There are some things in life that give you that extra edge — the play between ease and exhilaration that leaves you feeling balanced and inspired. They are the pieces of your day that not only keep you going, but boost you to your best self.
Some find solace and spirit by rising with the sun, or staying awake late into the quiet of the night. There are pieces of perfection found in jumping into a cool lake or taking a hot shower, reading a book or walking with a friend. But on these warm spring days, what truly makes me feel alive is hopping on my bike — whether I’m pedaling to work or hitting the trails.
The beauty of conscious commuting
The cadence of pedals gives me the freedom and focus to be fully present, while traveling and once arrived. I am lucky enough to live in a place that provides an abundance of bike trails, lanes and underpasses — I feel like they are gifts of health and sanity to my mind and body. I ride to get places, yet every patch of pavement and rocky path is a place worth being. When you use your legs to get somewhere, you have no choice but to feel it.
Summer is a beautiful time to bike. The sunshine and shade complement each other perfectly — mosaics of leaves shimmer as you glide beneath rich green foliage, through pockets of heat and hints of cool breezes.
On days of rain, the thirsty paths exhale a musky steam that is as distinct as the smell of moist grass or wet soil. A light jacket will never shield you from the wonders that make your ride more than just a means of getting somewhere — with every sense in overdrive, you may come to find that you have already arrived.
Make the most out of movement
Not everyone has the luxury, opportunity or motivation to commute solely by bike. There are days when I would rather sit behind a wheel and indulge in morning music and coffee on my way to work. But the days when I choose to soak up sun and start a good sweat, the days when I ride past buzzing bakeries and emerald pastures, those are always the best days.
If you have the opportunity to bike to work, you should try it. If you don’t, riding to hiking trails, the park, restaurants, the beach, coffee shops, yoga class or barbecues is a great way to enjoy every piece of the journey.
Pick days to run errands by bike — maybe when you know you will be able to fit everything in your backpack. (Gardening errands and toilet paper runs may need to wait for your roomy car trunk, but you will be surprised how much you can carry on your back!) Imagine the joy you will feel this summer if you give your car a rest and get your legs moving.
Stay safe and street savvy
Make sure you always wear a helmet and safe shoes while riding — you don’t want to skin the front of your foot while wearing flip-flops, do you? Don’t forget to lock your bike up and be aware that individual parts can also be stolen, so it is smart to bring it inside your house or workplace when you can.
Bikes do require regular maintenance, and it is a rewarding challenge to be able to change your own flat or touch up your brakes. Most bikes shops have instructional sessions, but if not, you can always ask one of the mechanics to walk you through what you need to know. (They are bike masters and are usually thrilled to share their expertise.)
It may take some time and practice, but you will see that riding and caring for a bike may be your best way of maintaining balance and strength in mind, body and spirit.