“I thought of that while riding my bicycle.”
~ Albert Einstein, on the theory of relativity
As some of you know, I converted to bike commuting four years ago and have never looked back. In fact, I even sold my car at the same time, as I just never used it enough to make it worth my while. When I bought my house, I’d intentionally picked a neighborhood with good bus service, and soon had the bonus of a FlexCar (now known as ZipCar) parked a couple of blocks away for emergencies. So, for me, my bicycle was another tool to be used to get from here to there.
But, y’all, I’m no cyclist.
Just because I ride my bike doesn’t mean I want to ride it all day, every day, across land and sea. More power to those who do, and not saying that I don’t like the wind on my face or the endorphin kick after a ride, but you’ll not see me in spandex doing century rides. But I do like traipsing around town, not worrying about parking challenges, and I can’t imagine ever having a car payment or gas bill. Yikes.
My story & my basic setup? Here.
What do I do in the winter? Here.
Who makes it less intimidating me to learn to maintain my bike? Here.
The nice folks who sold me my hybrid (& do semiannual tuneups)? Here.
And I’m not the only one … check out my girl Yancy and her Pedalin‘ posts over at FiveSeed, where she shares her journey commuting on two wheels in a smaller town.
Want more motivation? Here are Five Benefits of Cycle Commuting by our friends at Treehugger.com.
But I get around in other ways.
* I’m no bus snob – I love on longer commutes or blustery days that I have the option to hop a bus and get a few chapters read in whatever book I’m engrossed in. And I can pop my bike on the front rack so I can go ride in other areas of the city – sweet!!!
* Our light rail is pretty awesome. Unlike the bus, you can bring it on the train, and aren’t stuck out in the cold if the two bike spots on the bus rack are already occupied. Our rail goes all the way out to the airport, across town to the west side, and to events at the Expo Center which I like. Oh and it goes up a particularly steep hill that I hate.
* Oh yeah – and I WALK (gasp!). Yep, if you can walk four miles on a “day hike” on the weekend, why can’t you do the same in town? Never made sense to me how people were amazed when I would walk to work. Takes about an hour (same time as I’d spend at the gym, or that some folks actually spend in traffic, or on their hair & makeup), and I feel SO refreshed. Here’s one of the other benefits I have loved.
* And of course, if needed, there is a ZipCar on the corner. You can easily see that there are a lot of options & locations, and with the addition of Car2Go’s sharing program, it should make for some healthy competition in town. I like ZipCar for their pickup truck – great for getting large things like furniture and truckloads of mulch for the garden !
I talk about this not to say, ooh I’m so cool, but rather that there are many ways of getting to work without being forced into a car. Everything is a choice. I’ve not regretted mine even once.
It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.
~ Ernest Hemingway