Bicycling is actually really hard not to enjoy, and it comes with a ton of benefits, which is why it’s one of the most popular recreational activities in the U.S. (and why some folks bike into their 100s).
But a lot of people still have trouble believing they can bicycle for transportation purposes, or have fears about doing so. The percentage of utilitarian bikers is clearly growing across the U.S., though. Perhaps you’re thinking about joining the green transport trend?
If so, or even if you’re already a bicyclist, here are a few tips to enjoying your next bike ride:
- Bike at a comfortable pace: A lot of people in the U.S. think that when you bike, you have to approach it like a sport. Not so at all! If you like to bike that way, fine, but if it doesn’t suit your fancy, fell free to bike at a cool, easy pace. While most U.S. bikers don’t bike like that, this is the norm in the most bicycle-friendly countries in the world (i.e. the Netherlands, Denmark, and Germany). I think it’s the norm there for a reason — it’s more pleasant for more people. (And it’s also safer.)
- Take charge: You are a legitimate vehicle on the road, and you are actually making people’s trips to work easier and faster, but sometimes you need to mark your space on the road, take the lane and not be bullied to far to the side. Feel comfortable doing so. This is your right! And, again, it’s safer to bicycle with such confidence and willingness to tell cars to back off or watch out for you than to bike too timidly.
- Smell the Roses: OK, it’s a little easier to do when walking than biking, but it’s certainly a lot easier to do biking than driving. And aside from actually stopping to smell roses, one of the wonderful thing about biking is the wind in your face, the clear connection to the world around you, and the ability to stop quickly and check out cool things (or people) you see on the way. It’s one of the things I’ve always loved about bicycling.
Those are my top 3 tips for enjoying your bike ride.
The senior editor here at The Fun Times Guide Living Green, Jeffrey Davis, has a few pretty cool reasons for loving cycling and having fun on his rides. Jeffrey says:
- Explore! Cycling lets you get out and discover new places in your area that you may not ever happened upon. Maybe it’s like my friend who found a zebra farm in rural middle TN (yes, seriously), or maybe it’s something you’ve driven past 1,000 times but never took the time to look at. Your perspective of the world changes on a bike.
- Therapy. My mind is a mess. It races 9,000 miles per hour all day (and most nights). The only times it slows down and streamlines is when I’m writing in my journal, working with wood, or logging some miles on my bike. Nothing but the sound of nature, my own breathing, and preferably the stillness that comes just before dawn is worth more than any time on a therapist’s couch…for me.
- Personal Growth. I like to compete. Whether it be with myself or with others, competition has always driven me. I like to see how far I can go beyond the line of what my body and mind will take and still end up asking for more. Cycling allows me the chance to push myself to levels I didn’t think I could survive…of course I can always equally enjoy an easy spin with some friends too.
I’m sure there are many more.
Have some to share? Chime in below!
photo credit: Gino