It’s been nearly five months now since we sold the car and committed to travelling around town by bicycle. Here are some of the things we’ve noticed whether we are riding our normal bikes or our Gazelle ebikes:
- Weight has stopped being important. I’m not talking about our personal weight (we try to eat good food and ride a bike, which takes care of that!), I’m talking about the weight of things. All the bits on our bikes used to be viewed through the weight filter and the lighter the better. We have come to realise that when it comes to practical commuting, weight is less important than the strength and usefulness of an item. That lightweight rack is useless if it breaks when you try and carry home a bag of cement, and an extra 50 grams of headlight is hardly going to slow you down. Capacity is more important than weight, a 5kg bag of spuds is hard to carry under one arm if you haven’t come prepared!
- Our cycle clothing has changed. We used to think about what we wore on the bike before we hopped on, and there was some planning involved (mostly for Jen) as the day’s riding was considered. We have become so blasé about this that there have been some occasions when Jen has had to practice her single-handed riding skills because one hand is needed to hold down a skirt (how to ride a bike while wearing a skirt is a topic for another post)!
- The time it takes to get anywhere by bike is very similar to car travel around the city, particularly when you figure in the time it takes to get through traffic lights and find a park if you’re driving a car. We regularly do a 20 minute bicycle commute that used to take us 15 minutes by car. For the sake of 5 minutes, the bicycle commute provides us with free exercise and is definitely more fun than driving a car, which means we end up fitter and happier!
- Speed is way less important now. We used to try and ride everywhere as fast as we could, even when our cycling focus started changing from pure exercise to a transportation mode. Now our priorities have shifted, that couple of minutes we could save by pushing harder, are less important than arriving feeling fresh, happy and safe. Sometimes we still do go for it. There is something immensely satisfying about pedalling as hard as you can (with a tail wind if you’re lucky) and seeing the speedo climb. Mostly though, we just enjoy pedalling along at a reasonable but steady pace.
The more we ride instead of drive, the more we enjoy the experience. Contrary to an off-handed comment someone made to me recently, there are so many good things to come out of riding a bike…