Since we moved to Nashville in 2013, I’ve been bike commuting to work and cycling around the city on the weekends. Part of my identity is pretty much wrapped up into being a cyclist too. My ride to work is a bit over 10 miles and usually takes me about 45 minutes – only 20 minutes longer than if driving during rush hour.
Here are my reasons for being a cyclist.
It makes me feel good about the environment
I care about the environment and I think we as humans are doing real damage to the planet. Riding my bicycle to work is a small thing that is completely under my control so I do it. I’m not polluting and that makes me feel good. More info here.
Not only does it makes me feel good about the environment but it makes me feel part of the environment. I mean that in a couple different ways. First, I’m literally out in the weather and I’m always very aware of the weather forecast. If it’s cold out side then I’m going to be cold. If it’s raining then I’m getting wet. It makes me feel good that I’m not separate from environment and I like feeling part of the overall system. Second, when I’m cycling I feel like I’m part of the city too.
Exercise makes my body and mind feel good
Exercise does lots of really great things for us. Not just the obvious things that we all think of – muscles are stronger and cardio is better – but lots of mental health things too. I really do feel that I think more clearly when I bike into work vs when I don’t. Plus, there’s all those happy drugs that your body releases when you’re exercising. Overall, I feel less depressed and anxious when I’m riding my bike regularly. More info here.
There’s plenty of research that indicates that a car commute is the leading cause of unhappiness in people’s lives so I’m just not going to do that. 🙂
Cycling makes me feel like a badass
I ride my bike in all weather conditions including the cold, rain, wind, heat. I’m not a fast cyclist but I’m pretty persistent. When I’m cycling in 7 degree weather it just makes me feel like a bad ass.
One of the most enjoyable things about cycling is passing lots of cars as they’re stuck in traffic. This is a pretty great illustration of that.
Cycling is safe
Safety is probably the single biggest thing non-cyclists bring up to me when they learn I’m a cyclist that rides for transport. Which is pretty interesting since the leading cause of death for people 1 – 44 years old are automobile accidents. If you’re concerned for your safety or the safety of your children, the best thing you could do is not drive.
It sometimes does feel a little like I’m swimming with sharks in some areas and it does take a certain amount of confidence to cycle in some areas that don’t have bike facilities (bike lanes etc) but I’ve rarely had issues where I feared for my safety.