Why commute by bicycle?
It’s not my first try, this has taken some time. I don’t like to force things because they usually snap back whether it’s a lifestyle change, diet, or exercise. But, this time my initial hope has become a natural expression, almost easy and certainly enjoyable. My work truck sat idle for two months with a thirty dollar repair needing to be made. I had the thirty bucks, but not the will to fix it. I liked riding by it on my way to work from my dock-side boat each morning. I would smile and even wave some times. Once in a while even stop to retrieve something I had left there at an earlier time. Shortly its new owner will drive it off and it will just be me, my feet, two bicycles and my bike trailer. I will be very happy.
There are many good reasons to jettison vehicles. First and foremost they are incredibly expensive both to own and maintain. Second, I try to think about whether the way I am living is possible if the majority of the people alive today could live the way I do and if they did could the earth support that lifestyle. The answer is pretty easy. Third, is how much we miss while driving from place to place, both in terms of social and environmental interaction. On a bicycle the rain usually seems difficult for a few minutes, but then there comes an excitement and communal feeling that you are sharing something with all the animals and plants around you that is good and necessary for things to live and grow. I also can say hello to all the other riders and pedestrians, but not the people in their cars, they are in their own private bubbles, moving at a rate that hellos just can’t travel. But these very good reasons weren’t enough.
Essentially what I came to realize was that riding made me joyful. I was happy stepping onto the peddles first thing, happy as I felt my leg muscles make the initial plunges, happy as I slowly found my rhythm and blood began to flow. Happy as I watched the sun or stars, ate up miles on full-tilt-boogie or enjoyed the endless intricacies of different neighborhoods as I cruised by, caught people’s eyes or hollered an hello. Happy as I glided into work, the local micro-brewery, or back onto my dock putting my bike away for the night. Happy as I peeled off a rain suit or slightly damp sports shirt and happy as my muscles relaxed knowing that it was my own power that had brought me out into the world and back again.
It’s wonderful to treat the world gently, smart to save money, fun to be social, great to feel the wind and rain, sun and cold, but in the end the reason I am doing this is because it just makes me happy! – Das Chapin