MARC sent out a call for biking stories to people around the Kansas City region this spring. What came back was a variety of stories about experiences like falling back in love with bikes after many years apart, connecting with community on two wheels, celebrating new bike infrastructure and more.
Here are a few of those stories.
Connecting and Reconnecting
“After landing a new job working for the City of Kansas City, Missouri, I reconnected with my love of biking and started commuting from Waldo to downtown every day. I used to be an avid biker before I moved to Kansas City...since reconnecting with my two-wheeled friend, I have been happier and healthier than I have in a long, long time."
- Zack B.
“I love bike riding around Kansas City - trails, roads and the new protected lanes (thanks KCMO!). I started riding seriously again when I learned I am at elevated risk of becoming diabetic in my lifetime, using it as a way to help improve my weight and heart-health. I've now ridden two consecutive century rides (100+ miles) for the annual MS150 from OP to Lawrence and back, and plan to join the RAGBRAI ride across Iowa this summer.
I've started bringing my kids along with me on some longer rides, like the Rock Island Trail, and see them improving and getting more and more enjoyment riding. My teenage son is typically a very quiet kid, but sometimes on our rides he opens up with an idea, a reflection, a joke or an anecdote about his favorite video game. My 8-year-old was afraid of biking last spring (outright refused to even try), but now confidently rides 10 miles or more with me and considers herself an accomplished bike rider who can give advice to younger kids who are just learning. I treasure these moments of connection with my family while exploring the city.
In addition to my MS150 team, I've also made friends with other colleagues who ride regularly, and now have a small group of folks who are often ready to get a ride in over lunch or on a nice weekend afternoon - it's great to have a team of folks to urge me on and challenge me. On summer evenings, I often ride longer distances alone, and find that I do some of my best thinking while navigating scenic trails and parts of the city that are otherwise hidden and hard to find.
Riding my bike isn't just about exercise anymore, it's where I connect with family, make new friends and think deep thoughts - all while improving and maintaining my health.”
- Jeremy K.
The Power of E-Bikes
“I purchased an e-bike last October and biked over 1,000 miles through the winter. These miles were all commuting to work, getting groceries, and visiting friends and family. Because of this my partner and I are selling one of our vehicles and going to a one car household. This is saving us thousands of dollars a year and allowing us to save for our future.
Without bike lanes, such as the Truman Road, Gillham and Oak protected cycle tracks, this would not be possible. These bike lanes are not just a fun thing for us but a critical factor in our budgeting and ability to live in Kansas City.”
- Bobby H.
“I used to never think about using a bike for transportation and hadn't used one since I was a kid. But after my organization provided free rides on the RideKC Bike network, I quickly began enjoying getting around that way and purchased my very own electric bike less than a year later. I now use my bike to get dog food, groceries, go to the office, meetings and eat dinner out. I'm happy to drive my car less and enjoy the cities'growing network of protected bike lanes.”
- Gayle B.
“My story really starts like probably many: COVID. I needed and wanted to get out of the house. One of my brothers had started riding a couple of years before, and I always was commenting about how I should get on a bike again. He had one that he had won at a raffle, so I took it. I fell in love! This bike was a 7-speed cruiser so I was a bit limited. I later found a mountain bike that I liked, and it gave me a lot more options in riding... My husband then decided he wanted to ride, and we got him a mountain bike.
We now both have e-bikes and get out on the trails close to us, and we’ve also spent some time on the KATY trail. We love being outside and enjoying the scenery while also getting some exercise.”
- Paula G.
Betting on Bikes
“I made a $1,000 bet with a colleague that I could survive without driving a car for six months. At the end of the bet she said, ‘Double or nothing for another six months.,’ With $2,000 in hand, I upgraded the bike and donated the SUV to charity.”
- Martin C.
For more bike stories, community bike events and resources to get around on two wheels, visit MARC’s Bike Month 2023 webpage.