why do you ride?

This was posted on EcoVelo a few days ago. I’m sure it’s bad form to be drafting off them by pilfering so much of their material, but the video is beautiful and uplifting and well worth perpetuating.

The “Bikes Belong Coalition” website states that the group “works to create better places to bicycle and get more people riding.” Does it get any simpler than that? I could not possibly agree more. This past Friday, I was interviewed by someone writing an article for the Adrian Daily Telegram on people who ride bicycles for transportation (and specifically those who commute to work by bike). I don’t know how successful I was in my effort, but I tried to convey this very same notion, and along with it the idea that everyone benefits.

As we spoke and again afterward, it occurred to me how frequently I was saying things like, “I ride because it’s fantastically fun,” or, “I ride because it just makes more sense for me to do so.” I referred repeatedly to things like “quality of life.” I kept talking about how anyone can do this, and how every ride taken is a substantially, fundamentally, qualitatively good thing.

At one point, John (the interviewer) asked me a very fair but challenging (for me at least) question. It was something to the effect of: “how do we get from here to there?” In other words, how does someone who is already into bikes persuade someone who isn’t either to begin riding or else at last to support bike-friendly initiatives? The truth is, I don’t really know. I have some ideas, to be sure; but I also have a tendency to be somewhat quixotic at times.

Shortly after I began publishing this blog, I posted on the home page a list of reasons for why I ride. I’ve added to that list along the way. Some prompted me to buy a bike and begin riding; others came into focus as the miles accumulated. How about you; what gets you in the saddle? What reason would you give someone else if you had sixty seconds to make your pitch?

As I was driving home from the co-op this past Sunday, I saw the mechanic from our local bike shop ride by on his bicycle. It was grey, windy, rainy, and cool outside. He was wearing shorts, a sweatshirt with the hood up, and an ordinary coat. He didn’t look miserable. He didn’t look harried. He didn’t look uncomfortable. He didn’t look like he was championing a cause. He didn’t look like he was making a statement. He didn’t look like he was on a mission. He didn’t look like he was exercising.

He just looked like an ordinary guy on a bike making his way to some place he needed to be. He looked happy. He was smiling.

How do were get from here to there? Keep pedaling.

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2 responses to “why do you ride?

  1. Why do I ride? I’m a history buff with older bikes and it doesn’t make sense for them to sit in the garage!!! :p What I really love about it is that I have always loved being outdoors and I can really get back to nature, especially on the nice days. It’s amazing how the same trip in a car that I take on a bike can seem like it is longer in the car than on the bike. I love the peacefulness and the sincerity of riding.

  2. Hear, hear, Daniel. To draw on Robert Pirsig’s Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, it’s the difference between being in one’s environment versus merely passing through or by one’s environment.