Monday, October 26, 2009

Why I Love My Bike

My favorite form of transportation is the bike. Yes, it has its limitations: it doesn't do snow, and rain is kind of unpleasant, too. Long distances are inconvenient. But overall, if I could ride my bike everywhere, I would.

I bought my current bike in 1993 for $500--a Specialized Rockhopper mountainbike. At the time that was a sizeable chunk of my savings, but I fell so instantly in love that I didn't regret a single one of those dollars. I rode it in snow, in ice, in rain, in the dark. I used it for actual mountain biking and also for commuting to various jobs, including one that was ten miles away from where I lived (by sheer coincidence, that job lasted only two weeks).

Sixteen years later, I've put more miles on my bike than on my first two cars combined. I've ridden well into my third trimester of pregnancy. I even rode during the months of my first pregnancy when I was both hugely pregnant and crippled and had to walk with a cane--it was the only form of locomotion that didn't hurt. I've hauled groceries, kids, biology-chemistry-physics textbooks, and small pets. I ride to school events, baseball games, and playgrounds. As late as last week I hauled Helen to her ballet class on the bike carrier she is much too big for, and even though work is thirteen miles from my house I'm still hoping to commute here by bike, at least occasionally.

I love starting the day by riding to work. I've had to defend this to my kids countless times over the past years, usually while hauling their complaining selves out the door to their own bikes. I like starting the day with taking deep breaths of the crisp clean morning air, with getting a feel for the weather and the temper of the day ahead, with seeing what's out there or catching a glimpse of a hawk or a fox. I like getting to work a little chilly or damp, pulling off all my gear, shaking out my hair, and settling in. Inclement weather is a challenge, one that I've overcome by the time I get to my desk. One of the hardest things about having kids has been that this pleasure is so often inconvenient, or involves massive struggle or argument (the kids do NOT feel like riding their bikes is a great way to start the day).

One of the challenges with my new job is that regular bike commuting really isn't an option. By the most direct yet still bike-friendly route, it's thirteen miles, which could take me as long as an hour and a half one way (I like biking, but I'm not a fast biker). Combine that with an eight-and-half-hour day, kids to pick up and feed, and a spouse with his own busy and stressful schedule, biking to work can only be a luxury that I indulge in a few times a year. I'm bound and determined to do it, though--I'll keep you posted.

1 comment:

Jess said...

This is an awesome post. I really want a bike.