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Commuting is Rewarding

 

Since I was five I’ve 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.

I’ve 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. It’s the little things that make my day. Sometimes I sing "It’s 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. It’s my best thinking time. Once the leaves are down, things once hidden now lay exposed. It’s always a little depressing, but it’s 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 it’s very fulfilling. The harmony between nature and humans is too easy to forget in a car.

It’s satisfying to see some of the same faces every day. There’s 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 I’m late!

Cycling to me is far more than a hobby or a sport - it’s a way of life. Really, bikes are so efficient and versatile that making trips, like running errands or riding to work, on them isn’t 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.

 

 

By

Rich Haubert
Lansing, Michigan

 

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08/16/11
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