On the bike...A gym bag, a book bag, a few groceries, and two bottles of red wine.
So this, of course, is not a lot of stuff to carry on a cargo bike that weighs 65lbs with nothing on it. But it's the lifestyle that I'd like to say a few words about. Firstly, because I own a few bikes that can carry things, I sometimes forget that not all cyclists do (such as when I see them riding with overflowing backpacks or have bags hanging dangerously from their handlebars). What I like about riding bikes that are built to carry things--and indeed the reason I bought them--is that I can usually carry everything I need. But this isn't what I was thinking about as I pedaled and coasted home this evening. What I was thinking about was how much physical exercise I work into my daily life, even in the teeny circumference in which I usually live. Here's what I'm talking about, and these are just guessing estimates when it comes to actual distances, but this is where I rode today...
Home > Church 1.5 miles
Church > Coffee Shop 2.5 miles
Coffee Shop > Home 1 mile
Home > JCC 1.25 miles
JCC > Grocery Store .75 miles
Grocery Store > Pharmacy .75 miles
Pharmacy > Wine Shop .5 miles
Wine Shop > Home .5 miles
I am fully aware that this is not for everyone. If, for example, you live in a rural or suburban sprawl riding a bike as a means of daily transport would be nearly impossible. But luckily I live in a condensed urban area which has an excellent Walk Score (94% "walkers paradise"). I am in no way trying to be a braggart or say that living in high density is better than the suburbs or rural--everyone makes their own choices and decisions--it's just that this is what works for me...this is the environment in which I thrive. This said, riding my bike today running errands and other things I rode nearly nine miles, if I would have worked today I would have ridden another four (Two there and two home). It was not drudgery, nor did I dread having to do it. On the contrary, it felt good--really good--to be out in the open air and to be using my own muscles to propel me...I am both the cargo and the engine. I wasn't tired or exhausted while doing it. I just did. The older I get the more I realize how precious one's health is, and riding a bike not only exercises my mind and body, but also--as I get winded when pushing into a headwind on an incline--gives me a not-so-subtle reminder of this. And this is what I was thinking tonight as I coasted down a slow decline in the road with the wind to my back on an unseasonably warm Sunday in January.