Bikes change lives
Around July 2009, I got a new job that was far enough from my home that I decided to start taking the train to get there. There were handy shuttle buses, but if the train was late for some reason or I missed my usual train altogether, I would miss the shuttle bus and end up having to wait up to 40 minutes for the next one. Of course, this was convenient, but also inflexible since I absolutely had to make it to the shuttle bus in order to get to and from work on time.
Then I decided to start taking my bike on the train with me. The main reason was because I didn’t like being a slave to the shuttle buses, but the secondary reason was that I didn’t like sitting at my desk for 8 hours a day and then being too tired to get a run in when I got home. Sure, I could have gotten up really early and gone running, but let’s face it, I was just going to make excuses and get lazy when the short days of winter arrived. Biking to work seemed like a much better solution, and it was a lot faster getting to/from the train station at home since I no longer had to walk the 1.5 miles.
When I started another job in a different town, I also decided to get to/from work by bike. I think it was at this point that I realised that I would be a serious cranky-pants if I didn’t get my daily exercise in, so I pretty much had to bike to work. Instead of taking the train to the stop that is 2 miles from work, I get off 4.5 miles away and bike a longer, safer route through a quiet residential area.
One of my co-workers then told me that he had been thinking about starting to bike commute, so to encourage this, we met at the train station closest to his house in the mornings and biked 4 miles together, doing the same thing at the end of the day too. After a couple of weeks, I set him loose to see if he would keep doing it on his own. I felt that if I was always picking him up in the mornings, it might become a dependent relationship; he needed to get his own butt in gear in order to stick with it.
A week or two passed and suddenly something magical happened: he started liking it.
It’s been a couple months now since he started biking on his own to work and he has since bought a bike that properly fit him and outfitted it with useful commuter gear like a rack and fenders. We occasionally discuss bikey gear and lament the rainy weather and aggressive drivers together. Biking brings people together, I tell ya.
Today he announced to me that he has officially lost 5 pounds since cycling and this made me feel really proud of him. I know 5 pounds really isn’t much weight when you think about it, but it’s a big deal when you think that this could be the start of a healthier lifestyle. Baby steps, people. He does have some health issues that could possibly disappear if he kept up the weight loss and healthy habits, so it would be pretty awesome if biking was how he got healthy.
Bikes can change lives. If you are a member of the Cult of Bike, you probably know exactly what I’m talking about.