Written by Mimi Torres
I've always considered myself an environmentalist. As a young girl, I was the one that encouraged the family to recycle, and I always signed us up for beach clean-ups. I became vegetarian when I was 10 and vegan when I was 20. In college I became more directly involved with activism through on and off campus environmental groups. It was also in college that I made the conscious decision not to drive. After getting my license, I went and looked at a few used cars, but then I realized that if I had a car, I would drive it all the time, especially to see friends that lived out of town, and then I would feel like a hypocrite.
I soon realized that there are many more local benefits from the bike economy, from lowering families’ health care costs to reducing a business’s need to invest in costly parking spaces for staff and customers. And you can’t place a monetary value on happiness. I love to ride my bike.
As an only child I had over-protective parents that would not let me ride my bike outside of our driveway or empty parking lots. I didn't go on my first real bike ride until I was 17. While I found that I loved biking, I didn’t buy my first bike as an adult until the summer of 2007. Since then, I have easily logged several thousand miles on my bike. I love the freedom that riding provides, and I love living in the Bay Area because I can ride all year.
I love biking during commuting hours and being able to cruise past long lines of cars held up at red lights. While drivers are breathing exhaust (studies have shown that cyclists breathe less exhaust), and honking at each other, I feel the breeze and enjoy the sights off the roadside. Not to mention that I always get a great parking spot.
In September I am riding my Hybrid road bike on the 2012 West Coast Climate Ride as part of the Green For All Team. The longest trip I've gone on so far was a two-day bike trip to Santa Cruz. I am really looking forward to the Climate Ride. As part of the ride, I need to raise $2400 to support sustainable solutions, bike advocacy, and the environmental work of groups like Green For All. If you would like to donate to my ride, please visit: http://climateride.donordrive.com/participant/mimi710. Even my over-protective family is really supportive of this ride—I hope you will be too!