A few winters ago I made a really good decision. I decided to take my car off the road and start cycling everywhere.
It happened while my car was in the shop for a few days for a brake job. I started cycling everywhere and found it only took me a few minutes longer than it would to drive. When I got my car back I decided to take the insurance off it and just see how things went.
I discovered I love to ride.
I also discovered that our transit system has bike racks on the front of all the buses. Awesome! Who knew?
I’d put my bike on the bus to go to work in the morning to save time (my morning-alone-time is precious & non-negotiable), then I’d ride home after and just blow everything off. Breathe in the fresh air and move my body. Revel in the feeling of freedom.
Riding is like skiing and swimming and flying all at the same time.
When the weather got more wintery, I just got different gear… really it’s all about the gear. When you’ve got the right clothes for the weather, it’s all good.
A couple of solid, waterproof panniers and you’re all set.
I grew to love my grocery runs, which for me, means going to different shops for different things. So it would usually take me the better part of the afternoon, and require navigating a few good hills.
Part of the fun was problem-solving fitting my goods creatively into my 2 panniers… balancing, bungee-ing, and voila… a little deeper quad workout getting home. Yummy.
I got totally wired to getting out for some kind of ride everyday, even if it was only a quick run to the library. When I didn’t get out, my body actually pined.
I’d hear this pleading voice in my head saying, “C’mon let’s go for a ride.” Reminded me of my now heaven-sent puppy dog.
We had unseasonably dry weather in the Comox Valley that winter. A bit colder than usual but hardly any rain, which is strange for the Pacific Northwest (and not unwelcome). Dry cold usually means snow, which I much prefer to rain, but it makes cycling a bit more challenging.
Our first snowfall stayed on the ground for 3 whole days! It was sunny and cold and crisp. Just how my Norse blood likes it. But when the snow gets too deep, riding is no longer an option.
I admit, I’m not sure I’d want to take on winter cycling in the big snow of Montreal or Toronto, although I’m sure there are far more fit souls who do. And those cities are much better at clearing the roads than my little burg.
So I’m very grateful to be living in the temperate rain forest of Vancouver Island.
My riding bliss lasted for about 6 months, then I had to put my car back to work when gardening season started. By the following November, I was back in drive mode.
So subtle and seductive the pull back to the familiar. The ease of jumping in the car and getting all your tasks done and dusted lickety-split. I get it but, really, more is not always better.
My bike’s been calling me again lately. Daylight is on the rise now. And I’m feeling that antsy New Year nudge in my muscles and bones. It feels like time to bond with my trusty steed once again.
This time I’ll keep my car on the road though: I won’t remove the alternative. Instead I’ll embrace the precious learning opportunity in choosing consciously which mode of transport I truly require.
Each time I choose to ride, it becomes more effortless. My gear is ready, and so is my mindset. I factor in the extra time and choose my ‘stealth route’ for the optimum ride experience.
- My friend Shaughna says, Self Love + Practice = Discipline
- Jocko Willink says, Discipline Equals Freedom.
- And my latest favourite, from Jerzy Gregorek,
Hard choices, easy life.
Easy choices, hard life.
For me, change is choice enacted. Choice enacted is freedom. And each choice leads somewhere…
But you already know that. Maybe you just needed a nudge, like I did.
Maybe next time you have somewhere to go, you’ll choose an alternative – just for fun. If you choose to use your own steam, whether cycling or walking or cross country skiing or skating (in any form), I have a feeling you and your body are going to love it.
And maybe we’ll start a revolution, inside and out.
My 2022 Update
Since writing this post, I’ve purchased an electric bike. It’s been a game changer. I love love love my new bike!
After lots of research into various e-bikes, I chose a RAD City Step-thru. It came with all the essentials but I added a back basket, a mirror and a pannier. It feels so luxuriously practical. Perfect for errand running or just plain fun riding.
I heartily recommend RAD for their bikes, their quality accessories and their customer service. If you’re thinking of getting an e-bike, check them out. I believe they are the best bang for your buck.