Why I Ride a Bike

The weather is warm and sunny, the flowers are blossoming, and the traffic is calm on my quiet side street route. Riding my bike is so much nicer than squeezing onto the L train or being trapped in a car.

Even if the rest of my day is not so great, at least I know that I will enjoy my commute to and from work. (Even if I cut my head off with my self-timed photos :)) That’s why I ride my bike. Most assume it’s an environmental or health statement, but those factors are secondary to having a happy commute. If it were not enjoyable, I would not do it.

Why do you ride a bike?

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25 thoughts on “Why I Ride a Bike

  1. Matthew Lindsay says:

    Yeah, I’m in a much better mood on bike commute days (which are about once a week).

  2. It’s like a little adventure every day, taking a new side street — I always fall in love with Chicago all over again on my bike. I just read about your blog in NewCity — and I was SO happy to find this whole world of bike blogs. I felt like a big puzzle piece of my life that I didn’t have anyone to connect with just fell into place. I actually wrote an article about the feeling of being left out in the bike community and then about 2 hours after hitting submit, I found the article about you — what wonderful timing. Here is the article: http://www.keepcalmandwriteon.com/post/9263289457 — I hope the timing makes you laugh. Have a good day, watch out for this hail!

    • Emily, you should check out the list I’ve been compiling–there are LOTS of women bike bloggers! http://bit.ly/WomenBikeBlogs. If you’re on Twitter you can follow @WomenBikeBlogs to see featured blogs & get feeds I’m setting up a few at a time (so as not to drown everyone–there are literally hundreds of them).

  3. maureen says:

    I was thinking about this just this morning. I had a long, hot, physically stressful day yesterday, and even though I had only about 25 minutes in the evening free – I got on my electra cruiser and rode through my suburban neighborhood. I needed to destress, and that ride helped me immensely. I saw green grass, flowers, kids out playing, and people walking. The evening breeze refreshed my body, and my spirit. My legs which supported me standing and lifting all day, needed the fluid movement of riding. And , of course, for me riding always returns me to the feelings of freedom and independence I received from cycling as a kid. LOVE IT!

  4. Lauren Taylor says:

    i love my morning bike commute! the weather is still cool & everyone is in such a good mood in the morning… the ride wakes me up & makes me feel so refreshed :) the after-work commute is ok; a little stressful because of the crazy traffic, but i take a lot of side streets so my main concern tends to be giant hills :) haha

    i love commuting by bike! i definitely wouldn’t bother if i didn’t enjoy it. i relish the opportunity to lose myself in my own thoughts and just zone out for 30-40 minutes. even with afternoon traffic, it is WAY less stressful than driving my truck. and i always feel like i’ve done myself a giant favor when i finally get home at the end of the day :D

  5. Erica Satifka says:

    I only started cycling seriously last year. At first it was just process of elimination: I can’t/don’t drive for medical reasons, and there was no meaningful public transportation in the suburban town I moved to (from a big city). And walking to the grocery store, cafes, etc took at least thirty minutes, okay sometimes but not something you want to do all the time. But then I fell in love with it. Places I normally wrote off as inaccessible (who wants to walk three hours to go to a bookstore?) suddenly became feasible to get to. I had felt housebound, not having a job or any social life in my new town, but cycling gave me the freedom to travel almost anywhere I wanted, once I got over the fear of interacting with suburban drivers on very non-bike-friendly streets. (Tip for people afraid to ride in traffic: try riding in suburbia first. Once you master this, you will be an expert at city riding, which is a piece of cake by comparison.)

    So yeah, my reasons for riding are all about independence, and overcoming the handicap of non-driving by being a legitimate part of the traffic flow. Even though I now (thankfully!) live in a city again, the cycling has stuck. With the exception of going downtown (where I take the light rail), it’s faster than public transportation, because Baltimore’s patchwork bus system makes it difficult to get from neighborhood to neighborhood without going through downtown. Also, it’s great exercise and so relaxing! I think much better on my bike vs. when I’m walking or (especially) driving, and I show up at my destination far less cranky.

  6. iheartbikes says:

    I took some near identical pics for my new bike blog last night – I found a pretty spot in a garden with a great background like these. And I managed to cut of my head with a self-timed photo!

  7. Amypruden says:

    Can you tell me where you bought the front basket on your blue bike (the Rivendell)? I love the low profile and need something similar so as to not block the headlight on the front of my bike. Thanks!

  8. anniebikes says:

    I ride for exercise; smelling the flowers, crops, and farm animals; I am in control of my transportation, becoming a living, breathing part of the environment. I dislike driving. The way I look at it, saving gas is just a side benefit.

  9. RobW says:

    I have bad eyes and cant drive, so bicycling is my transportation. Ga. has great electric-assisted bike laws (no license) and that has really leveled the hills out. It is nice to hit those wonderful moments when nature breaks in on a commute, and you can enjoy scenery and scent that was there before the destination and concrete.

  10. Ladyenoki says:

    Hi Dottie

    I was wondering do you use a tripod when taking self photos? Or do you try to find places you can rest it on? Also what lens on the camera do you use? Thank you :)

    • LGRAB says:

      I’ve only used a tripod twice, when I really set out to get good winter bicycling self-portraits. Otherwise, if my husband is not around, I prop my camera on a dumpster or city trash can most of the time. It’s typicaly the perfect height. For the photo here, I used a bench, which obviously was not high enough. :) I really should pull out my tripod more often.

      Most of the photos here I take with my Nikon FM2, an old film camera, with a 50 mm 1.8 lens.

  11. Stephen Hodges says:

    Unfortunately, it’s still hot as heck here in the sweet sunny south, but I started riding again anyways because it’s the only real aerobic exercise I can get on a regular basis. Can’t do it everyday (gotta pick up children from school, attend night meetings across town, stormy weather, etc.), but every day I can is a blessing. My urban route along quiet residential streets in mid-town is mostly shaded by live oaks, and it’s good to be outside when most people are scurrying along in their air-conditioned cars from their air-conditioned offices to their air-conditioned homes. I wonder why people live in Florida sometimes…

  12. welshcyclist says:

    I commute for the joy of being outdoors, in all weathers, to be able to see the seasons change, up close on a daily basis, and feel part of nature. I challenge anyone not to feel better during and after a bike ride, its up there with the very best of experiences.

  13. Harold Potter says:

    As an older person, I don’t have a commute, so I ride for exercise and to enjoy the outdoors [I’m still a bit leery of the car traffic]. I must say, your pictures are well composed and just lovely.

  14. Jenna says:

    I think I secretly like the rush of riding beside cabbies during rush hour. Also for the view over the Williamsburg Bridge and the whoosh as I go down the steep side. Definitely for the whoosh.

  15. Jenna says:

    I think I secretly like the rush of riding beside cabbies during rush hour. Also for the view over the Williamsburg Bridge and the whoosh as I go down the steep side. Definitely for the whoosh.

  16. Heather says:

    I started biking to work the morning I arrived there by car and couldn’t find a parking spot anywhere. I only live a mile away, so in a flash of resourcefulness, I drove back home, got my bike, and eliminated my parking dilemma! Now I feel antsy when I don’t/can’t bike in for whatever reason. Especially on days when it’s otherwise too hot out to comfortably be outside, I get much-needed fresh air and exercise – good for body, mind, and soul!

  17. Karen says:

    Among other things, I do it to show that it can be done. I don’t have to be at the mercy of gas prices or car maintenance. I strongly believe that resistance to exploring alternatives to auto dependence is encouraged by an exaggerated declarations (endlessly repeated in the media) that Americans can’t or won’t live without their cars. I challenge this whenever possible by reminding the person making this ridiculous statement that many Americans live without cars every day despite the best efforts of budget cutting to eliminate and reduce funding for public transit and bike infrastructure. I keep it simple and go about my business biking around town in a skirt and strappy sandals.

  18. Sandy Jo says:

    My husband & I both commute to work by bike, we are both in the medical field on opposite sides of our town so the commute helps us both to unwind from the stresses of the day before begin our evening together. You get to experience so much more of the city & the culture in it from a bike saddle. I ride a cute folding bike, that I LOVE, gets lots of looks during my commute.

  19. I linked to this in a post I wrote for the 30DaysofBiking.com effort. My challenge to myself is to post every day for 30 days, which is about double my usual pace, so it’s a stretch.

    Here’s the round-up–some great stories and all inspiring! http://bikestylespokane.com/2011/09/02/why-we-rideresolve-to-ride-a-blogspedition/

    barb at Bike Style Spokane

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