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Hi, my name is Patrick and I’ve been off the wagon for ten years now… I recently had a bit of repair work and maintenance that needed to get done on my body, which is unfortunately now old enough to be outside of warranty coverage, and my body mechanic (she’s actually called a “doctor,” I’m told) related to me that I wouldn’t be able to use my body for anything but sitting, standing, and sleeping for a week, i.e., no biking, while I healed.
So this bikeless, joyless week went by very slowly and painfully, but it left me lots of time for reflection. For example, my wife graciously let me borrow the car so I could drive to work. What else can you do while driving, except think about how much you would rather be biking? The question that kept coming back to me is: Why does not biking cause me so much grief? Or, to put it in a positive spin: Why bike?
Here’s my top 4; Drum roll please…
Reason 4. Helping a worthy cause. Doing anything to reduce the impact of humans on the environment is a no-brainer, especially now. If those responsible won’t do anything, people who actually care have to take the lead. Getting a car off the roads and into the scrap metal pile is one of the most significant things an individual can do. If you want to do something to help, this is just about the biggest commitment you can make. Kill your car.
Reason 3. Saves money. When people tell me that their Prius gets 55 miles to the gallon, I respond that I get 500 miles to the gallon (of peanut butter). My wife and I went from 2 cars to 1. We save tons on car payments, insurance, gasoline, maintenance, tires, batteries, parking, etc.
Reason 2. Good for your health. Yes, even after factoring in safety risks of riding on roads with cars on them. My extremely scientific research methods (Googling using bikology scientific methods) revealed that on average, the estimated health benefits of cycling were substantially larger than the risks of riding in traffic. To see for yourself, just search: “bicycling benefits for health versus risk of accidents” and you will be amazed at the results. Here’s just one example… Here’s another (with more reasons than even I thought of!)
Reason 1. Psychological well-being. Everyone I know who drives hates their commute. I love mine! Why? It’s all about joyful movement. Driving sucks your energy and kills your psyche. Riding gives you tons of energy and is a huge mental boost. At the very beginning, you may not feel the joy right away. It takes a bit of time for your body to adjust to your new commute. But whether it is 2 weeks or 2 months later, you’ll start to love it. This period is short compared to the rest of your life that you’ll love the new levels of energy and well-being you’ll feel.
Keep looking forward. Biking is simply dancing in an uncontrolled environment. It is this joyful movement that makes all the difference. It is food for your psyche. Nourish it!