I’ve got a calendar reminder every where to remind me of when I bought a Fuji bike and started riding my bike everywhere. Why? Because things have been this great crazy adventure, ever since. It was one of those decisions that had long-lasting impact forwards, so much so that I divide life into “before bikes” and “after bikes”. And yesterday was the bikeaversary.
Early on, I had a boss who noticed me bringing in salads all of the sudden and having consistently biked for months, described it as a “health kick”. That was three jobs and quite a few years ago and I’m still that guy who brings salads in and bikes to work and now… there’s folks who don’t know me from back then.
There was the time where some coworkers who only knew me by my profile picture in the HR system thought they’d see past-me with my past-face that was taken when I was at my heaviest when they got off the plane.
As the years go by, I start to suspect that, if you follow the many-universes interpretation of quantum mechanics, all of the versions of me that didn’t start biking will have passed away. Because things were on a downward spiral and the few months I spent not biking after someone stole my first bike sucked so hard and sent me spiraling down so far so fast that I had to accept that, even if I was buying a $300 bike every year, it was still cheaper than the alternative.
People talk about how biking is good for your physical health, makes you thinner, et al. Which it did, but I think for me the improved brain function is the big selling point.
I think the longer lesson was, after the first few years where I had to build up muscles and tendons and mitochondria and stuff, was that I could be good at things that I wasn’t instantly able to make progress at. I spent the first year where ten to fifteen miles was a long ride. Where what is now a pretty wimpy hill felt like a giant freaking hill.
I got into long distance self-supported cycling, which works out pretty well for my mood, because it’s pretty great for all kinds of reasons to get away from it all via bike, and that makes me feel even better.
There’s a bank account that has a down-payment for my wife’s next car in it. Because if her car becomes inoperable for any reason, we have to buy one within a week or two. That happened a few years back.
A few years in, “my” car got donated. It was old and a maintenance headache and I really wish that when they had a program to encourage folks to trade in clunkers for new cars that they also had a program to encourage folks to trade in clunkers for no new car at all, because it had no resale value.
On the other hand, the money being spent to re-fill that bank account, plus the cost of bike maintenance, plus the cost of gear that’s specifically oriented towards non-utility cycling, plus transit, is still significantly less than I’d be spending on a second car, for me to commute with.
Either way, with all of the ups and downs in the past ten years, I’m really glad that I’ve done them on a bike.