My first time as a cyclist in the DF

There was no turning back. I took the card from my wallet and slid by Ecobici reader. This was the first time I went I bike to work. Commonly you know riding a bike since childhood, when he goes to the park and after hours of practice, love handles spend four to two. You feel the master of the universe, invincible, which does not reach anything, not the wind.

Screenshot 05.21.2014 to 18.31.11But one thing is dust off the bike each year for use in the park, or go to Reformation Sunday and join the people who like to enjoy their Sunday walk, and quite another to be an urban cyclist. Cycling between cars in congested streets, usually when not given a respected place for cyclists. Perhaps many experienced cyclists can contradict me and think that no bike lanes or streets adapted to the bike spaces are needed, but again, it was my first time as urban cyclist – and experience in a more friendly city best hybrid bikes would have been much easier.

Well Andrea you’re ready. It should not be that difficult. Very coiffed and formal, beige jacket and black dress. Ready to be on time to chamba.The sun was shining and the man who sells flowers every morning had opened his post, so a strong smell of gardenias filled the sidewalk. He was accompanied picturesque panorama of noisy and heavy trucks that stopped traffic, like shopping the “Oaxacan tamales” advertising their products. Ahhhh had to be Mexico City. 

I took the bike you gave me the machine and settled in my seat measure. Then I got in the car and started pedaling. It took me a few seconds to remember how to do it, and suddenly, I jumped into the street. There were few cars, a plus for me. Within minutes a red truck passed me. Close. Very close. I felt I was losing balance but not let him. He knew better and continue orillarme a little more towards the sidewalk. I think any cyclist who happen to me would think I was a turtle.I was barely holding mode.

I had been told that the most common accidents for cyclists is that a parked car opened the door as you go past. I kept watching parked cars. I did not want to be part of the statistic.

Little by little I was grabbing trust, however, the first time you grab the bike in the city feel that cars do not see it. I felt vulnerable. And what about pedestrians being amateur on the bike, the fear that you are to cross soon. Fear of being hit, afraid to run over. Fear to be taking over as one goes from his vehicle. And one of the most common mistakes when you think that the less bother to cars, and the more to the side of the road you are, the better. Grave mistake. It is best to be visible to the motorist.

I recently started working in an organization that promotes sustainable mobility in cities around the world, and I’m glad I learned about the rights and responsibilities of the urban cyclist. In the city, one is entitled to occupy a lane. Hand, the importance of being visible (especially at night) with a vest or flashy clothes. And what about the reasons  to decide to wear or not wear a helmet , which is not mandatory but it is important. 

I also learned why he should be preferred rather pedestrian. The good cyclist should always let people pass. Not one of those arrogant cyclists who think they own the road.

And perhaps most interesting for me was discovering the concept of intermodality transport integration and cooperation using multiple media in one journey-concepts that should be considered by motorists and cyclists. For a cyclist can ride a car and also be pedestrian, like a motorist who wants to take the bike occasionally. That is, we are no different teams: all people are looking for more efficient ways to move around the city.

 You guys are saying? Do you remember the first time I took the bike in your city? How did it go? Share your experience in the comments section!

(Andrea Arzaba, Mexico City, May 21, 2014).

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