies within riding a bicycle. Having decided to adopt bicycling as a reliable form of transportation has been a true adventure.
Though I have not yet worked my way up to riding the 14-mile commute to work and the 14-mile commute back from work, I’m slowly preparing for that rewarding day. Week by week I increase the amount of miles that I travel on my sweet ride and slowly approach my goal of a 28-mile daily commute. Until then I see that riding a bicycle is more than just using two wheels to get to where you need to go; riding a bicycle is a journey – it is a literal and metaphorical journey.
– Bryan Martinez
My name is Bryan Martinez and I’m a 24 year old who constantly seeks adventure. I enjoy reading a lot, listening to music, painting, taking photos (instagram is lyfe), devouring pizza, exploring new places, and meeting up with friends for a chill time. I’m an LA native who moved to the San Francisco Bay Area in 2011 to study at UC Berkeley. Though I decided to stick around the area after graduation I often cruise down the coast to visit my family and friends who still reside in my beloved sunny Southern California.
As a Schwinn Ambassador I’m making it my ambition to explore life as a fully committed bicyclist in the urban setting. I’m leaving behind the luxury of driving my car and riding public transportation, to rely entirely on my bicycle to take me wherever I need to go. Rain or shine, I’ll be pedaling my way to every destination and will share my experiences along the journey.
Follow Bryan on his journey on Instagram @bubbabuhryan