This week brings us Bike to Work Day on Friday. Which means there is a lot of press suddenly about biking to work this week. I bike to work at every chance I get, not just on nationally granted days given for the occasion. My father rode his bike to work nearly every day as well. My husband bikes to… everywhere.. all the time. This is more than just a weird choice for us, it’s a lifestyle and an ethos.
But why do we bike to work? Admittedly, my father was probably close to the usual “hippie” accusation, being a staunch environmentalist and Geophysics Professor. He was definitely concerned with the amount of fossil fuels we consumed, knowing that someday we will run out (even though we keep pushing that date forward as we find new reserves, it is still limited.)
For me, this did instill a fair amount of Green ethics which certainly influences my decision to forego the car whenever possible, but it’s not really why I bike to work. No, my primary motivation is really this simple:
Driving in commuter traffic is insane, and I have no desire to spend money on parking.
Honestly, when it takes less time to bike to work than it does to bus or figure out how to park the car downtown, why wouldn’t I bike? Time and time again, any other motivations that might be there are only influences, this is the biggest and foremost reason I am motivated to get on the bike.
For my husband, who can work from anywhere, this is not his primary motivation. His history for biking was that one day he decided he was too fat, and started an exercise routine by getting on a bike and biking several miles. He’s kept it up since, and has lost a considerable amount of weight, and continues to mostly keep it off (he complains he is fat again, but… no, not really.)
Exercise is an influence for me to bike to work as well. Unfortunately, it does not help me lose weight (being a fat chick on a bike will be a future blog post I think), but I do notice the effects it has on my health and my ability to be active, so this is definitely an influence.
Three people in my family who have made biking their lifestyle over the years with three different primary goals. Funny how the choice to bike is as individual as the individuals involved!
So next time you think “damn hippie” when you see someone on a bike, realize that we all bike for our own personal reasons. And you might actually agree with one of them.