Seven Ways of Looking at a Bicycle

A toy for kids or some sport for the very skinny athletes. That's what I used to think bicycling was, until I found myself as a car-less college student who was sick of taking two buses to travel four miles. I bought a used road bike from another student and found so much more. Nowadays, I hear a lot of, "Oh it's just going to get stolen." or "It's just so unsafe. Plus you get so sweaty!" But to me, it is so much more.

Lately all I have been hearing from friends is about how bikes, (1) will get stolen, (2) are unsafe, (3) will get you too sweaty etc. And the thing is, those are all true and possible! (But a laptop or iPhone can get stolen, lost.. can be unsafe when used while driving too!) I wanted to counter those with my musings and meditations on what biking every day has given me in spite of those 3 realities:

  1. A place away from text messages, overflowing inboxes and everything.  A place to let your mind wander or not think at all. If the nail salon or your shower is your space to quiet your mind, the saddle is mine.
  2. The most real video game β€” except, actually, it's real life. Gravity, momentum, aerodynamics, friction and the bottom line that you have to keep moving to keep going. No one else can push you, except yourself.
  3. Steve Jobs called a computer is a bicycle for the mind β€” and for me, a bicycle is a computer for your body. Learning how to efficiently pedal and fit my bicycle to exactly my needs has changed the way I view and use machines around me. I control the machine - not the other way around.

  4. My own schedule: Freedom from parking fees, speeding tickets, car insurance & crowded buses. 

  5. Having a dog gives Angelenos an excuse to go outside and walk around the neighborhood. Fun, right? Bicycling gives me an excuse to stop by every shop, park or abandoned corner - regardless of the parking situation. It’s an exploring machine.

  6. Bring your bike on the train to a new city, to parks atop mountains and you've got a roller coaster in nature.

  7. Process is part of the journey of just getting from point A to point B. On the bicycle, there are no flyover states or drive-through neighborhoods. The trees that line the street matter. The smells from the taco trucks and cafes -- those matter too. The sun setting behind you, the wind blowing past you, it all matters.

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