Car-Free in Ann Arbor
It was a typically bustling day on the streets of New York City, and Sally Carson found herself in one of the worst possible places for a cyclist to be: in traffic, between two double-decker tour buses. "They don't see you, they don't know you're there, and they'll ride really close to each other in traffic," Carson says. "It was a sunny day, and it just got dark all of a sudden. It was like time stood still, and then I just sprinted out of the canyon as fast as I could."
That was just one incident in Carson's trial by fire as a bike messenger, a process that she says involved "a certain amount of just acclimating to constant near-death experiences." She took the messenger work to pay her bills after moving to New York from Virginia in 2001. "Riding all day, every day, forty or sixty hours a week, totally made me fall in love with cycling," she says. When her car was totaled in a hit-and-run accident in 2002, she didn't bother replacing it.