This article was also published in the Concord Pioneer (link) issue for July 24th, 2015. Bike Concord has a regular column in the Concord Pioneer every month.
There are countless reasons to ride a bicycle. Some people do it for exercise, while for others the economic savings are reason enough. Some commit to riding for ecological reasons, and others enjoy the adrenaline rush of rumbling down a mountainside. Some incorporate biking into their daily commute, while others simply enjoy the feeling of zipping around on two wheels for leisure rides. No matter the reason, riding a bike offers endless pleasures paired with practical benefits and minimal limitations.
I have ridden for all these reasons and more at one time or another. In the end, my number one reason to ride is that cycling brings me joy. I love the satisfaction of pedaling myself to my destination. The wind in my hair and the sun on my face is refreshing. I enjoy witnessing the seasons changing on my bike, the hours of daylight ebb and flow as the cool crispness of the fall air is replaced by warm breezes in the spring. While on the regional trails in the area, like the Iron Horse trail, I can lose myself in thought, planning my day or working through an idea. I experience a mental clarity on my bike that I don’t get anywhere else, especially in this age of digital distractions.
The practical perks of riding a bike are endless. Compared to owning a car, I save thousands of dollars every year while reducing my carbon footprint. For quick trips around town, biking is the most efficient form of transportation. I skip the grueling hunt for parking and am ready to begin my errands. Finally, cycling keeps me healthy with cardio and strength training combined. I have never considered a gym membership because I get almost an hour of exercise daily riding to/from BART on my commute.
Bicycling increases my freedom instead of limiting it. When I need to extend my range to Berkeley, or San Francisco, I just take my bike onto BART or Amtrak. I have even gone bike camping, strapping all my camping gear on my bike! When people hear I don’t own a car, they often ask, “But what about grocery shopping?” Yes, it is indeed possible and even a fun challenge! I have a rear rack on my bicycle which allows me to carry loads of groceries with ease. Meat, grains and produce from the farmer’s market are a breeze to haul. Shopping by bike just means I make smaller and more frequent trips, once a week instead of once a month, enjoying fresher food and less waste.
I cannot begin to count the times that I think to myself, I am so glad to be on my bike! I can adapt to changing conditions, my legs provide me with unlimited miles per gallon, and as an extra bonus, I am increasing my overall health. The better question than why bicycle, may in fact be, why not bicycle?