KC/DC Cycle

Ride to live... live to ride

Friday, March 24, 2006

from a long-time bicyclist who's putting on a lot more miles this year:

i've been riding for 45 years this year. i ride in all weather every year. most years i have averaged 1000 miles. i have never logged the amount i've ridden prior to this year. this last year i actually logged my mileage. i put on 2300 miles. YTD 2006 as of March 24, i've done 734 miles. i've got fenders on one bike for rainy weather. the other bike is more sporty. i started riding when i was 4 years old.

i got an old used Higgins 20" wheel standard style bike with fenders. i took the fenders off and put on a banana seat and high handlebars when i was 8 or 9.

Since then i've had about 45 bikes of various designs and manufacturers. i bought 1 bike new. i went thru 10-speeds, 12, 14 and now 20 speed. i never had a triple-crank front derailleur.

I ride for several reasons. First of all, i enjoy riding. i enjoy the quiet locomotion. i enjoy the freedom of the wind in your face. i enjoy the re-creation that goes on in my mind while i'm riding. it gives me (or i take) time to think. i'm completely distracted from the rest of my life. i get in touch with nature and with my nature. i feel my heart pump.

Reason number 2 is I ride for ecology. i can do a lot of driving on my bike. i've been riding to work twice a week this last year. it's 28 miles a day round-trip. i believe that our (earth and our individual) health will improve by riding. it's not hard to put together a bunch of reasons to ride based on this reason alone. the streets would be safer, less congested, quieter, smaller, and friendlier if more people rode bikes.

Reason number 3 is to save money. i'm cheap. i can buy a used bike and ride it for 15 years without a lot of expense. it will take me far, give me exercise and enjoyment. i get to the store and back in reasonable time. the alternative would be driving which costs me as a tax payer and me as an individual thousands of dollars a year. we build huge roads for internal combustion engine vehicles. bicycles wouldn't take that much road. cars require fueling, repair and maintenance, cleaning well beyond what i spend each year on my bicycle. so between monetary and time costs, cars are much more expensive for a lot of trips.