Koula is a local Potter who is currently setting shop in the new CoRK Arts District and will be a contributing writer here along with Abhishek which most of you already know from here and most recently from here.
How I got Started
By Koula Redmond
When I first got into biking as an adult, I wasn’t even aware that all these different kinds of styles of bicycling existed. I started riding a beach cruiser style bike around the neighborhood, but wasn’t comfortable riding in the road; when my husband wanted to try trail riding, I tried too and quickly realized it wasn’t for me. I loved being on two wheels, but the dirt and tree roots was just not my thing. It wasn’t until I started riding a road bike on a paved trails that I got really comfortable riding a bike as an adult. Finally I found a bike that was comfortable and that fit my tiny frame and I discovered that I actually kind of liked riding a bike. I started riding the Jacksonville/Baldwin Rail Trail more often and I got accustomed to starting and stopping with some semblance of gracefulness, and also learned to hold a line while controlling my speed. At the few intersections with cars, I grew accustomed to interfacing with traffic once and awhile, too. But, riding on a trail and seeing the same scenery started to get to me. Chucking my bike in the back of my car became a hassle. So, I started riding around my neighborhood on my road bike. I explored my neighborhood and the ones surrounding it by not really having a destination in mind; sometimes I consulted a map, and I would stay within reasonable distance of my house, but I loved being able to wander to wherever looked interesting.
Pretty soon, riding to a destination close to home within the urban core became the norm, but the road bike started becoming less and less practical when I started carrying my heavy laptop in a messenger bag, or when I thought about doing a quick grocery run. At this point, I stumbled upon and started devouring the Copenhagenize and Cycle Chic blogs, and it was all over- I really wanted a dutch-style bike. Step-through frame, basket, fenders, internal hub, generator lights, rear rack-- yes, please! Most of all, I wanted a bike that would allow me to sit up straight so my neck and wrists would get a break during longer rides. So, I did some research and ordered a Pashley Princess Sovereign sight unseen from the fine bike-loving gents at Nest Living.
The more I used cycling as a means to get from point A to point B, the more I started noticing that there were some aspects of bicycling as transportation in Jacksonville that were less than optimal. Like how biking around Jacksonville isn’t so easy if you step a foot outside the urban core. One almost need balls of steel to ride vehicularly in Jacksonville, and must not mind sharing personal space with car traffic. So, I started reading more, and every Saturday I’d ask Matt more questions. Instead of answering me directly, he usually suggested that I read some more or read something different, and those answers were perfect. The more I read, the more I wanted to help with this enigmatic thing called bicycle advocacy. When I started riding a bike more and more, I never expected for bikes to become such a large part of my life. But, that’s where I come from and the rest, they say, is history!