Sara Rubin here, thinking about the joy of traveling around town on two wheels. Ever since I learned in a college class on energy (co-taught by a chemistry professor and a physics professor) that bicycling remains the most efficient form of transportation in terms of energy expended per distance traveled, I’ve been enamored with bicycling for that simple reason. It’s an old technology but still the best.
There are tons of other reasons to love bicycling though. It’s a sport you can do wearing jeans, or even a dress and high heels, for one. Unlike some forms of exertion that require breaking a sweat, you can bike at a faster speed for a serious workout (and a chance to show off your neon spandex) or you can pedal at a leisurely, mellow speed. You also get a slower tour of places you might zip past in a car, making it a great way to get a scenic experience of a natural place (think Fort Ord National Monument, with miles of paved—carless!—roads and also single-track trails) or a neighborhood. Plus you avoid combustion of fossil fuels and that guilty feeling of contributing negatively to the climate crisis. You don’t have to be fit or have a certain body type to be a bicyclist—it’s for anyone at any speed and any age.
For Mari Lynch, a local bicycling advocate, it’s mostly about the simple joy of biking. After moving to Monterey County from Santa Cruz in 1981, she took a few years off. She had young kids, and lived off Highway 68 where bicycling infrastructure is less than inviting. But then 12 years ago, she started bike commuting, and the feeling clicked. “I remembered why I loved biking so much, and just what a joy it is,” she says.
A lot of people would be content just to keep on pedaling for their own commute (or their own joy). But Lynch started a website with one post—tips for tourists on how to bike around Monterey. Then she added a post with tips for locals (and tourists) on biking Monterey County. And 12 years later, Bicycling Monterey is a trove of knowledge, safety tips, need-to-know info on biking locally.
Lynch has maintained the effort as a volunteer for 12 years, becoming a partner of the California Bicycle Coalition. And starting tomorrow, Oct. 7, she’s headed over to Laguna Seca for the annual Sea Otter Classic (after a one-year hiatus due to Covid) to see the latest and greatest in bike gear and bike fandom. (Check out tomorrow’s print edition of the Weekly for a guide to some of the races to watch at Sea Otter; for an update on the new ownership of this local festival, check out this recent post.)
While Sea Otter is a four-day-long festival—with races and also a huge expo with opportunities to check out new gear and ride some demo bikes—bicycling and bicycling advocacy is a thing that happens day in and day out. If you want to get involved in local bike advocacy work with ideas for infrastructure or safety improvements or anything, check in with Lynch. She’d love to hear from you.
And happy biking.