All to often I forget about the things that truly bring joy to my life. Most of the things in this category are things that are very simple, things that I can do by myself or they have a direct function and immediate benefit. Two of the things that fall into this list are drawing and bike commuting. I have a post on why I draw here, but for this post I’ll discuss why I bike commute.
I like getting on a bike and using it for transportation, exercise and cycletherapy. Exercise for me has to have other functions in order for me to be inspired to do it everyday. Even though I enjoy walking and running I do not like doing these activities in a loop or just to fill up some designated time. Bike commuting has a purpose, you have to get to work at a certain time. Once you are at work if you want to get home you have to use your human power and ride your bike. This sort of functional logic may seem draconian to some, but that is what really inspires me to ride. I am the power of my transportation system. I must keep my bike in good working order and take care of my body so that I can use them both for transportation.
Another benefit to bicycle commuting is described in a termed called cycletherapy. Cycletherapy is sort of like Psychotherapy with a few exceptions. In Cycletherapy you get to free your mind on a human powered bike outside, in Psychotherapy you free your mind with the help of a trained professional inside of an office. The benefits of Cycletherapy do not stop with the relaxed energy that I get when I arrive at work in the morning. After an early morning commute I arrive at the office pumped with adrenaline and my blood has circulated completely a few times and is full of oxygen so I’m alert and ready to take on the days tasks. When I arrive home I am not drowsy from a hypnotic drive home in my truck, but I am alert ready for dinner. After a few hours of drawing my brain is calm and my body is relaxed and I sleep soundly at night.
There is nothing like riding down a road and feeling the power of my legs moving me to and from my home as I commute to work. The regular route allows me to think about problems that I am working to solve at work or I just let my brain drift where ever it wants to go, but all the while my body stays focused on cranking my chain to keep me moving to my destination.
One of the things that I am working on is building up my stamina so that I can ride further distances. When I ride I am training my legs to do full circle cycling. This means that instead of just pushing down when my pedal is at the top of its path I also pull up with the opposite leg when that leg is at the bottom of its path. Training my muscles and legs to do this without thinking not only increases my speed and distance but it also helps strengthen my legs for running.
In the past 20 years I have had a waxing and waning riding regiem. I have gone from riding 2,000 miles in one month to going for almost 3 years without riding a mile. Here in Georgia it has taken me almost three years to ride 400 miles. This month alone I have already ridden 117.46 miles. This week in four days I have ridden 88.22 miles. When I am in a regular bike commuting schedule I will ride from 100 to 150 miles a week.
Bottom line I bike commute because it is fun. I am looking forward to many miles on the road with my bike in Georgia just as I have in Texas, Oregon, Washington, Vancouver B.C and California.