I’ve ridden about 70 miles since arriving back in Ogden last Friday. For the most part, the roads and trails have been dry though there is patchy ice and you have to be careful. I took my first tumble in over a year yesterday afternoon. I was on the Ogden River Parkway. It was icy and there was an approaching cyclist. We were on a curve. I gently tapped the brakes and tried to move over to let him pass but it wasn’t enough. Down I went. No big deal (really). It happens.
Along the way, I’ve discovered that not everyone in this bicycle crazy city has bicycle racks. I’ve had to improvise. I don’t have a helmet and that makes me a little nervous so I’ve slowed down and used extra caution. I’ve had one flat and didn’t have the gear to fix it, so I walked home four miles with the bike. I also walked two miles through the heart of Ogden from the FrontRunner station to the east bench Saturday after returning by train from the Outdoor Retailer show in Salt Lake City. It has been cold but that’s winter in the Rocky Mountains. I woke up to a little snow a few days ago. Life went on without cancellations or two hour delays and so I rode on, too.
I’ve cycled to Second Tracks, a sporting goods store, so that I could get some tire levers to replace the ones I left in Indiana. When I get my next flat I’ll be able to change it right then and there. I’ve ridden to both Smith’s (Kroger) and Fresh Market for groceries as well as to the post office. I’ll ride down to the city’s water utility today after work to pay my monthly bill and to the Christmas Box House tomorrow for a business meeting. Along the way, I’m learning to navigate a new city and it is a lot of fun.
I think there are two reasons this is working so well. First, Ogden is a very compact city. Development is spread around town fairly evenly. Sure, there are high traffic commercial corridors but in many cases it’s relatively easy to access the stores along these routes from the side or rear by bicycle or on foot. There’s connectivity. Second, there’s a critical mass of pedestrian and bicyclist traffic here, and that makes motorists more aware of us than they are in a lot of places. I am optimistic that more people will choose to ride in the future, and as they do things will get even better.
It’s always challenging learning new ways but it’s also very rewarding. There’s this incredible sense of satisfaction that comes from knowing that you can get everywhere you need to go without a car. As far as learning curves go, this one has been relatively flat. The plan we laid out over the last couple of years is coming together quite nicely and I couldn’t be happier about it.