What Does Bike Commuting Mean To Me?

I thought I’d piggyback on Chris’ post about what bike commuting means.

Some history. I bought my first grown up bike for exercise. I was driving from East Greenbush to downtown Albany. The 20 minutes in the car didn’t bother me at the time. I didn’t know any better. Things shifted until, for about a year, I was driving from Albany to Saratoga Springs, and back, every day. I was logging ~75 miles every day. The commute would suck up almost two hours of my life. I started thinking about how much time I was losing doing that. How much of my life I was wasting sitting in a car driving to a job I didn’t even like that much.

I started my current job the day before Bike To Work day. So on my second day, I rode ~3 miles to work on my bike. And I never stopped.

That has to be the biggest thing for me. That freedom- that liberation from that cage, that traffic.

Three years later I’ve got a nicer bike for the summer. I’m more familiar with my neighborhood and with the city in general. People ask me for directions and I don’t have to look at a smartphone- I know where it is because I’ve biked there. (And what I can lock my bike to when I get there.)

On spring days, when things are turning green and the sky isn’t gray anymore and it’s warm enough to wear shorts again, I feel really sorry for people stuck in cars. They don’t know what they’re missing. I can zip through the park on my way to work. I get to smell people’s barbecue on hot summer afternoons.

And there are challenges, too. Like winter. You have to be prepared. You have to fail, and then learn. That whole cycle is empowering. It builds confidence. Most people are scared to drive home in three inches of snow, but I know I can ride home- because I have.

{ written by Ethan Georgi }


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5 responses to “What Does Bike Commuting Mean To Me?

  1. Christopher

    Beautiful. I think a lot of people here share your sentiment about not wanting to commute by car. People ask me if I want a ride, and unless it’s far or pouring out I pretty much always say no. Is it the same with you?

    • mister_ethan

      Most of the people I know have stopped asking if I want a ride. They know how much I love riding, regardless of the weather. And you have to convince them that the jacket it waterproof, etc. (Actually, it took a year for people I work with to stop asking if I had a car. That was weird.)

      I did accept a ride once recently. I had biked all the way to work and then realized I’d left my pannier at home. I was ready to ride home, but when someone offered I realized it would save me some time.

  2. I also love the freedom and stress it relieves on my way home. I have more energy to cook dinner. I live in Georgia so it gets hot! AND I don’t have a car… it blows people’s minds. Thunderstorms = happy to get a ride.

    But it makes me happy to know how much I’m helping the environment and myself by riding to work. I also work at a bike shop (http://www.rideonbikes.com), so that has its perks as well.

  3. Jason

    I too have recently noticed all of the interesting smells on my commute. Because of this, a hole in the wall Indian restaurant is now on my list of places to try. Also love the neighborhood awareness that comes with navigating parking lots, side streets, sidewalks, etc.

    Riding in South Texas, I actually time my rides so that I catch the afternoon thunderstorm – the avoidance of heat is appreciated, and it’s like riding through puddles when I was a kid.

  4. Jason

    On the way to work, I feel like I have time to work out my day in my head. On the way home, I feel like I have some “decompression time” after a long day. It’s not rare that the best part of my day is spent on the way to work and on the way back. I hope I never have to commute another way.

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