A good friend of mine is an outdoor adventurer of sorts. His agenda for the next few years includes hiking/climbing in Nepal, a trans-global motorcycle expedition, and a 6-month hike from New Mexico to Canada on the Continental Divide Trail.
My aspirations are not nearly so loftly. Mostly I hope to continue bicycle commuting on a daily basis with the goal of eventually going completely car-free, and someday I’d love to build a green retirement home.
My friend is an environmentally conscious person, but he’s yet to fully embrace the idea of bike commuting. His commute is essentially the same as mine and I’ve been subtly working on him for a while now, dropping little hints and pointing out how easy it would be to leave his car at home. So when we met up the other morning for a bike ride and stop at a local coffee house for breakfast, I used the ride as an opportunity to demonstrate how pleasant bike commuting can be. Instead of taking the direct route to the cafe, I followed my morning commute route, taking only back roads and trails, and avoiding the main automobile commuter routes. It was quite a pleasant ride, with little to no traffic and perfect weather. Along the trail we heard multiple pheasants calling while we admired the wildflowers sprouting in the vernal pools and the rabbits only partially concealed in the brush. Pretty sneaky, huh?
We eventually made it to the coffee shop and spent a couple of hours chewing the fat about traveling, bicycling, cameras, and whatever else came to mind; it was a good time. On the way home, when we stopped to part ways, my friend mentioned how much he enjoyed our little adventure and he said “It really is the simple things in life, isn’t it?” I couldn’t agree more. And although I didn’t say it, I had the thought that regardless of where we’re at in the world (even our own neighborhood), the bicycle has the power to get us out there and put us in touch with those simple things.