Photo by David Niddrie
Why I Love Riding to Work Mia Kohout
I have been a bike commuter off and on for about 7 years now.
I fall more in love with my ride to work every day. For me, it’s my time of greatest reflection, creativity, and revelation. It is also a time when I simply get to enjoy breathing fresh air, smelling springtime flowers, observing the glistening sun on the snow topped mountains, and feeling the wind blow through my hair as I swoosh down a big hill. My ride is a 20-minute meditation where my mind often wanders to the beach where I dream of spending future winters. I face an uphill climb on my way home from work that, by the time I have made it to the top, allows me to leave most of my stresses and frustrations from the day behind.
I also love interacting with fellow bike commuters on my ride. Unlike taking the train, where I go to great lengths to avoid eye contact with the person I am smashed up against, on my bike I gaze at the people riding toward me and often steal smiles and nods as I hum my way to work.
More often than not I will have a friendly conversation while stopped at a traffic light before I tootle along. These interactions make me feel like I’m a rolling billboard for upright, slower cycling. My Viva Juliette is a beautiful city bike and often gets complimented when I’m stopped at a red light. Only on my bicycle do I have moments where a gorgeous man will ride by, turn to me and say, “I really like your heels, they go really well with your bike.” I’m left with a slight pitter-patter in my stomach and a grin on my face as I continue on my way.
I am incredibly fortunate to live on a quiet residential bike route that leads me to within minutes of the Momentum Mag office. Within the past year, I have watched the number of riders grow and my route transform as a new protected bike lane has made my ride safer and much more enjoyable.
It has taken me some time to not feel guilty when I don’t ride to work. I believe that that this guilt can keep people fro riding in the first place because some believe that it is all or nothing when it comes to riding. is couldn’t be further from the truth. If it’s raining, particularly dark and cold, and especially when it is icy, I’ll park my bike and ride the train or use Car2Go. And sometimes, I just don’t feel like riding, so I don’t. But when I do ride, I rarely ever regret it.
Looking back on how I got started riding to work, it all began during a Bike to Work Week event in 2006. I got back on a bike for the first time since I was a teenager and it only took one trip for me to rediscover the complete joy and convenience of riding. And I firmly believe that if this can happen to me, it can happen for many others too.
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