Gary Macy: Bull City Bikers

Durham residents aren’t the only ones who tap into to Durham’s bike-culture. Even visitors, like Gary Macy of San Diego, know the Bull City’s bike-friendliness and let it change their ways while in town. Macy, 56, is a professor of theology and religious studies at the University of San Diego. He spent last year on sabbatical at the National Humanities Center, in North Carolina. That’s when his love of biking was born.

Bike(s) you own and ride regularly
I used to ride a Trek 7300. I really miss it. Sigh.

What’s your primary flavor of riding?
I like just tootling along a bike path, or a road with a bike path. I like to enjoy the weather, the scenery and the exercise.

What’s the length and frequency of your average ride?
While at the Center, I rode 14.5 miles 3 or 4 times a week.

Why did you start riding and why do you still ride?
I started riding by accident. I rented a bike in Durham, NC while on sabbatical and loved it. I went out, bought my own bike and rode it for the entire time I was in Durham. I parted with the bike with great sorrow. I don’t ride in San Diego. After much thought and a great deal of research, I decided it was just too dangerous.

What’s the most unusual thing you’ve seen while out for a ride?
Probably the top of a steep hill appearing magically, without much puffing and blowing and strain. There are moments biking when you and the bike seem to be still and road is moving beneath you. I remember that from rowing, too. It is always a joy and a surprise when it happens.

How would your world be different if you wake up tomorrow and there are no more cars?
My ride to work would be delightful. I could bike again! My other trips would be a horror. San Diego’s public transportation is very limited, slow and unreliable.

What’s one thing your home town could do to become more bike friendly?
San Diego could make the bike lanes really safe for bikes. On one of the roads I would have to take to work, the bike lane is used by cars as a separate lane, and frankly, I just can’t pedal fast enough to get out of the way when the cars are going fifty miles an hour (see puffing and blowing above). Our police are underpaid and understaffed, since the city is several million dollars in debt. There is little hope that the laws about bike lanes will be enforced anytime soon.

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