The last time I picked up bike commuting after a two year hiatus in Minnesota, it took a while to get back into the pattern of fitness. I recall being very tired by the end of the 2nd commute, and was fairly disenchanted with the weather. I stuck it out, however, and don’t even recall what drove me, but after a month or so, I realized that I was looking forward to the bike every morning.
Eventually, I lost interest in using the automobile for work unless I had a cross-town meeting for lunch. Even then, I found myself putting off meetings like that for weeks. I enjoy propelling myself to and from work too much. When I got behind the wheel, I found the experience both frustrating (traffic), and frightening (speed). The slower pace of the bicycle (as well as the quietness) acclimatized me to not be as comfortable at highway speeds. I’m sure this was how folks felt when motorized vehicles were introduced. The speed thing was especially interesting, as I am a soul that loves to speed along in any way I can. I have always enjoyed downhill skiing over cross country, downhill mountain biking over climbing, and bombing hills in the big ring. Heck – I was a sprinter in track – not the cross country racer I was built for. I think it’s the freedom and energy I get when I’m on the edge of control and wind is whipping past. It’s an awesome feeling! You never get that in a cage (car).
Another thing I love about the bike commute: although the pics in this post show times even bikes have to wait, for the most part you can go as fast as you want on a bike commute and keep things legal. You aren’t stopped by the mundane speed limit laws constantly reeling in the ridiculously over-built engines on racer-boy cars. Nothing like seeing a vehicle that can go 180mph driving the kids to school, or the exec to work. Talk about reigned in and collared! On a bike, if there is a traffic issue, I go around it or find another route. I can purposely choose a relatively empty way home even on “game days” when traffic is in gridlock.
At this point, my poor truck is rapidly becoming a classic Seattle-style moss and pollen collector, and I think about selling it every week. One of these days I will realize I haven’t driven in weeks and just take the car-free plunge.