Last month I tackled the #30daysofriding challenge. I’d be lying if I said I rode EVERY single day, BUT I can count on one hand how many days I missed. Even though I didn’t hit all 30 consecutive days, I did learn a lot and truly feel like my relationship with riding has changed.
3 Things I’ve Learned From #30daysofbiking:
1| Commuting is an entirely different experience than riding for exercise/sport.
This seems obvious, I agree, but I didn’t realize just HOW different it actually was. As someone who is used to going out TO RIDE vs. merely using my bike to get from point A to point B, I really had to find my new rhythm.
While I have been riding bikes my entire life and frequently ride long distances, the truth is, this is the first year that I have fully committed to “going by bike”. Sure, I dabbled in commuting here and there, I’d go do a quick errand from time to time, or maybe we’d ride out to dinner or the park. But the daily grind of everyday life, and I mean EVERYDAY, is actually a very new concept to me. That rain or sine mentality, and fully equipped for the elements, yep – I’m in an entirely new territory.
So the fact that I found that rhythm has truly felt like a turning point. It no longer feels like I am chasing a certain speed or time. Instead, I’ve found my new “normal” pace for city riding – and I hadn’t even realized I’d been looking for it!
2| I TRULY Appreciate the Slower Paced Lifestyle.
The truth is, in my city, going by bike isn’t actually that much slower than going by car. Where getting to the bakery in the car may take me 10 minutes, going by bike is like 15. It’s not THAT drastic of a difference to me. Having said that, going by bike feels like a breath of fresh air as I don’t feel like I am in such a rush all the time. Even though the actual difference isn’t that much, I’ve already mentally prepared myself that it is going to take me longer to get somewhere, so I give myself a bigger time buffer, which means I’m not racing from light to light – only to sit and anxiously wait for the light to change.
I also don’t feel like I am checking my phone as much – whether I am on the bike or not. It’s easy to mindlessly grab your phone while sitting at a red light, for whatever reason – and in my case I usually don’t even know why I grabbed it, just a habit. I don’t check my phone at lights while I’m on my bike, and as a wonderful side effect to that, it isn’t at the forefront of my mind when I get to where I am going.
Furthermore, I find that I get more accomplished in a day. Going by bike makes me plan my day more intentionally, and the fact that I am riding in-between ALL the things I need to do, makes me feel like I’m using my time wisely. This is probably more of a mental hurdle I’ve gotten over, but nevertheless, I love feeling like I’ve accomplished a ton, yet also relaxed. Again, it’s the feeling of a slower paced lifestyle.
3| I Need to Be More Vocal in My Community.
I’ve noticed this past month, mostly from going to board meetings and such, that while there are SO MANY people in my area who love and appreciate having bicycle infrastructure, we aren’t as vocal about that love as the people who are against it. I love that we have several bike lanes and “sharrows” within my city. But the reality is that those took a lot of work from dedicated people to get approved and installed. It’s easy to quietly enjoy them because they are already there, but there are people who do not appreciate their existence and man do they make it known! So in addition to committing to “going by bike” this year, I’ve committed to volunteering and making my voice heard that I am PRO BICYCLES for for my city. The more people we can get on bikes, the more infrastructure we can get approved, and vice versa. #beingquietisnolongeranoption
Tell me below, what sort of things has going by bike taught YOU?!