“That taste of freedom, feeling of infinity…”
Sup Suppaiboonsuk – 3rd year Chemical and Biological Engineering
Sup was stopped on her Rad Bike just outside of IKB library, looking dynamite on her tiny red 1980’s vintage apollo road bike. I caught up her with later that week for a few of her insights on biking.
Her quest to find the Raddest bike was not an easy one. Looking for a great bike in a super small size, or a vintage bike in rideable condition, had her cruising Craigslist daily, and frequently popping into bike shops all around Vancouver. One day, she went back to Rideonagain, and it was there she found the perfect bike! She said, “I was sooo happy that day; it felt just like winning a lottery!”
Since her golden ticket day, the little Apollo (God of music, poetry, art, light and knowledge), has been up and down countless Vancouver streets. In the summer, it was the a tool for the good life. She recalled, “I biked down to Stevensons to get some gelato, and I biked downtown to Stanley Park a lot of times.”
Now, back in the school grind, bike riding continues to be useful. She bikes to school at least twice a week. The week we talked, she had biked to school every day that week!
Biking to school can seem daunting. Doesn’t it take too long? Won’t I get all gross and sweaty? However, Sup said it actually takes her less time to get to school on a bike than it typically does in a bus in rush hour. From Arbutus, it’s actually less than 30 minutes! As well, once you’re on campus, it takes almost no time to make otherwise lengthy trips from building to building. The benefits go beyond time saving too, as Sup explains: “I get the exercise my body needs as well as that mentality for classes.”
Sup has been trying her hand at DIY too! Over the summer, she volunteered at Our Community Bikes on Main Street, where she learned how to fix bikes, and got her hands dirty working with tools. Our Community Bikes is similar to the UBC Bike Kitchen, where you can bring in your bike and learn to fix it yourself. Both shops are non-profit and aim to be safe and inclusive spaces for all folks!
Unfortunately, Sup’s volunteering time was cut short when she got into a bike accident. Following the accident, she became keenly aware of the importance of safety. She always wears a helmet. She says, “Every time I am on the bike, I make sure I stay focus and alert to the surroundings. And when I am tired or don’t feel well, I make sure I don’t bike.”
But when you do feel well, there’s nothing like biking to make you feel even better. It’s not just about the make and model of the bike, or the bike lanes, hills, fenders, or bad drivers — it’s about the feeling of riding. Sup describes it perfectly: “It’s just nice to have moments when you are able to listen to yourself and be aware of not only your thoughts, but your body movements and the surroundings – how the wind brushes your cheeks, the trees…But then there’s also that taste of freedom, that feeling of infinity, that attracts me.”
Rad bike of the week!
Cycling is revolutionary. No constant dependence on fossil fuels. No more wasting your life in traffic jams. Faster than walking, with a bit better view. It’s the cheapest type of transit around, and definitely the most enjoyable. Wikipedia puts it in perspective:
A human being traveling on a bicycle at 16-24 km/h (10-15 mph), using only the power required to walk, is the most energy efficient means of transport generally available.
Rad bike of the week is a spotlight on people who are in on the secret: biking is best. It’s radical, subversive, and freeing.