First Fridays, First Memories: Aisling O’Suilleabhain

March 4, 2016

Cruising through the rice paddies outside Hoi An, Vietnam.

As a way to show you the people behind PeopleForBikes, we do a short interview on the first Friday of every month. The theme? Bicycling firsts. This month is our new marketing manager, Aisling O’Suilleabhain.

What is your first memory of bicycling?
My first memory of biking is learning to ride my sweet pink Schwinn, complete with banana seat, streamers and fluorescent spoke beads, as one did in the 80s. However let the family photograph below show that I was on a bicycle long before then?back when film was mailed out to be developed and photographs were square.

That’s Aisling in the red pants.

When did you first fall in love with bicycles?
While I remember riding bikes growing up and occasionally as a college student to get to class quickly, it wasn’t until a few years ago that bicycles came back into my life to stay. It happened while living abroad in the Netherlands. It was a green city bike that stuck out from all the other black upright omafiets, affectionately nicknamed the Snot Rocket. Jumping on it to meet friends, running to the grocery store, riding four miles to work or a Sunday cruise in the countryside?it was all so easy and fun by bike. I loved how easily it integrated into my lifestyle. Or maybe it was the other way around. Either way, when my husband and I moved back to the U.S. after two years of living abroad, we knew that we wanted to live in a progressive city where we could incorporate a bicycling lifestyle.

The Snot Rocket in action in the Dutch countryside.

When did you first know bicycling would be part of your career?
A few months ago. My career goal was always to work in communications and marketing for a nonprofit. When I learned about PeopleForBikes’ policy and advocacy work to make bicycling safer and more accessible for all Americans (my dream too!), I had to be a part of it.

Roadside stop on the 28-mile round-trip self-directed bike ride from Luang Praband to Kuang Si Waterfall in Laos.

What is your favorite thing about bicycling?
It’s an adventure every time you get in the saddle. Each time you get on your bike is different from the last. That goes for riding down your street in your city to riding a trail in the mountains, or my favorite, cruising around on a rental bike or bike share as a tourist in a foreign city, state or country.

Aisling and her husband used these rides for exploring the ancient temples of Bagan, Myanmar.

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