There is something downright pleasant about riding a bicycle to work. After three days of my self-propelled commute to work this week, counting Tuesday's horrible decisions, I am hooked.
It feels great to be out in the open air so early in the morning. Movement gets your blood circulating, wakes you up, gives you a little bit of adrenaline. There is no nonsensical drone of morning talk-radio hosts, endlessly arguing about why the Buffalo Bills still suck despite a blowout victory over the Chiefs. (Surely it's because the Chiefs really are that bad.) There is no twenty-minute talk of politics and warfare around the world to put a damper on whatever good mood you were previously in. Instead, it is just a really gentle and genuinely nice way to start the day. Seeing dogs out for their morning walks, or the school buses full of kids looking like they clearly would rather be in bed, it is nice to just slow down and literally smell the roses.
I'm fortunate enough to live close to work. It takes the same amount of time for me to bike to work as it does to drive, after factoring in parking in the lot and the five- to seven-minute walk into the building. There really is no reason NOT to bike to work. This morning got me thinking about my habits, about convenience, and about the ramifications of always selecting what is convenient by habit. Getting in my car and zipping to work is convenient. It represents a half hour each day that I could easily spend getting a little bit of exercise and, more importantly, de-stressing and getting some fresh air. By changing my habit just a little bit, doing what isn't the most convenient thing makes a world of difference all day long.
There are other examples too, like taking the stairs instead of the elevator. Those extra couple of minutes of exercise go a long way to getting some blood moving and your heart pumping. It's just a matter of not taking the most convenient option. I guess that is what getting in shape and being fit really is. It's taking the time to bypass all of the modern conveniences that let us sit idle. It's about waking up on Saturdays to walk to the farmers market and pick up some fresh produce. It's about making changes in our daily routines that help us live healthier.
Along this theme, my brother David is riding his bike this weekend in support of Accion, a not-for-profit group that works to help make change directly in people's lives using things like micro-loans. Help him get to his goal; there's only two days left!