I just lost 2,800 pounds and to be honest I'm still feeling pretty queasy about it. I grew up in Southern California where the car is everything. It's a status symbol, personal identity and just about the only way to get around the suburban sprawl. When I was 16 my first car was freedom from school, parental bondage and a ticket to every gay bar within a 50 mile radius. I've never been so giddy with joy as I was the first day I took the wheel beside my driving instructor. Look out world here I come!
Since then cars have gotten me every place I've needed to go, been a safe haven, an escape pod and a really good friend. I've cried in my car, learned to sing, learned to stop being an angry jerk, learned to eat a cheeseburger with one hand while shifting and steering (sorta), learned to parallel park on a steep slope (thank you San Francisco) and probably more. But after 22 years mostly car happy years for a myriad of reasons owning an automobile no longer makes good sense for me.
Luckily I live in a city and climate where bike riding as a primary mode of transportation is possible and have recently began a passionate affair with my little red bike. We've been riding about a 100 miles a week together and I'm starting to feel like a real urban cyclist (always a little sweaty and constantly pumped with endorphins).
There are so many reasons I love my bike, but these are my current top ten.
1.I am a more empathetic person. When your riding a bike you see all the micro dramas of life unfolding around you, you see the expression on people's faces and get to know the place you live in a much deeper way.
2.I think of all my best ideas when I'm riding my bike. Science continues to prove that moving our bodies helps us learn, process information and be more creative.
3.The bike is a self esteem machine. Every time I ride my bike in the city I'm a superhero and Louis Lane all in one as I fly through the streets and save myself from the evil cars (sorry cars).
4.I have never in my life been able to eat more carbs without gaining weight. Mmm…cookies.
5.Riding my bike helps me feel connected to something bigger and keeps my own size in perspective. Would Ghandi, the Budda and Jesus have driven giant SUV’s while texting?
6.Riding a bike everywhere has really helped me clarify my priorities and budget my energy for what really matters. If there's a good sized hill between me and something I'm only sorta interested in there's a good chance I'm going to think twice before RSVPing “yes.”
7.I feel sexy when I ride. I know you're probably not supposed to say that out loud but….
8.No transport debt. You can't store up rides in advance or get into ride debt. The bike (and your legs) are always in the present. This helps me to stay grounded and keep it real.
9.Saving money. On gas, insurance, car payments, parking, car maintenance and my favorite parking tickets. The city of San Francisco is going to take a major budgetary hit without the steady stream of revenue I was providing.
10.I feel fit and healthy and I don't have to go to the gym (unless I want to show off my quads).
Why do you love riding your bike?