Hi, my name is Nicole Fitzgerald, and I started riding bikes when I lived as a kid in San Diego. We had a cul-de-sac, and I just remember going around and around in the cul-de-sac. My dad always likes to tell the story of me riding bikes because I got all of the neighborhood kids to ride in the cul-de-sac with us/taught some of the kids that didn’t know how. It was like a little sanctuary because there were usually no cars over there, and kids could just putz around on bikes. Fond memories.
I think I first started to take cycling seriously in college when I was commuting and riding to school, riding to classes, riding around the city, thinking of it as a means of transportation rather than recreation. So that evolved over soul-searching and thinking how I wanted to use bikes in my life and what and what I wanted that to look like. And so when I found BikeWalkKC and found the position to be an education instructor in schools or in the classes or with Women’s Confident City Cycling or really in any capacity, I really wanted to dive in. And not only just use my bike as means of transportation for myself but use it in a group setting to encourage others to take that step of considering their bike in more of a different role than simply to go on a recreational trip or whatnot.
My favorite thing which in riding my bike, truly, truly my favorite thing is just the ability to go slow, that’s my favorite. Not even necessarily getting to the place I need to get, but the ability to say oh there is a thing over there, oh I’ve never seen that house before, it makes me appreciate not only the the environment but the infrastructure, the city, the different things that you pass by in a blur in a car that you can absorb on a bike. I hope for the future to cultivate a sense of just the general understanding and awareness that cyclists have a right to be on the road. And that is why I love BLAST [BWKC’s signature Bicycle Lessons and Safety Training] so much. It is bringing up a generation of kids that are going to see cyclists on the road and have some empathy or compassion for them and understand and give them the space needed on the road instead of being rude and aggressive. So my hope is that through the work of BikeWalkKC is that we can bring up a next generation of cyclists or drivers that are mindful of cyclists, and that they have a right to be there.