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helmet still on and start reading emails. Staff members will come by, take one look at her, and say jokingly, ‘Yeah, it can be tough here in the newsroom.’ The ensuing laughter is a small price to pay for a form of transport that expends nothing but sweat. Before she started biking to work, LeBlanc said she was filling up her gas tank every week. Now, she only has to fill it up every six weeks. While riding on the Shoal Creek bike trail, she sees snapping frogs, snakes, nutria, owls, and the occasional gigantic turtle. “I see a lot of nature stuff [on my ride], but I also get an up-close view of the city. I get to watch the progress of big buildings going up that you can’t see from a car. When you drive, you’re in a bubble. When I ride my bike, I get to see the same people and exercise groups I’ve interviewed before—my community.” Speaking of community, LeBlanc tries to arrange her interviews so that she can bike to them before going home. “It adds to my credibility as a fitness writer, because I’m trying to practice what I write,” she said. For her, biking is a rewarding bonus exercise. “It makes me anxious to sit in 54 • au sti nf Itm agazi ne.c om • 01.2 015
traffic. This is a stress reliever for me. I see people stuck in traffic, but I just roll right past them,” she said. Le Blanc estimates that her alternative way of commuting adds 10 minutes to her travel time—taking 30 minutes to bike to work rather than the 20 minutes it would take if she drove. As a writer, that extra 10 minutes gives her an invaluable resource: time to think. There are many benefits LeBlanc has found by biking to work. It’s a form of free exercise. It saves money. It’s her small way of doing her part for the environment. However, there is one not-so-convenient thing she admits about it: “You can’t just quickly go home if you forget something,” she said. There’s also an added element of risk. In the past eight years though, LeBlanc says she has only had five close calls—either from people backing out of their driveways or just not looking where they’re going. “There are good motorists and there are bad motorists,” she said. “Just as there are good cyclists and bad cyclists.” The number one reason she still does it: because it’s fun. “Riding makes me feel alive,” she said. afm
“You don’t need abike fancy bike. A regular is bike. fine. A regular bike fine. Start slowjust by Start slow byisbiking to work biking just aone or two days a one to or work two days week. If your week. If your office doesn’t offerfor showoffice doesn’t offer showers, a ers, for a small fee you can park your small fee you can park your bike at bike at Mellow Johnny’s day) Mellow Johnny’s ($1 a ($1 day)a or St.or St.David’s David’s($20 ($20a amonth) month)downtown, downtown, take a shower, andand walk to work take a shower, walk to fromwork there.from Withthere. a little planning, With a you can make ityou work.” little planning, can make it work.”
We asked you to vote for the people and places that keep Austin fit. Here’s who and what made the cut.