May is Bicycle Month. I see the goal as encouraging people to give bicycling a try.
The name tends to cause serious competitive cyclists angst. Among the cycle-every-day crowd it draws bewilderment. True, evangelicals are not always well received by the converted!
The debate caused me to think about just what *it is* for me that makes me willing to cycle frequently and easily. Why is it that I see little reason to not head out on a bicycle to destinations that cause my non-cyclist friends to utter statements of bewilderment and occasionally ignorance?
Initially cycling had to be actively thought about as habit forming and requiring discipline. This was especially true because for me cycling was first and foremost work. At this point I saw bicycling as a fair weather activity and even then it required some sternness with myself to get on that saddle on a warm day because I knew I’d be red faced, panting and exhausted as much as I’d be loving the sun, the flying moments down hills and the feeling of liberation felt only while bicycling.
Another key factor was that of convenience. Convenience in being able to just open the door and go, but also in cycling being an efficient way to get to places.
The day I realized that it took me 20 minutes to drive to the doctor’s office, minimum, and I had just cycled it in 15 minutes was the day I started to choose cycling commuting over vehicle driving.
Convenience in being able to just open the door and go required more work. It also required more stuff. Most bikes sold in North America are for a target audience of weekend athletes and children. Plus, I learned that I required different items for different tasks. A logical but ironically slow lesson to learn.
I am at the point now where I have the open the door and go convenience. As a family we have heavily invested a good amount of our budget into bicycling. Other than the disease of wanting more, I feel that we’ve actually spent enough to have achieved convenience. While I won’t share figures, I will say that we’ve spent considerably less than one would on a used car.
A side benefit that has come from cycling often is that over the course of 3 years of dedicated bicycle use I have seen enough improvement in my overall health that I no longer consider cycling a lot of work. True, there are a few hills in my town that I try to avoid. Overall, I hope that you’ll just encourage yourself to keep on trying new things and perhaps you’ll discover something new yourself!