Accidental Arlingtonian Finds True Love With Biking

henry dunbar active transportation arlington county
Henry Dunbar Tweet Us @BikeArlington@BikeArlington April 25, 2017
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Henry Dunbar is director of Arlington’s active transportation programs including BikeArlington, WalkArlington and Capital Bikeshare. He is a 26-year resident of Arlington and works to make it easy to get around by whatever mode you choose.

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BIKE TAKEAWAY:

Arlington has a lot to love for bikers -- even NYC transplants.

Eunju Namkung loves Arlington, which is ironic because she didn’t even know she was moving here until she got here.

woman with Capital Bikeshare in Alrington

She had left New York partially on the bad feelings she had when her bike was stolen in Manhattan. “I got my bike stolen. It was already difficult living in Manhattan. I was working at a nonprofit. I loved my job, but I was ready to move on to something else and challenge my notion that New York was the only place in the world. That took a while because I had never envisioned myself anywhere else. So when my bike was stolen, and everything was unaffordable, I said ‘See ya!’”

“I came without a job. My criteria for moving to a city was, ‘Is it bikeable?’ ‘Will I have a place to store it?’”, she said. “And the availability of writing and communications jobs. That’s everything in DC.”

“My roommate chose where we currently live in Rosslyn. I really trusted her to pick the place, so she found someplace near where she worked in Georgetown,” she said. “I signed the lease remotely and I thought I was moving to DC. Turns out, I’m in Virginia.”

“I start looking for a job and I happen to get something working at a tech company in Courthouse,” she said. “My life suddenly becomes not very DC at all, but very Arlington. And I love it! There are so many things in Arlington that are wonderful. Even coming here looking for a job and exploring, I went to 1776 in Crystal City a lot. And there’s that Eunju_Key_Bridge_Cropped2-minmaker space in Crystal City (Tech Shop). Naturally, you go to Clarendon for food. GMU is there and they had Transportation Camp there. The Mobility Lab is two blocks away from where I live. Target opens up the same week I get here. This is great! All my amenities are here!”

We rode with her on her current commute from Rosslyn to a downtown association, when she explained why biking has been a big part of her Arlington experience. Eunju learned to ride at 21 while at Yale, having missed the opportunity like a lot of kids growing up in cities like her in the Bronx. “I missed a lot of rites of passage being a city kid,” she said, adding that she didn’t learn to drive or bike, but in college was determined to learn at least one, and chose biking.

“It was the most liberating thing because I was really bound to campus most of college. Getting on a bike was revolutionary to a level I didn’t know. It really is a big mental health thing with me. When I get on the bicycle, it just gives me so much joy,” she said.

“So I really love Arlington. For me, Rosslyn is so amazing. I roll out of bed, then I decide whether I want to take a bike or not. I don’t have to plan in advance. I can take Capital Bikeshare if I don’t have my own bike,” she said, adding that her bikeshare membership has been her best investment. “It’s just been really great.”

That biking experience is about to change, as she recently closed on a condo in Fairlington and will be moving soon. She’s thinking of getting a folding e-bike to help with hills and longer commute, and she will continue to enjoy her new bike-friendly home.

“I still am so grateful for biking,” she said. “Virginia is literally a breath of fresh air. Coming over the bridge, you can feel the air. It becomes fresher, different.”

 

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