Tuesday, October 10, 2006

IMPRINT: I Like to Ride My Bicycle.

Driving is something I never really liked for so many reasons. The fact that I’m naturally a nervous driver doesn’t help. I also truly despise sitting in traffic, amongst other individuals in their carbon spewing cars, watching the rising prices of gas at the corner station. My bank account balance doesn’t like that either.

So when my 1994 Dodge Spirit stopped running in April, I decided to not fix it or pay to insure it anymore. With the $800 I had saved for the insurance I went on a shopping spree at McPhail’s bike shop. I bought a white and silver Gary Fisher. She rides like a charm. I even had enough money to buy a matching a white helmet, cute blue biking gloves, a bell, lights, a rack and two decent side bags.

I haven’t had a bike since I was 12, so I was a little anxious about my bike riding ability. But within a couple days I had my courage back and another solid reason to avoid driving whenever possible. Biking is so much fun! It’s a carbon neutral alternative, I can stay in shape and actually get to work faster than I would if I was driving. Biking allows me to avoid red lights, construction sites and take short cuts. This was something I didn’t consider as a motorist. I have much more mobility within cities as a bicyclist. With city buses equipped with a bike rack, getting to places a little too far or inconvenient to bike isn’t an issue anymore.

There are lots of other benefits. The cost of biking is significantly less than driving. There’s no fuel from oil reserves required. There’re no engine fluids, just the fluid I need to drink. Fixing a broken bike is quicker and much cheaper than a car, and the tune ups I can do myself. Parking is always free and doesn’t necessitate vast amounts of asphalt and painted yellow lines. I also love the idea of the social neutrality of biking. When I see someone on a bike, I see a person. When I see someone in a car, I see a status symbol.

As the summer wore on I needed to get others on board to the idea of biking. One aspect of being an environmentally minded person is spreading the word and sparking conversations and thoughts regarding sustainability. This can be easily accomplished through the use of stickers. I went online and bought one to put on my helmet and it reads “One Less Car”. I have often noticed drivers in traffic straring at my head with a thoughtful gaze.

I must admit I do find enjoying driving down busy streets where cars have to go around me. As a cyclist I have just as much right to be on the road. We’re all trying to get somewhere, I’m just choosing a different mode. I love to show drivers how easy and stylish biking can be. The mentality that cyclists are dangerous or a nuisance has to change, because if nothing else, sweat doesn’t stink nearly as much as CO2.

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