I’ve always liked using my bicycle (the road bike with a seat for Kelly) for short trips, when time and distance allowed. More recently, the record high gas prices have inspired me to, well, first of all, put off optional driving, like a trip to the zoo or art museum, and secondly, to use my bicycle whenever possible on short trips. Honestly, I don’t really save all that much money using my bicycle instead of my car: according to the odometer on my bike, I average about 25 miles a week, which is the same as burning a gallon of gas with my fuel-efficient car. And while I do pat myself on the back for my environmentalist hygiene, I think my bike riding is more effective in building my thigh muscles than it is at keeping the air clean.
The reason I ride my bike so often these days is simply that I like doing it. It may not be as fast as a car, but on shorter distances, 2 miles and under, it’s almost as quick. I never have to worry about parking any more: if there isn’t a bike rack near my destination, I can lock my bicycle to a pole, or, at worst, to itself. I see all sorts of things that I would never see from my car, like the patriotic house covered in flags but set back too far from the street to be visible by a car; or the young girl sleeping under a blanket being a farmer’s booth I parked behind at the farmer’s market. And I enjoy the exercise as well. Over the last two weeks, I’ve ridden my bike almost every day, to a destination I’d normally take a car to. And most recently, I bicycled to the library, a distance I used to consider unfathomable, and on the way home, bought some groceries, which I had to put into a second rigged backpack. I felt so hardy and fit for doing that it didn’t matter that the ride took over an hour, and probably saved me only about $2. So in an odd sort of way, I am grateful for the spike in gas prices, because they inspired me to do more biking.