Treat Yourself to a Joyride

Tales from the biking life

Intake Advisor Jessica Schmidt has not had access to a car for ten years. “I have never had the desire to own a vehicle,” she says. “It is getting easier all the time to continue to live car-free.” Now living in Eugene, Oregon, Jessica first started getting around by bicycle when she lived in Washington, DC right after college. Living in group houses where chores like grocery shopping were shared helped, as did being “somewhat of a daredevil on my bike at that time,” she says.

Next, Jessica moved to Minneapolis. Having her own apartment meant doing all her own shopping—sometimes tough to do on a bike. Luckily, she says, her brother owned a bike shop and hooked her up with a rear rack and clip-on bags that have lasted fifteen years and counting. Clothing, footwear, safety gear, and lights have been another learning curve, she says. She’s always worn a helmet, and has experimented with different equipment over the years. “A lot of those things are personal preference, and lucky for us there are tons of choices available,” she says.

When she moved to Oregon in 2008, Jessica’s first order of business was to get fenders and rain gear. “The trail system in Eugene is fantastic,” she says. “I can bike everywhere.” Jessica says she has no intention of giving up biking. “The money I save is a plus,” she says. “Since I started working from home, the exercise factor has become more important.  I definitely value the environmental impact of my choices and continue to try to decrease my carbon footprint.”

For those new to biking, Jessica has some advice. First she says, get a bicycle trail map of your area. “You might be surprised and impressed about where you can go on your bike,” she says. “Challenge yourself to try an errand on your bike that you would normally jump in your car to do. Biking is fun! If you haven’t done it much since your childhood, treat yourself to a joyride!”

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