Bikes have been part of my life for as long as I can remember. I learned to ride on the slightly sloped street in front of the house I grew up in, in the small town of Diller, Nebraska. I biked to school by myself some days when I got a little bit older. After a big rain, one of my favorite things to do with my best friend was meet up on our bikes and trace the path of the rushing water through the deepest ditches in town on our bikes. In high school I listened to hours upon hours of language learning podcasts while biking on the side of Highway 77 outside Diller, which paid off when I spent a year in France as a foreign exchange student and biked every day to the bus stop to get to school.
As a student at UNL, I experienced chronic back pain, and for a brief time one summer couldn’t drive at all. I found freedom with my heavy books in the panniers of an upright bike I could ride comfortably between buildings or from my apartment to my internship. I’ve been biking around Lincoln, most often within a few miles of downtown, throughout the decade since.
That decade has also been filled with advocacy, primarily for affordable housing and renter’s rights as well as safer streets for all. I helped organize support for a project making 13th St. south of downtown much safer for all road users, and in 2019, I ran for Lincoln city council with walkability, bikeability, and affordable housing as key pillars of my platform.
After becoming a parent in early 2022, I couldn’t wait to get back on a bike. The diameter of my world had suddenly changed: I could either walk with the baby and the stroller, or I could drive, with no in-between, and it felt so limiting. That changed when my spouse and I purchased an electric cargo bike with a big bucket in front, a style often referred to as a bakfiet, from the Dutch meaning literally “box bike”. The bike we got has a bench for a pair of toddlers or even an adult to sit on, but it also has special adapters that provide a rear-facing infant car seat with its own suspension for a smooth ride for a baby on the bike. I was able to bike that summer on the route for Porch Art Palooza, my favorite Lincoln art event, and it was such a joy. My world had opened back up.
I joined the board of BicycLincoln because I want everyone to feel like they can access the freedom and joy that I’ve found throughout my life on my bike. I know that for that to happen, we need bike infrastructure that makes people feel confident they can arrive at their destination safely, and we need that infrastructure to connect to the places people want to go. I joined the board of BicycLincoln because as a parent who spends a lot of time biking and walking with my child, I know that significant progress is needed when it comes to safe streets for all in Lincoln, even in the most walkable and bikeable parts of town. I joined BicycLincoln because I want to be part of building that bike-friendly future. I believe we can, together.