Since I was five Ive had a love
affair with my bike. I used to ride it everywhere - sometimes as transportation only, but
mostly just to get around - the journey being both the adventure and the purpose. I felt
remarkably independent - a feeling and a privilege that is largely lost on kids who get
shuttled around by their parents. Oh, sure, I let the bike get a little dusty once I
turned sixteen, but with cars it was just puppy love. With bikes it was the real thing.
Ive been commuting by bicycle since starting college. Riding to work was a
natural transition for me, even once I had two cars. In fact, the older I get, the more
enjoyable it becomes. I love the feeling of self-sufficiency, the quiet and solitude, and
the resulting fitness of pedaling twice a day. Gone is the stress and annoyance one gets
from driving in traffic, and my wife could assure you I arrive in a better mood.
Commuting is never boring. I love to ride on cool, sunny mornings and soak it all in.
At 17mph the simple things that motorists miss intrigue. The morning glories are still
open; the creek is high today; hey, they finally finished painting their trim. Its
the little things that make my day. Sometimes I sing "Its a Beautiful
Morning". Hey - no need to feel inhibited on a bike!
Even better is the fall, I think. The wonderful crisp air, the spectacular leaves. Sure
it gets dark on the way home, but that enhances the feeling of solitude. Its my best
thinking time. Once the leaves are down, things once hidden now lay exposed. Its
always a little depressing, but its a reminder of the seasons of life. Indeed, on a
bicycle one is constantly immersed in the various facets of the change of seasons, and
its very fulfilling. The harmony between nature and humans is too easy to forget in
Its satisfying to see some of the same faces every day. Theres always some
runners and cyclists, but the walkers are the best - most often retired folks enjoying the
mornings as I do, and almost always friendly. Seeing them becomes a part of the routine -
their absence on a particular day is conspicuous, and even a little disappointing. One guy
I see even lets me know when Im late!
Cycling to me is far more than a hobby or a sport - its a way of life. Really,
bikes are so efficient and versatile that making trips, like running errands or riding to
work, on them isnt hard. In most cases the hardest part is changing your way of
thinking, and dealing with those incapable of changing theirs. But the rewards are both
endless and meaningful, and I would certainly dread a day when I could no longer ride.