The Unexpected "Commute": An Urbanite in the Rough

I didn't grow up in Indianapolis, or anywhere remotely resembling Indianapolis for that matter. The majority of my formative years were spent in a semi-rural town in central North Carolina. My town in the Appalachian foothills, teamed with winding country roads, stretches of towering deciduous forests, and large granite boulders that I just knew where dinosaur fossils.

However, paired with the vast expanses of beautiful terrain were, well… vast expanses. Nothing in my town was close together so I spent a lot of my time traveling to and from different places. School? 20 minutes away. Soccer practice? Another 20 minutes. My best friend’s house? 15 long minutes of anticipation in the car. You get the idea. These drives had always been a part of my life so I never really knew the difference until this past May.

May was a month of change for me. After graduating from college, I packed my twin mattress and the file cabinet I used as my dresser into a moving truck, sold my ’95 Nissan Maxima, and made my way up to Indianapolis. Having never lived in the city for an extended period of time, I was anxious and excited to begin this next chapter of my life.

After unloading my (very) few belongings and getting a little bit settled, the first item on my to-do list was to buy a nice road bike to replace the car I had just sold. Lucky for me, one of my new neighbors had just the Craigslist connection I was looking for, and soon I had purchased a 1985 Trek 450 Series royal blue road bike. Cue the triumphant music.

My move to the Fall Creek Place neighborhood in downtown Indy marked the first time I had ever truly lived on my own in an urban setting. And what was the first thing I noticed? Everything was so unbelievably close together! If I wanted to eat out for dinner all I had to do was bike down the Monon for a mile or so and I had multiple restaurants to choose from. If I wanted to go visit a friend in a different neighborhood, this meant a 15-minute bike ride instead of a 15-minute ride in the car. I had never known such incredible convenience in my life!

What made this convenience so fantastic though was the simple fact that I now had the ability to bike to work at the Harrison Center. Each weekday morning throughout this past summer I would wake up, get ready, eat breakfast, grab my helmet, and tear down Alabama Street legs pumping and feeling alive (if you’ve never started your workday with a bike ride, I would highly recommend it). This ride, paired with the fact that I was saving money while also helping the environment, proved to be a great start to some pretty great days throughout my first full summer in Indy.

While the cold months are quickly approaching, and the time to store my bike for the winter has almost arrived, I’m already looking forward to next summer when I’m back on two wheels and enjoying my daily work “commutes” to work once more.