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Seeing the World by Bike

Sarah Chadwick
April 27, 2017

We have airplanes that get us to different continents in a day and high-speed trains that cross countries in a couple of hours. There are ferries and Uber and tram cars that help find our way around while abroad. However, since being abroad, I have fallen in love again with one of the older methods of travel: biking.

Freiburg, Germany is well-equipped for bikers. They have bike lanes everywhere and focus on keeping cars out of the city to make it a more beautiful and sustainable place. Because of this, I decided to get a bike while I was abroad, thinking I would use it every now and then when I felt like going on a ride. Through a Facebook page I was directed to by a friend, I found a cheap bike that someone was selling for a good price. It's not fancy, but I didn't need fancy.

Although I expected to only use the bike every once and a while, I'm happy to say that I was wrong. Since being here, my bike has transformed from something to do for fun into a real mode of transportation. There are so many benefits from bike riding that are quantifiable, many physical health-related. However, there are many benefits of riding bikes that cannot easily be described or categorized. It also gets you from point A to point B at an easily-measured reduced time than walking does.

To put it simply, riding a bike makes me happy. There is nothing that wakes you up better than having the wind brush your face as you ride to class. For me, it works much better than a cup of coffee. It makes me feel good knowing that I am starting my day doing something fun and healthy, putting me in a better mood all day. There is more thought that comes into biking than just regular walking. Biking allows me to get my mind a little more active than an aimless walk, which helps me focus while sitting in class later.

The world just looks better from a bicycle. Even the plainest of vistas becomes exciting as you whirr past, caught between the speeds of human and automobile. There is no bus window and other lane that blocks your view. Bikes offer the uninterrupted and unhindered ability to take in the world that surrounds you. There is no limit to what you can see and where you can venture off too. Biking around the countryside near the border of France and Germany has been some of my favorite things to do. It takes a route that many commute each day via train and turns it into an adventure.

One of my favorite aspects of bike riding in Freiburg is that it makes me feel like a local. Bike riding is extremely integrated into the Freiburg culture and is how most people (especially students) get around here. Owning and riding a bike helps me feel like I belong here and gives me the sense that I am adapting to a new culture and new place. It allows me to see Freiburg as a Freiburger and experience life as they do.  Isn’t that what study abroad is all about?

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Sarah Chadwick

<p>My name is Sarah and I am studying environmental studies and journalism. Although born and raised in upstate New York, I now go to college in Washington, DC. My perfect day involves eating lots of good food and getting lost on a hike.</p>

Home University:
George Washington University, The
Major:
Environmental Studies
Geography
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