Why I Cycle (but…)

I thought it would be fun to come up with a list of all the reasons I cycle.  Maybe you can relate.  Maybe you’ve even done the same thing.  Here’s my list as it started and has grown and changed over the years.

I started cycling again in 2013 after many years of being away from the bike.  My goal was to simply lose some weight.  I did, too.  In fact, I lost eighty pounds, more or less.   That was about forty more than I thought was possible.  All good, but…

I soon discovered that my bicycle was more versatile than society led me to believe.  It wasn’t a toy or a sporting good.  In fact, it could do everything my car did, only better.   So I started riding around town in Brownsburg and later Plainfield Indiana.  I’d go to the grocery store or the library.  I saved the money I would have spent on gas or car repairs.  I spent it on a new bike.   Now I cycle pretty much everywhere.  That’s cool, but…

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I cycle roads, but…

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I dig trails, too.

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I had no idea how much fun this was until I did it.  Now I kind of hope it snows.

As I spent more time on the bike I started thinking about where our energy comes from.  When I graduated from college many moons ago, my first “real” job was in the petroleum business.  I got to visit drilling rigs in Colorado and Montana and I saw the environmental damage drilling and moving oil does to the natural world, even when great care is taken to extract and ship it responsibly.  I could have compartmentalized that and forgotten about it, but…

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I’ve been here in a car and I’ve been here on a bike.  Bikes are better.

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I started way down there and ended up here.  It didn’t hurt…not even a little.

The air we breathe is a precious commodity and we do far too much damage with far too little thought.  My bicycle doesn’t have a tailpipe, so tailpipe emissions are not a problem.  Every once in a while, I come across someone who thinks I should have to get my bicycle licensed.  I ask them if I should be required to get an emissions test, too.  That usually shuts them up.    I think it’s kind of funny.

But…

As I cycled from here to there and everywhere, I slowly came to the realization that I just felt better on the days I was on the bike than those when I was off.  It wasn’t so much about physical fitness as it was mental fitness.  Cycling fixes what’s gotten a little flabby  upstairs as well as downstairs.  Don’t ask me why or how.  I couldn’t tell you.   Speaking of which, lots of people told me that I couldn’t cycle every day, that when you get to be my age it’s dangerous and your heart might give out, but I can and I do and I’m willing to bet my heart’s in a whole lot better shape than theirs, what with all the sitting on the sofa watching sports and eating Cheetos they do.  Maybe I’m wrong.  Could be.  Still, I’m going to cycle until I drop.

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I saw these guys and gals while biking in Jackson Hole.  They look like they’re having fun.  I know I am.

That said, I don’t compete.  The saying “no pain, no gain” is complete and utter nonsense.  You can gain everything in the world with no pain whatsoever.  In fact, if you’re in pain you’re doing it wrong. Truth be told, I don’t think I’ve ever hurt on a bicycle, even last year when I had to climb from the Colorado River to the top of the Colorado National Monument during Tour of the Moon.  That was so much fun.   I don’t have anything to prove to anyone, certainly not myself.  I  just cycle until I don’t want to cycle any more.   Then I stop.

In fact, the more I think about it, the more I realize that I’ve come full circle.   Cycling now is like being a kid again.  When I was a kid, the greatest thing in the world was getting on my bike and exploring my community.  There were no rules.  We just cycled.    It was fun.  It still is….same as it ever was.   That’s the real reason I cycle.

Fun.

No buts about it.

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2 thoughts on “Why I Cycle (but…)

  1. Thanks for your continued dedication to your blog Bob.

    I’m willing to fork over a reasonable annual cycling-specific licensing fee to enjoy the bike-friendly enhancements so prevalent here in the Twin Cities. If it takes a fee structure to keep bikes at the top of tit-for-tat legislators minds and to label me as a “user” – point me to that service window.

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    • Thank you, Scott. I appreciate your comment. User fees can be a great way to fund specific projects and I’m certainly not averse to paying them. You raise an interesting point, and it may work out that way. If so, sign me up, too. I do find it rather ironic though when motorists think we don’t pay our fair share, especially since they don’t typically pay their fare share, either. Enjoy your day 🙂

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