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November 12, 2013

7 Reasons Why I Love My Bicycle. ~ Melody Dosanjh

I was converted to bicycle commuting about a year and a half ago.

I’ve always thought people who bicycle were pretty awesome, it had just never occurred to me that maybe I could do it too, as silly as that is. So when I started making new friends that were what I considered hardcore cyclists, I figured I’d make like a sheep and join the herd.

Now, I live in a small, small town, and I’m a little over a mile away from the college (yep, still a student), so I had the wonderful opportunity to slowly ease my way into biking, well, everywhere: to the grocery store, to restaurants, to the bar, to the bank. It’s incredibly liberating to be able to get myself places expediently without having to pay for gas.

I graduate soon and go to the real world, and one of the things I’m afraid of is losing touch with my bicycle.

I don’t know what size city I’ll end up in, and it’s likely that the grocery store is going to be a bit more than half a mile away. I really don’t want to end up driving everywhere just because everything is so much farther away.

So, I decided to make a list of the reasons I love bicycling to remind myself when I’m somewhere new and trying to motivate myself to start making longer commutes in who knows what kind of weather.

  • First, running late. Over and over again, I always choose to ride my bicycle when I’m running late or stressed out about getting somewhere fast. Yes, this only works in a small town, but having physical control over my speed, and being able to push my body as fast as I can helps me cope with the stress. The wind in my face as I fight the fatigue in my legs, I feel like I am actually working towards getting there faster, instead of just having my blood pressure rise in the car while I continuously glance at the clock.
  • My priorities always change when I commute by bike. Instead of making multiple small trips to go get food or run errands, I prioritize my trips. How many of these can I get done at once in a small area? Do I really want to bike all the way home for lunch, when I could just pack a lunch in the morning?
  • I have more fresh food and waste less of it. Driving to the store allows me to buy whatever I feel like. When I bike, I know that I’m picking up food for my next three meals maximum, and I don’t have room in my reusable grocery bag for any more food (Chico reusable bags are the bomb for bicyclists—clip to belt loop and go!).
  • I don’t pay for gas except maybe once every three weeks. Living on a budget is hard, especially when you have minimal wiggle room. Getting an extra $40 in my pocket every week allows me to do fun things I might not be able to justify otherwise. Buying a season pass to my favorite mountain for the winter season? Well, at $40 a week, every week, in two months, I have enough spare cash (for the student pass). I suppose if I end up with a job with a decent income flow, this won’t be too much of a benefit, but I’m starting to believe that spending less money in general leads to a happier life.
  • It’s harder to get angry on a bicycle. Ever been the car behind a slow bicyclist? Sucks, doesn’t it? Ever been a bike behind a slow car? I’m normally too focused on ascertaining my safety to get angry at the vehicle. My wonderful yoga teacher always tells us to do a balance pose if we’re getting angry, as it’s impossible to get angry when focusing that hard on something else. Same rules apply; my attention is completely on what I’m doing when I’m bicycling, so I have no room in my brain (or my heart) for anger.
  • I pay more attention to the weather. If the wind is over 30 miles an hour, I really don’t want to bicycle. When it’s going to rain all day, I’ll make sure I have enough gear to keep warm and dry. If it’s going to be super cold in the morning, I’ll make sure to grab my gloves so I can still feel my hands when I get to my destination. It’s minor, but at least I always have the right clothes for whatever the weather feels like doing that day.
  • The last thing I really need to keep in mind is how much bicycling has changed my body. My endurance has increased, I feel much stronger than I did before, and I’m a much happier person.  The feeling of flying over pavement by my own power is something driving will never be able to compare to.

This is by no means comprehensive; bicycling is pretty much the coolest thing ever, and there’s no way I could sum it up in anything less than a novel. But these are the things that inspire me when I’m riding, so maybe this will eventually motivate myself (and potentially others) to ride when the riding gets tough.

For the love of bicycling!

 

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Asst. Editor: Jane Henderling/Editor: Bryonie Wise

{Photo via Andy Brice on Flickr}

{Feature Image via Roger4336 on Flickr}

Melody Dosanjh

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