I get a lot of questions about bike commuting from my coworkers and people I meet on the train and bus. They’ll ask how far I ride, how long I’ve been bike commuting, how much my bike cost, how much money I’m saving, etc. They’re often congratulatory, while sometimes also stating what a sacrifice it must be, and how they “could never do that”.
But here’s the big secret: bike commuting is no sacrifice at all. As a matter of fact, I often feel a pang of guilt for doing it. It’s so much fun, and I derive so many benefits from it (health, wealth, peace of mind), that I sometimes feel as if I’m cheating the system. Bike commuting, so it seems, defies the capitalistic logic of “getting what you pay for” by requiring very little, while providing copious benefits in return.
So now, when someone asks why I commute by bike, instead of expounding on the ecological and economic benefits, I first talk about how much fun it is, how good it makes me feel, and how little effort it takes. I tell them about the things I see along the road (birds, kids, dogs, turkeys, hawks, squirrels), the way it clears out the cobwebs in the morning and flushes out the stress in the evening, and what an utter relief it is to be free of driving related stress and anxiety.
I hope that by sharing my big secret—the fact that bike commuting is not a sacrifice at all, but a richly rewarding endeavor—people will be more likely to consider it for themselves.