I ride because it’s fun. It’s also healthy, good for the environment, and my gas budget, but if it weren’t fun, none of that would matter. It’s what gets me on my bike almost every day, even when I’m tired, not feeling my best, or just not in the mood. No other form of “exercise” has equaled it. I used to love to run but I was injury-prone and couldn’t do it every day. I certainly couldn’t jog down to the store and come home with a 6-pound chicken for dinner. Walking is okay but definitely falls around midpoint on the fun scale. I enjoy it, especially when I’m walking with a friend, but I’m not exhilarated by it. Walking won’t get me out on a chilly, wet day like riding will either. I do go to the gym to work on strength training regularly. I’ve done so since I was in my mid 30s, which means I started around the Jurassic period. But until I started riding, it had become increasingly (and alarmingly) easy to blow off going when the mood struck. Now I eagerly look forward to the gym simply because I can get there on my bike.
And I absolutely love getting places by bike. Doesn’t matter where. Drug store, groceries, hair appointment, library, even my doctor’s office (although my doctor would probably prefer me not showing up all sweaty and stinking), all easily within riding distance. Some places I don’t ride to because the trails won’t take me there and the traffic is insanely scary which I hate because Bellingham is a relatively small city and I feel there shouldn’t be anywhere where I can’t go without fearing for my life. Yeah I know, there are cyclists who’d say go anyway, but I’m not having fun if I think I might actually die. But those places are few so I really can’t complain…too much anyway.
Because I ride, Bellingham feels more intimate. Side streets and neighborhoods come alive with people, gardens, cats, dogs, and even wildlife like deer and raccoons. The trails are full of people—walkers, runners, other cyclists, bird watchers—who smile and wave at me as I cruise on by. I’m more connected to the rhythms of town as they pulse fast or slow depending on the time of day, the weather, the season. Every day is a new adventure. Every day is fun. So I ride.