Public Speaking

The last time I spoke before hundreds of people, I was at a rally for women’s cycling. I spoke way too fast, swallowed basically everything and it still haunts me, even though it was a year ago.

Next Saturday I’ll be speaking at a conference. In front of hundreds of people. On a speech that I’ve practiced for the past two months. I’m terrified. Today I read it to someone and I stumbled through everything. Now it’s a Friday at 2 PM. This week was stressful, no doubt and I’m exhausted. Maybe the fact that I’m sleep deprived was why I read it so fast.

Still my family will be there. I want to ace this. I want to nail this dead to right. But how when I have two midterms, a quiz, a research proposal and so much stuff to read and review in between.

I guess I should do those things and stop writing.

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My first semester

I just had my last class on the day, and I’m still processing. It’s been one hell of a semester and I’m grateful for every moment even the ones that weren’t so good.

I learned a lot. Not just academically, but about myself, and for the first time I didn’t feel so out of place in an academic setting. When I was in high school, everyday I felt like I had to be someone who I wasn’t and I mostly didn’t feel that way in college.

Sure, the weather was cold, and being a bike nerd means that you’re out of place virtually everywhere (except for bike communities) but for once in my life I felt satisfied. I was happy with the people that I surrounded myself with both at college, and at home. Being away from the wonderful Bike NYC community made me realize how grateful I am for them. For teaching me all the cool and gnarly bike fixes, for the amazing advocacy work that they do, and for willing to listen to most of my crazy ideas.

When my professor left the classroom at 2:20 PM today I felt wow this is it. And I’m so grateful. Not just for being in a good place, but for making this all work. Here’s to the greatest city in the world that I’ll be returning to in a couple days- now brb I gotta finish writing those term papers.

Riding For The Sake Of Riding

It’s been a long time since I rode simply for the sake of well-riding. Lately,  I’ve been riding to get places- to get to work, to get home from work, to meet friends, to train for a long tour, to avoid paying MTA fares.

But yesterday, I felt the need to ride to just ride. I wasn’t training for anything spectacular, I was just riding to breathe, and to feel free. I wore an old Team Astana cap that my dad gave me after Vincezo Nibali (a member of Team Astana) won the Tour de France in 2014. For years I constantly wore this when I rode my bike, but this year for some reason I stopped.

I rode passed a lot of the places that I rode growing up, and I felt very nostalgic. But the thing that made me the most nostalgic was hitting the velodrome. The velodrome was my own personal raceway growing up, and as a kid who rode frequently, my favorite activity there was passing the boys. Kissena Velodrome

I remember one incident in particular, when this one boy passed me only to have me pass him like two seconds later. He was panting and completely out of breath.

The one thing I noticed over the years was that there were so few women who rode on the track. There were tons of men, but unless it was an organized team there was almost never any women who rode there.

After I finished my ride on the velodrome, I rode back home and I thought about how much I loved riding, and how over the summer when riding became something I did out of necessity, that it lost some of its peacefulness.  I love my job, and I wouldn’t give it up for anything, but biking to work took some of the meditative aspects away from riding.

Yesterday, riding gave me an hour and a half just to think. Just to feel. To look around me and be present. Here’s one of the views that was too beautiful not to capture: Vandebuilt Motor Parkway

I read somewhere that the one thing that cyclists and vegans have in common is that we won’t shut up about our lifestyles. But how could I not- when you get views this beautiful that you could never get in a car.

What this ride showed me was that I need to take a step back and to stop and look at everything, especially the nature around me.

Happy Riding!

Biking by the River

On Wednesday in the freezing weather I decided that it would be a good idea to bike all across Queens- about a fifteen mile effort. I started close to Long Island and biked my way over to Long Island City- a few blocks from the East River.

I sometimes believe that the River almost has a magical power- because I constantly find myself biking West- as if I’m being pulled towards it. What I notice about New York City, is that the city itself seems to have this power, as it’s attracted about 8 million people to its five boroughs.

But life in the bike lane is hella fun. On my way to dinner, I ran into my friend Laura (who was also having dinner with me). Cruising down the lanes on Skillman Avenue in Sunnyside, while having a great view of the skyline just makes me feel so. freaking. alive.

Just a couple months ago you had to dodge all these crazy car drivers, who were parked in the bike lane, and then got nasty at you when you pointed out that fact to them. Now, I’m able to zip down there without worrying about cars or cars parked in bike lanes.

When I got to LIC, one of the things that I noticed was the really strong winds that blew off the East River. Riding back to the subway (I wasn’t doing another 15 miles at 9.30 at night) I had trouble keeping the bike up and fighting against the wind.

But I realized that this is what I was grateful for this Thanksgiving: being relentlessly alive in the greatest city on Earth, with amazing friends to celebrate that with.

Happy Thanksgiving!! (I know I’m late)

My Blog

I got the idea to start a wordpress after reading some of the stuff written by my friend Anne. Anne and I met over the summer at work, and we’ve become friends in the last couple of months. I’ve seen other wordpresses but what struck me about her’s is that she writes about the struggles and amazing benefits of being a cyclist and leading a life free of conventions.

So I decided to do the same. I want to write about the stuff that I do, the bikes that I ride, and the struggles/benefits of being a college student and a cyclist just trying to survive in this crazy world and streetscape.