Welcome to the blog of the Enough for Everyone program of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). By "just living" we mean both justice-based living and just simply living – freeing ourselves from the clutter of stuff so we can focus on living faithfully and living well. Join us in the exploration!
About the Author
Bryce Wiebe coordinates Enough for Everyone, a ministry of the Presbyterian Hunger Program. He loves slow food and is fascinated by the way things are made. He is excited to dive into experiments in simplicity with you. His sacred cow of consumption: kitchen gadgets.
Recently I started riding my bicycle to work again. I first started cycling several years ago when I inherited a bike from a friend who moved cross-country. I had been contemplating purchasing a bike anyway, so I was thrilled to get a good one, just my size, for free! I promptly had it serviced with a tune-up, bought a helmet and lock and some other gear, and started learning routes around town that felt safe and manageable. (Louisville isn't a particularly bike-friendly city, though efforts are being made to improve existing bike paths, build new ones and paint bike lanes onto streets that get new pavement.)
Then I had an accident, and it took a while to heal and re-gain my confidence. Just as I started riding again, a friend was killed while riding his bicycle, at a complicated intersection I traversed (and dreaded) every day on my way to work. That kept me off the bike even longer. I would ride occasionally, but only for recreation in parks. I was afraid to make cycling a primary mode of transportation, because doing so involved streets and cars, and I feared drivers who aren't educated or aware enough to share the road responsibly with cyclists. Recently I began reading about bike safety and learning laws and strategies, and sure enough, my readiness and confidence returned.
There are so many reasons I love riding my bike! First of all, it's just plain fun. Riding a bike was a simple, joyful part of childhood that meant speed and strength and freedom. I'm fortunate to have a strong, healthy body, and the abilities to pedal, balance and move quickly. I love to feel the wind and fresh air. I love to feel my muscles' strength as I use my own energy (rather than fossil fuels) to get where I need to go. I love the feel of adrenaline and blood pumping, of lungs and heart being challenged and growing stronger. I love the camaraderie with other cyclists as we pass each other on the path or road. In the morning I love the quiet time the ride affords me to start thinking about the day and mentally prepare; I arrive to work alert and ready for the day's challenges. In the afternoon I love the opportunity to pedal out any stress after a long day's work and process any difficult situations. I love the satisfaction of getting around on my own two feet, of getting to work and back completely free of cost (no gas or bus tickets needed). I love to ride through the park and along the creek. I love sleeping more soundly at night because I've had a good workout. I love it all.
Sure, it takes me longer to get to work (by about 15 minutes each way), but at the end of the day, I have already exercised and don't need to schedule that additional time. Sure, it takes a little extra preparation, as I must pack my work clothes for the day and change once I get to the office. But the benefits far outweigh the extra time spent allowing for--and doing--something I truly love.
Did you love riding a bike as a kid, too? Do you ride as an adult? What other activities strengthen you in body, mind and spirit?