Pushing Off Curbs, Gettin’ Places.
A guest post by BicycLincoln board member Derek Augustine.
Like most, the bicycle started off as my first taste of freedom as a child. Freedom to go to the park without needing to bum a ride from mom and dad. The ability to ride to the ball field and play a pick-up game with the neighbor kids. The opportunity to pedal over to grandma’s house for a mid-day snack and some conversation. The potential to do whatever I wanted to do, whenever I wanted to do it, even when the parents said “no” (sorry mom and dad).
As I got older my bike took a backstage and was not a key part of my life. I went about 10 years without doing much cycling at all, aside from just a couple brief stints in college to try to save some gas money. It wasn’t until 2010, that I found my way back on the bike. Inspired by a co-worker that commuted year-round, I decided to take the leap myself. This was the beginning of me “getting places”.
My first stop, trying to lose some weight. I had let myself go a bit and the initial reason for me buying a bike as an adult was to drop a few pounds. So, I bought the bike and started on my daily commute journey to reduce the number on the scale. At the time, that’s all I had in mind, but my bike and Lincoln’s cycling community had much more in store for me.
Almost immediately I started seeing the value of using my bike to commute everywhere. Quick trips to the store down the street, riding to the restaurant for dinner with friends, commuting to the football game to avoid parking and traffic, and much more. I also started to notice more and more things Lincoln had to offer, slowly rolling around town allowed for me to take a look around and see more of the community. So many local shops, restaurants, and parks, many of them now my favorite places, would have gone unnoticed.
Cycling quickly became a part of my identity. I was biking anywhere and everywhere. And chomping at the bit to talk about it within anyone who would give me their ear. Eventually, this led to meeting my now wife, who will surely attest to the fact that I was all about riding my bike just 3 months into my journey to lose some weight. While I don’t credit cycling for leading me to her directly, it would be amiss to say it hasn’t impacted our relationship. And it has definitely helped to bring us together and has become a shared passion of ours. You know the ol’ N+1 / S-1 saying / Rule #12 of the Velominati, I’m pretty sure S is near Infinity for us. I love our bike adventures and look forward to many more.
Biking also helped me find a place in our community, I started volunteering at races, doing the occasional group ride, and eventually doing some racing myself. I found my people, and have enjoyed getting to know all of the folks that make up the Lincoln bike community. In 2016, I ended up applying for a position on BicycLincoln’s board which led me to meeting even more of Lincoln’s ever-growing bike family. In the 5 years since then, I’ve seen the board go from just a group of like minded individuals getting people together to talk bikes every so often to a 501(c)(3) with a mission to get more people on bikes and making cycling more accessible to everyone in our city.
Nowadays, I’m a father and husband first and foremost, but being on a bike is still integral to my identity. Cycling with a young family presents its own challenges, but I’ve had a blast figuring out solutions to them and sharing the love of bikes with my kids. Both my boys love to ride their bikes now, with my oldest being fearless on the bike and loving to go for rides all around town, and my youngest wanting to rip around on his balance bike almost daily. I can’t wait to see where cycling takes our family in the future!