I woke up all prepared to finish my commute diary and talk about riding in the dark, but now I think it’s my turn to write about why biking is better.
Let me begin by saying I am an extremely lazy person. I would much rather be doing just about anything other than physical exertion for its own sake. Running makes me want to die, treadmills are the devil’s tool (all that walking and you’re not even going anywhere!) and don’t even talk to me about spinning or boot camps. Other than the occasional hike when the weather is right, and my weekly Iyengar yoga, exercise felt like a chore to me.
So the idea that I could exercise while also accomplishing something necessary to my life, getting to work or running errands, really appealed to me. That was what made me dust off the old Schwinn and bring it up to Nashville. The surprise came when I got on and realized that riding my bike was actually fun.
Compared with my other options of getting to work, biking might seem a distant second to driving. My office is only a 8-minute/2-mile drive away, and I don’t have to pay to park there. In the car, you don’t get cold or sweaty, and you can talk on your cell phone or listen to your favorite music. My driving route is even shorter than my commute route: on my bike, I go out of my way to avoid this busy secondary road with really steep hills, where two of my biking friends have had run-ins with cars.
But if I drive every day, I won’t be able to say hi to neighbors out jogging or watering plants. I can say goodbye to any chance to spend time outdoors (this is especially true in the winter, when it’s dark by the time I leave work) or away from my cell phone, iPod, computer and other electronic devices.
More superficially, I won’t be able to impress my colleagues by riding on overcast days, days the temperature falls below 40 or rises above 80, or days I am wearing a skirt or dress. (“You didn’t ride your bike today, did you?”) And even yoga couldn’t give me this type of muscle tone in my legs.
Last but not least, then there’s the saving the world option that Dot covered so thoroughly. Living in Nashville, being car-free would be pretty much impossible, but keeping the use of the car to a minimum is a good thing for the planet and your pocketbook.
Dot says I inspired her to ride, but there are many days she inspires me to keep riding. Before starting this blog, our daily emails about our commutes reminded me how good biking can make you feel. Not to mention that when she can manage a one-hour, 7-mile ride in snow, I feel like a wuss for avoiding my 15-minute, 2.5-mile one! (One thing that saves me from complete and utter sloth is my sense of healthy competition.) Sometimes getting on the bike is hard, but once I’m there it feels good. Those are all the reasons that for me, biking is better.