I rode my bike to a party yesterday. It was 15 miles away and it took me an hour to get there (I’m not super fast). When I arrived, a number of people said, “You biked here?” “Are you training for something?” “How long did it take you?” It really wasn’t that big of a deal. It took an hour, which is 30 minutes longer than it would take to drive with no traffic, and I got some exercise. It was a beautiful day and I didn’t have 2 kids with me, so riding to the party was a bonus.
Recently I’ve gotten similar comments from people when I’ve ridden my bike to various events. I rode to a soccer game less than 2 miles from my house and I rode to my kids swim lessons 12 blocks away. I think people forget how close some things are and how very silly it is to drive such short distances. The comments people always make are, “what a great idea, I should do that” or “I thought about riding my bike here, but……”
Our neighbor burns up the road every day. It’s amazing how many trips she makes in her car. I’ll be in the front yard working in the garden or playing with the kids and I’ll see her get in the car and speed off. 20 minutes later she’ll be back at home. In another hour, she’ll be back in her car speeding off again. She does this most every day. (I’m not trying to be a nosy neighbor, I’m just outside a lot and I notice things) Her driving habits make me reflect before I get in the car for a quick trip. When I drive, I try to at least plan where I’m going and combine trips to the store, coffee shop, drug store etc.
I’m no saint. Sometimes I drive to get coffee, or I drive to the store when I could easily ride. It’s just a mind shift – I’m trying not to make driving automatic. For most people, driving is automatic. They wouldn’t think of doing it any other way.
It is a mind shift. It takes time for some people to see it – for others it happens very quickly. I try and fail as much as the next person – but when I do ride (walking is usually out due to distance / time concerns) I am 9 times out of 10 very happy that I did. You notice things. You chill out. You breathe.