Sunday, March 16, 2008

Why Bike Transportation? Reason #8

Reason #10 – "Unrighteous Pride"

Reason #9 - The Environment

Reason #8 – Sense of Achievement

I'm somewhat a slave to my bike computer. For those of you not familiar, it's a little gizmo about the size of a pocket watch, attached to the handlebars. It keeps track of all sorts of things – miles (both trip and "odometer"), riding time, top speed, average speed, etc.

There's no denying I've slowed down a little since 15 years ago… either that or miles have gotten longer. I used to average 18MPH or so; nowadays it's dropped off by a couple MPH. (Sure, those European elite cyclists would snort with derision... but I figure that's fast enough for a middle-age fat boy.)

The computer generates a certain amount of compulsion to ride as far as possible, and on as many days as possible, etc.

I've set the bar somewhat high. The last time I drove a car to work was September 1997… I certainly can't break that record now!

I felt it in particular – that sense of achievement – on the day I hit 100,000 miles. (PDF)

It's easy to choose bike transportation on a perfect late-spring or early-autumn day. Not so much in mid-winter with temperatures in the single digits, or in the dead of summer with triple-digit temperatures. But it gives me that sense of achievement to do so. Occasionally I get surprised by heavy rain, and arrive at my destination with pants so wet I can wring 'em out, after I pour the water out of my shoes. (When rain is forecast, rather than a surprise, I've got the Gore-Tex.) Even on the wet days, I feel a sense of achievement to be at my destination. (I confess - sometimes it's nice to bike-ride, because it feels so good to stop!)

On those bad days, I'll occasionally get asked, "How can you do that?" Just the question gives me a sense of accomplishment… apparently not everybody can do it. (Or perhaps my cognitive reasoning is being questioned… I don't know.)

Invariably it's asked by a 365-day motorist.

I feel like responding, "How can you do that? Drive your car, even on the most gorgeous days? Put yourself at the mercy of the Oil Barons? Car payments, insurance payments, registration payments? Sit in traffic, five days a week, going and coming?"

Sense of Achievement. I rarely got it driving someplace... but I sure do when I arrive on the bicycle. (And the older I get, the more I'll feel it!!) (-;

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