I was an avid biker back in the day. I’ll admit maybe I wasn’t the most conscientious cyclist. I tended to jump lights, cross lanes, skitch delivery trucks, and ride with general disregard for my safety and those around me. In short, I was the kind of rider that I now despise.
It took a few years, about a decade actually, plus a half dozen wrecks or near misses, a transition from racing to touring/commuting, and the birth of my two children to slow me down. Now I appreciate riding as a hobby, I commute primarily by lightrail and ride the trails and sharrows, greenways, and back roads about once or twice a week.
It’s in those moments that I remember why I fell in love with biking. There is nothing quite like silently coasting down a tree lined trail, the steady rush of passing air, the smells of grass or rain on the pavement or someone barbecuing in the backyard. It’s in those moments that my brain stops its relentless chatter. I can relax, enjoy the moment and just feel happy. All under my own power, no gas required.
It shows too, this self-powered mode of transportation. I sleep better. I am more calm, more creative, and generally feel more energetic after cycling. Many studies have shown these psychological benefits alongside the physical benefits of biking.
But don’t take my word for it. Get out there and ride. Bring your friends. If you’re like me and have a pretty simple and set route to work or school, challenge yourself. If you usually ride, take a different route, or give yourself more time to go slower.
This month is a chance for us to become reacquainted with our bikes again, that first taste of freedom and movement. Get up, get out, and enjoy #YourBigBackyard.