biking has always been my favorite method of discovering a neighborhood and city. the time i used velib in paris without knowing where to go, i completely lost myself in discovering beautiful monuments, neighborhoods, shops, cafe's, and parks. not only did i discover new places but i met wonderful people. walking is usually my second mode of discovery but it's a little too slow if i intend on getting to a specific neighborhood. luckily paris is an easy city to navigate as long as i was following the Seinne river. unfortunately, American cities aren't built by European city design standards, so it's a little challenging to navigate one's adventure amongst traffic dense grid designed neighborhood and roads. when i moved to Oakland to live closer to campus, my only means of transit and exploring Oakland to Berkeley was by bike. along the way in routing my commute, i made a few pit stops to cafe's, book stores, and bike shops just to explore what was there. what i found is an amazing community of people who loved Oakland and Berkeley. these people where starting their own movements to make Oakland great by starting businesses with original and unique flares as crafters, bakers, and engineers to make Oakland stand on it's own feet. i also found that the community here is passionate about making the east bay fun, bike friendly, and sustainable in business as well as living. there's a different air to the East Bay that i never breathed in San Francisco. there are a lot of luxuries in SF that Oakland doesn't have and evidently you could tell that the community is striving to make more with less. innovation and community is key in this process. personally, aside from budgets, politics, etc, i think Oakland has a big hand in progressive ideas for raising up the city with less state intervention in a bad economy.
i have only lived in Oakland for a year now, there are still many places i have yet to visit here, but i really love riding through Oakland, there is always something innovative and exciting happening here that has made this place my favorite city to live in. the diverse and active community has to be the best aspect of this city by far. from my experience living here and connections i've created by being locally active has given me a greater drive to represent Oakland and to actively work to make this place reach it's full potential. isn't that what we all want in our cities? i can't imagine cycling hasn't effected any way we wish to see the future of the cities we call home.