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I can remember a yellow banana seat being the distinguishing feature of one of my first bikes as a young girl. As I grew up, another adventure on a bike took me to the San Juan Islands up off the coast of Washington state, and then it was Jessica Fletcher (Angela Lansbury) in Murder, She Wrote that inspired my fascination for getting back on the bike again as an adult.
Tucked away in my garage I’ve had for the past five six years a sea foam green beach cruiser, and I must say I can’t help but smile each time I take a look at it. Taking a ride on it really does provoke one to smile without realizing it, as you feel transported back to childhood when a bike was the fastest mode of transportation you were legally able to use and no bills were your responsibility.
Even though summer is winding down, there are still many months of good weather to keep the car parked and utilize the option of riding a bike.
Here are a few more reasons to hop on and go for a ride:
A Bike Friendly World
In Denmark, 36 percent of the working and student population chooses biking as their main mode of transportation which has prompted the country to create 180 miles of bike paths and lanes and even traffic lights specifically for bikers (source). In my home state of Oregon, Portland is the only city in the nation to receive the League of American Bicyclists’ top rating as it sports more than 270 miles of street biking lanes, bike corrals, and other amenities to bikers. The world is catching on, and I think they might be on to something.
Tres en Vogue
With Bike City (Portland, Oregon) just a few hours away, New York City recently beginning its new Citi Bike public sharing program and being surrounded by bikers in Paris as they went about their daily business, it’s hard not to find a reason to hop on and enjoy the wind in your hair. More and more people are finding that biking isn’t just for fans of the race cycling culture. Wear a dress, wear heels, it doesn’t matter – you can still hop on a bike.
Not only is it somewhat liberating to leave the metal cage with four wheels behind, but it saves money and reduces carbon emissions (hey, it’s the little things, right?)
Another benefit is the exercise it provides for the legs, abs and rear. Can’t complain about that!
Make Yourself (and others) Smile
For those who have ridden a beach cruiser or classic vintage bike, you no doubt have noticed the smiles you put on passersby’s faces. But even better, is the smile you put on your own face. Sometimes we get caught up in the rapid pace of the day that we miss the changing of the leaves on the trees, the sound of the river as it rolls or the feel of the rustling wind rushing over your skin. By simply changing how you commute or go about your business for one day a week, you might be amazed at the positive effect it has on your mood and your mind.
Whether you choose to include it in your everyday routine or rent a bike to ride on your next vacation, there’s something truly simply luxurious about peddling along, a front basket full of your necessities for the day and an appreciation for taking things a little bit slower. Enjoy the ride, and perhaps I’ll see you on the road.
Sites for bike safety: