I tensely gripped the handlebars as my dad pushed me through the street in front of the house. At a cousin’s birthday party, I had watched with envy as the older kids effortlessly rode around on their bicycles. I begged my father to remove the training wheels on my own bike all the way home; but almost as soon as he did, I was begging him to put them back on. The wonder and eagerness of riding on two-wheels had worn off and I would be just fine with the extra wheels. He wouldn’t take that though. So, there was no going back; if I wanted to ride ever again I was going to have to take on this frightening adventure.
If you know how to ride a bike, then you more than likely have a similar experience of your own. The purpose of the bicycle for many of us begins as a form of freedom and entertainment, and for some of us that is also where it ends.
I did not begin to use the bicycle as a form of transportation until I was a freshman in college, but even then the trips were fairly short. Although, it allowed me to get to class faster, at this point I still had not grasped the beauty of riding a bicycle as a means for transportation possibly because my commute was always on the campus sidewalks in union with the pedestrian traffic.
It wasn’t until I rode my bicycle for a lengthier trip to work from home that my entire outlook on bicycles, transportation, and adventure changed. It was a seven-mile round trip, not much, but a good start for a beginner. Yes, I was exhausted and sticky, but more than that I felt a great deal of accomplishment. The idea that I could travel through my own physical efforts had now been applied with great success. However, it wasn’t only the purpose of transportation that had been achieved, this bicycle ride also gave me the opportunity to look upon my community from a different and more appreciative angle. At my slow pace, I had the time to notice the beauty we often overlook. For the rides offer a deeper connection with Mother Nature that simply cannot be felt in a motor vehicle.
I don’t believe that commuting on a bicycle is something that you should feel you have to do, but I would hope that a desire might be ignited in order for you to fully understand the pleasures that it brings. For my part, I hope to slowly embed this newly found experience to see and explore beyond the old limitations that I had once established for myself.