Sunday, January 31, 2016

Lubbock on a Bike - Why I Ride

The bike is one of my two big pushes for this year. The Lubbock mayoral race is heating up, and a safer town for biking is an issue I want to push, so let's discuss why.

I am forty-seven years old and I am obese - machines, mirrors, and doctors tell me so. I also have high blood pressure - again with the machines and doctors. I am obese and have high blood pressure because I have made a lifetime of lazy choices in food and transportation. In an effort to reverse these problems, I started commuting to work on a bike.

I have lost (some) weight and my blood pressure is improving, and some other things have improved too. I am happier. I like my town better. I have less anger. I have more energy. I am even eating better.

But lately I have backslid. I have gained a little weight. I have less energy. I like people less. I have even gotten depressed. Me and cookies? We're tight again.

What happened? At the beginning of December I parked the bike. I allowed cold weather and holiday traffic to temporarily discourage me from riding. After the holidays a big snowstorm hit and cold weather prevailed. The bike gathered dust in the garage.

Life is better when I ride.

On a bigger scale...
...the bicycle has bigger virtues. Most of those virtues involve treading lightly. The opposite of treading lightly is having each of us hopping in a 4,000 pound gas-powered vehicle every time we have a small errand to run. The same lazy choices that made me fat and unhealthy have led us (collectively) to even bigger problems. Each time we choose a car over a bike we choose to damage the air we breathe and we actively promote the destruction of soil, water, and the ability for life to thrive. We have reached a point where we understand the damage we are doing, but we choose the short-term comfort of easy (and poor) choices. Petroleum consumption also encourages us to be unethical in our acquisition of more oil. We love cheap oil no matter who we buy it from or how much damage it does. Those of us who live near the oilfields see the unemployment we create by buying cheap middle-eastern oil. It is a vicious cycle that leads us all to wonder why our society is going to hell in a handbasket. Everybody grows more hopeless, then we jump in our cars, drive terribly, and make each other madder and more hopeless. (Personally, I would rather see us pursue homegrown renewable solar, wind, etc.)

A simple question - are you happier or less happy after your drive to work, school, etc.?

[I blog (Yes, I know, this is a Why I Ride post...) to keep myself on track for making healthier choices, both for myself and everyone around me. What I'd really love, as a human and a blogger, is a revolution of healthier choices for all.]

Why I ride? The decision to ride is a series of small but impactful choices: a less damaging commute, a happier life, better health, and a simple way to make life better for all. (By the way, I also like how much money I save by riding, but that's a topic for another post.)

May you find a way to make your own healthier choices, and may we see more people on a bike.