There are so many good reasons to cycle. Over a series of posts, I will explore why I have decided to make cycling my preferred choice of transportation.
Number 1: No Emissions
Cycling is the most environmentally-friendly means of wheeled transportation that I can think of (with perhaps the exception of a wagon – but hey, it’s not easy to find a horse or a parent to pull you anymore).
I am the fuel it needs to move.
It’s true that bikes are made of materials that have to be made and energy is required for this process: steel, rubber, plastic, metals. Yet, many cyclists will use the same bike, with minimal adjustments to core parts, for long periods of time, which makes the overall impact smaller.
Protecting the environment is important to me. Cycling offers a great option of moving around the city without adding to the congestion of roads or lungs. It aligns with my values.
Number 2: It’s Efficient
There’s something incredibly satisfying about being able to ride past a string of cars, perhaps sitting for two lights already, and knowing that I’m going to sail through the intersection. It’s not so much about trying to get ahead of anyone else but rather the relief that I don’t have to be slowed down by a volume issue that is out of my control.
I generally add 50% to my estimated travel time, if I’m going to take transit – and that’s when there aren’t any delays.
Being able to walk outside, hop on my chariot of tire and take off, is freedom. I don’t have to deal with unexpected disruptions, people coughing in my face (yes, this happened – it was an accident but I got a bad cold), or wonder how long I’ll have to wait at the streetcar stop.
I only need to rely on myself and my equipment.
Number 3: It’s Healthy
By far, the fact that cycling is healthy is the most common accolade I hear about this mode of transportation. It’s true – but the benefits are more than skin deep.
When I arrive at my destination, I have the physiological and psychological benefits of having just performed physical activity. Each time I bike to the store, to visit a friend, or to check out an art gallery, I’ve just increased my heart rate, used my muscles, fostered core strength and increased circulation. I love seeing my rosy cheeks when I walk in the door – I feel alive. Add to that list powerful and capable.
Hungry, perhaps ;)
I’ve also been able to smell the Indian restaurant down the street or the intoxicating fragrance of flowers that are in bloom.
I listened to pleasantries exchanged by neighbours, overheard a parent asking how the crossing guard is doing today, felt the weather, the wind on my face, the warmth of summer across my skin … cycling is sensory.
It offers the chance to experience your environment. And I think most of us need these cues to remind us to be present and observant.