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Posted: Jun 08, 2018 by jgibbons@chattanooga.gov

One member's story of her experience with the #30DaysofBiking challengeMy name is Amber Douglas and I've lived in Chattanooga for a year and a half. Before moving here I lived in Wichita, Kansas. In 2014, a friend of a friend invited me to participate in a 30 Days of Biking challenge. You see, I had purchased a pink cruiser bike over spring break and was excited to ride. I didn't know very many people that rode bikes, so I jumped on the opportunity to join joyful cyclists in Wichita and around the world. The pledge was simple and low key, ride your bike every day in April to support World Bicycle Relief. There is no distance or time requirement - all of that is completely up to the rider. At that point in my life I hadn't come across a form of physical activity that I much enjoyed, so little did I know that this commitment to ride for 30 days in a row would kickstart my passion for cycling.

Once I completed the challenge in 2014 I was hooked on cycling. I invited friends to join me all the time and found a way to be physically active that I truly enjoyed. In 2015 I completed the challenge again then kept riding every day after that for 180 days in a row. When April 2016 came around I was glad for a motivator to get back on my bike after a long, cold winter. In October 2016 I moved to Chattanooga away from my local cycling community. Thankfully I made some friends in the acroyoga community here and invited them to join me for my fourth year of the 30 Days of Biking challenge. Last year I had two friends join me for some lovely rides along the Tennessee River Walk and even ventured to the Silver Comet trail in Georgia. This year, at least four joyful cyclists joined me for the challenge. It was lovely to have the company and accountability, although this challenge is something I would do all by myself if I had to.

Here is what I love about this challenge:

  • Physical Activity: It motivates me to get off the couch and on my bike.
  • GreenTrips: When I could easily drive somewhere to do an errand I choose to get on my bike instead, which really doesn't take that much longer.
  • Building Community: This challenge helps me create more opportunities to connect with other cyclists and friends in my community.
  • Awareness: When more cyclists are on the road drivers become more aware of their presence. Wichita drivers were not always kind to cyclists. I've been cursed and honked at many times, but I try to remember that every encounter is an opportunity to teach drivers about treating cyclists with respect and giving them the space they deserve on the road.

People join the challenge for a myriad of reasons. The ones I've listed are mine but I don't speak for the group. I would love to see more cyclists in Chattanooga take this challenge next year and maybe organize some group rides in the month of April. Mostly I'm grateful for the friends who joined and supported me this year and hope to see them do the same next year.

For more info on the challenge visit the challenge website. 

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