A Lifelong Commitment to the Bike
Do you have a lifelong commitment to the Bike? I received a comment to our 2013 “#LuckyYear” post from Derrick Fogle who explained his “lifelong commitment”. I liked the sound of it and immediately asked if he’d be interested in supplying a guest post on the subject. He jumped at my suggestion, and I’m pleased to bring you his article on “A Lifelong Commitment to the Bike”.
A Lifelong Commitment to the Bike
From the very first time I ever realized my dad had “let go,” and I was riding a bike on my own, I loved it.
I loved the mechanics: pedals, chain, gears, rotation, balance. I loved the feeling: wind in my face, going farther and faster on my own power than ever before. I loved what it meant to me: Freedom. It was love at first bike.
It wasn’t a commitment, at first. It was just love, and convenience. My parents just wanted to get me to school. I loved riding my bike, and I loved taking the longest ways home, exploring the world on my own.
As a teen, like almost anyone, I wanted a license, and a car. I still loved riding, but thought a car would give me even more speed, power, and freedom. At 16, I got my license, and had a 6-month love affair: with speeding tickets, and an accident. Poof! My license was gone.
My bike, my first love, was patiently waiting. I mentally slipped a ring around that brake handle: I made my commitment. It was partly for self-preservation: It didn’t matter how far or fast I rode my bike, the cops didn’t care. And I loved riding.
I blissfully rode throughout college; spent summers riding the mountains in Colorado. But then came jobs, and pressure to get a car. Every time I did, and started driving, it was a disaster. Speeding tickets. Road rage. I was a danger to myself, and everyone else. I changed jobs, chose housing, whatever I had to do, to honor my commitment to ride.
Next came an awareness of the environment, global warming, and “wars for oil.” My wife changed jobs too, we ditched her car, and lived in KC for several years without one. I also read the studies about health: staying active keeps you healthy, improves quality of life, especially in the later years. These were just more reasons to commit to what I loved: riding a bike.
The wheels kept spinning, the years rolled by, and the miles added up. From -20 to 110 (F); snow, rain, whatever. I rode. I rode for transportation, but I also rode for pleasure. That bicycle was still my freedom, and I still loved it.
Children brought cars back into my life, and sometimes I got lazy, sloppy, and drove when I didn’t need to. But it never lasted long. Stuck in a car, stuck in traffic, I became a monster. The pedals, the wheels, my own power, and wind in my hair always lured me back, like a sweet lover.
Today, I own cars, and I drive cars, but mostly just for utility. I still ride to work and back every day. I still love it, believe it’s more important than ever.
Today, I brag about the results of my lifetime commitment to cycling: Over a quarter million miles, over 150,000 being direct “car displacement” miles. I’ve not burned over 10,000 gallons of gasoline, not emitted over 20 tons of carbon, saved myself about $100,000 and who know how many speeding tickets. I’m still incredibly active, incredibly healthy. I spend time outdoors, using my own body, seeing nature, not traffic.
Yes, I talk about the benefits of my lifelong commitment to cycling: to me, to the environment, to future generations. But to be honest, none of those are really why I’m committed to riding my bike.
There’s only one real reason: I just love to ride my bike!
Okay, so who else is with Derrick? Who’s made the lifelong commitment to riding a bicycle?