I ride a bike because sometimes, the most direct route by bike looks like this.
Both Dan Bertolet and Josh Cohen wrote posts over at Publicola about some reasons why they ride bikes. Often, bike advocacy seems to concentrate on the emissions-free, environmentally-friendly aspects of bicycling. This turns some people off (which is unfortunate), but it seems to be one of the strongest arguments for governmental investment in bicycle infrastructure. After all, our legislative bodies all (OK, mostly) have carbon emissions goals to meet, right?
But it would be slightly dishonest of me to say that I choose to ride my bike as my primary (and nearly only) means of transportation because I don’t want to contribute to the world’s unsustainable carbon dioxide cloud (not to mention all the other exhaust toxins). No, the reasons that keep me riding are all about me. I ride a bike because:
- it’s fun
- it’s cheap
- I stay fit without needing to do much other exercise
- driving is stressful
- transit is too expensive (at least compared to a bike)
- I hate exhaust, and feel guilty for making others breathe mine when I drive
- I hate driving in circles trying to find a parking spot
- Biking takes you to places a car would never go
- Biking brings me closer to my surroundings
- I can smell things when I bike (downside to this: car exhaust)
- I like to stop and take photos
- I like to stop and pop into shops I have never explored
- I like to going downhills so fast I keep up with car traffic
- The most obvious bike route from much of north Seattle to my house just happens to go through Interlaken Park
- I don’t have to worry about catching the last bus
- I can learn to maintain my bike with relatively little effort or special tools (though there is certainly some of each)
- I can almost always find parking within a few yards of the front door
- Knowing I can get around without petroleum is empowering and fills me with much needed (and sometimes scarce) optimism about the future
So, what’s your list? Why do you ride a bike? If you don’t, why not?