The Sheer Beauty of Bicycling
Yes, it's cheaper and healthier to ride a bike. But it also connects you to nature and a world of sensations.
There are a lot of reasons to ride a bicycle. Riding a bike a few miles in the city is often faster than driving a car when you factor in parking. Riding a bicycle is healthier than driving a car. You save a lot of money riding a bicycle compared to driving a car. Mostly though, I ride a bicycle because it is more fun than driving a car. I just plain enjoy it more.
One of the big reasons I enjoy riding a bicycle is because I feel more a part of the neighborhood I am rolling through. Every day on my short commute I find the wind in my face to be bracing as well as challenging. On each trip, my nose is both rewarded and punished. And the sounds I hear while pedaling quietly along not only help keep me safe , they also fill the gap between the visual and the tactile impressions that weave together my community. I need all these sensations to truly participate in life; without these grounding bits of essential information, I feel as if I am merely a spectator.
Mostly these are things I take for granted on my commute, but occasionally the world offers me a bouquet of sensory experiences so special that I am overwhelmed and have to stop. Even at the slow pace of my urban cycling, I sometimes need to pull over and put down the kickstand, to touch, look, and smell in an attempt to hold onto some absolutely delicious moment, for as long as mother nature allows.
Usually I only pause for five or ten minutes and the moment slips away. Then I hop back on my bike, and I pedal the rest of the way to my destination. The moment gone, but the memory remains a permanent paver in the bumpy road I am traveling down.