Selfish Motives

While we think it’s important to help protect the environment by riding our bikes, we have to admit, we harbor selfish motives as well. Here are a few other reasons why we ride:

  • It’s fun. There’s really no other activity that gives us the sense of joy and freedom that we experience while riding our bikes.
  • It’s healthy. Bike riding is a healthy form of aerobic exercise that we participate in just about everyday.
  • We’re gear heads. We love researching new bikes, making modifications, tweaking parts and accessories, and maintaining our stable.
  • It’s an opportunity to connect with friends. Sharing the joyful experience of riding with friends is special and unique. There’s something about the shared effort, the fresh air, and the endorphins, that always makes for good conversation and fond memories.
  • It’s a great way to meet people. Wherever we go on our bikes, we inevitably end up meeting new people, and we sometimes even make new friends.
  • It’s a photo op. Bike riding provides an endless stream of photo opportunities.
  • It gets us in touch with nature. Bike riding is the one thing that gets us out-of-doors and in touch with nature every day.

What are some of the reasons you ride your bike?

13 Responses to “Selfish Motives”

  • Gordon Inkeles says:

    At 67, it lets me feel a lot younger that I am. This is not an illusion. I’ve definitely reached the “use it or lose it” point, and I’ve decided to “use it.” I regularly ride 40–50 miles at a fairly leisurely pace and the “high” I get lasts for about two days. If I add a couple of 20 mile rides to the mix each week the great feeling simply becomes “who I am.”

    My wife tells me that I look better than I did ten years ago. I’ve certainly lost enough weight to qualify as a fit looking male. I’ve come to see the bicycle as a way to transform my life.

  • andy parmentier says:

    a bicycle is an extension of me, and a vehicle of poetry. 2 of my sisters rode around in a “poetry bug” some years back, (a promotion of magnetic poetry, those words that stick on your fridge)
    a doctor told me to put my arms out wide to stretch my diaphragm (overeater/heartburn sufferer)
    one day, north of santa rosa, ca just walking down the road, an epiphany of putting out my arms like a bird as i started to run.
    a long estrangement from recumbents started to thaw when i put my arms out like a bird on my mountain bike (by the way, this was boot camp for learning to ride a unicycle, though i did’nt know it at the time) i had heard a certain recumbent described as a “cessna of the pavement”
    so i’ve got this heart that needs to eat the wind, and if i don’t i overeat what’s in the fridge, magnetically drawn to it ha ha but it is theorized that birds navigate with a combination of built in instrumentation including geomagnetic navigation..
    and so my heart is meant to have an extension as well, which is wings

  • Jonathan says:

    Alan has summed up a great answer to his question. My only addition might be that I can’t find a reason NOT to use my bicycle for transportation.

  • Opus the Poet says:

    I ride my bike because for the costs of buying a new car every 10 years (which is about 3 times the replacement age for most people in my area) I can buy a really nice bike every year, plus have a bunch of money left over. Or I could buy a new bike every 5 years, or what I really do is buy a used bike every 7 years and bring it to a modern state of reliable, usable components for about $300 and have about $10K a year that I don’t have to go to work for. Having a bike and a bus pass has saved me about $150,000 since I parked my car.

    And when I don’t have to fight the cars for my share of the roads I have a great time riding my bike. My consumables expenses are lower with my bike, because instead of buying nasty unleaded regular, I’m buying sourdough and whole wheat breads, rice, pasta, beans, and all sorts of goodies. I buy olive oil and chain lube instead of 10W30, and a $10 bottle of chain lube lasts me a year…

    Riding my bike makes me happy and saves me money, which also makes me happy.

  • brett says:

    I ride mostly in the city, running errands or going to performances or clubs or restaurants. Going by bike lets me experience and enjoy the city’s fabric — including other people who are walking or riding — in a way that driving or riding sealed up in a car can never do. Riding a bike makes me feel connected to my city rather than isolated from it. Rather than being simply what must be traversed between where I am and where I’m going, the journey itself becomes an enriching, often exhilarating, experience.

  • beth h says:

    Other reasons — and the change over time:

    1. I took up bike commuting in fifth grade when I got tired of getting beaten up on the school bus.

    2. I kept riding my bike in high school becaues, although I now lived farther from school, the city busses couldn’t get me to school early enough for my “zero” hour music classes; and my father’ nightclub gig kept him up too late to get up at 5 to drive me to school.

    3. I took up bike commuting again in the mid-1980’s, on an occasional basis. I still had a car for a few years that I used to get to gigs of my own.

    4. In summer 1990, my car insurance rates went up to a level I couldn’t afford. A week later, the starter began to act up. I sold my car to a friend who got it running again; and I took the money and bought a better bike. I haven’t looked back, and I haven’t owned a car since. I figure I saved close to 3 grand the first year I lived without a car.

    Here’s something else: not owning a car meant I no longer had to earn the money needed to support the car. That meant I didn’t have to work as many hours per week to pay all my bills. I used that freed-up time to commute by bike to more places, and to spend more time with my family and friends. So it’s all been bonus for me.

  • Rachel P says:

    I’m a newcomer to using my bike in the city. I grew up in the suburbs and drove to school downtown with my mother every day because she taught at my school. I never had a need for a bike; we’ve always had cars. But now that I’m going to school near downtown at a huge university in a reasonably bike-friendly city, I’ve found that I don’t have to depend on the bus to go places–they’re close enough that I can bike to them generally without breaking into a sweat at all. I’ve always loved riding my bike, and now that I actually have one of my own (a hand-me-down from my sister, but it’s mine nonetheless), I’ve looked at biking as a way to get in better shape and be more independent, while still having fun!

  • meligrosa says:

    They are all good points I could strongly agree with.

    Asides, I love beating ‘traffic’ getting there faster than my friends, without ever trying to at all (b/c Im a very slow rider) but just the fact they spent lots of cash in cabs, stand at the bus stop forever and dont know many of the side streets (and sightings!) to me is priceless.

    Fresh air.
    My bike is my shrink, mood enhancer and bff.
    Early AM chit-chats from the bike lane are the best.
    I love the social aspect mainly, and also the food side. Because Im always moving, Im always hungry, and I can eat so much more because Im typically fully energized, well thats halfway due to caffeine. so yeah. and it’s done wonders to my arms througout the years.

    Oh so many things really. All within the positive aspect, within my personal opinion beyond outnumber the negative points (few scars are kinda cool)

    Nice discussion you got rolling
    xo.meli <3

  • Adrienne says:

    5 words sum it up- to combat middle age spread!
    There are a million other things, but that is what gets me out in the rain :)

  • It’s not always about the environment. « The Green Rabbinical Student says:

    […] EcoVelo » Blog Archive » Selfish Motives […]

  • Scott Wayland says:

    Mostly I’m in it for fitness and fun, but the environmental kick is good, too. I get a certain joy out of sticking it to the petroleum companies and, especially, a few middle Eastern countries that hate us. Every time I get on the bike, I’m draining some funds away from those sick, backwards places.


  • Larey says:

    Being outside and self propelled where the only limit to my travel is my own strength and energy.

  • Dave says:

    I think in terms of urban cycling, it offers a whole different way to experience a city. One of my favorite experiences living anywhere is the process of getting to know your city – it’s a lot like a human relationship, really. It’s nice to be able to see it from different perspectives and learn more about it that way.

    I think engagement of the senses is one of my very favorite things about riding a bike. Copenhagen Cycle Chic did a series on the five senses of cycling, and I really related to it. All the sights, smells, the feeling of the air, the rain, snow, sounds, the opportunity to stop easily and just experience what’s around you.

    I almost always feel better physically and more energetic at the end of a day when I’ve gone somewhere during the day by bike. This probably largely has to do with physical exertion in general, but I can’t think of many more enjoyable and practical ways to get in some physical exertion.

    It’s true, I mostly do it because I really enjoy it.

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