Today, I thought I’d take some time to consider the beauty of commuting by bike, despite the daily risks that cyclists face out on the roads. Be safe, everybody.
I regularly commute to work by bike. I used to take the Metro, but I gradually discovered there is a much richer way to experience life in Washington, D.C. And that way is on my bicycle.
Bicycle commuting takes mundane trips to and from the office and turns them into mini-adventures. My husband and I found a (mostly!) peaceful D.C. commute route that takes me on (mostly!) quiet streets and along the monuments every day.
I like feeling the bumps and undulations in the road (although I could do without the big potholes), and the effects of the weather on my body. Fully immersed in my environment, it’s just my bike and me, exploring the world together.
When riding, I am fully exposed. If I shout epithets or act aggressively, I cannot hide anonymously behind a motor and metal, roll up my windows, and zoom off. Riding a bicycle is different than that, and this sense of responsibility and connectedness promotes a sense of mindfulness.
I treasure kind drivers and polite pedestrians. When I am on my bicycle, people ask me questions about where I have been, and where I am going. They tell me stories about the rides they have taken, or the riding accomplishments or habits of their friends. We share in a way that never happens when I am in a car.
When it comes to transportation, especially commuting, our society is fully focused on the destination… forget about the journey. Bicycle commuting is a unique way of being in the world unmatched by any other mode of transportation. For me, riding a bicycle is one of the greatest and most fulfilling ways to experience life. It transforms travel so that once again the journey can be savored.
I’ve noticed that about some cyclists, myself in particular. We relish the journey, almost to much. I remember how much I enjoyed riding the 09 DCR Fleche and the melencholy that set in upon finishing. The journey is best.
I agree! After many of the long rides, in particular, I feel so great that we’ve arrived but a little bummed out that it had to end.