Cycling

13 Jul
We hope you all enjoyed last weeks blog on Scootering! We’re continuing our theme of transportation and we welcome this week’s guest blogger Chris Richards to share his experience with cycling around Saskatoon!

Amsterdam the Bike City

Why do I bike? I started biking for three main reasons. First, it was much faster than the bus. Second, it was much cheaper than the bus. Third, I was inspired by friends that I admired. Throughout all of high school and my first years of University I rode the bus to school almost everyday. It was nice to never have to scrape windows and sometimes be able to read a book but it was also a long, winding, swaying, stopping, accelerating, crowded, loud, sometimes not on schedule experience. I marginally preferred it over driving but still wasn’t all that excited about it. I think mostly because the route was so long and winding.

Then in University my friends Levi and Chad joined Otesha’s cross Canada biking and education tour. All of a sudden they were constantly talking about biking and the environment. I was inspired. I bolted a rack on the back of my bike, strapped a milk crate on the top of that rack, tossed my engineering textbooks into the crate, and started heading off to school using pedal power instead of diesel power.

I quickly realized that not only was biking faster than taking the bus, I had more flexibility in when I left my house in the morning and more money in my pocket at the end of the month. Plus I felt I was a part of the ‘cool kids’ that proudly biked everyday, wind, rain or snow.

My friends from Otesha really inspired me, and others, to care more about the environment. As far as I knew, when it came to people in the engineering building, they were on the bleeding edge of environmentalism. All of a sudden I was very interested in the fuel economy of vehicles and the size of my environmental footprint based on my lifestyle decisions. I was a new me, staggering my showers, eating less meat, reading environmental books, buying things with less packaging, and biking in the winter.

Gradually my reasons for biking everyday have expanded to also include an appreciation of the health benefits of daily exercise. Throughout University I was so busy with classes that I hardly took any time to exercise. I was 100% focused on my brain and greatly neglected taking care of my body. My daily bike ride gave me a good solid 20 minute workout, especially after a fresh snow, and I think had a significant positive benefit on my health.

60 Benefits of Bike Commuting

Now I can hardly imagine life without regularly traveling by bike. I still drive more than I think I should but I plan on reducing my driving kilometres by getting a set of panniers and biking to the grocery store instead of driving all the time. I think a small change in the gear I have will make it that much easier to get over the mental roadblock I have when it comes to biking to get groceries. Speaking of groceries, I should also mention that while I am saving money on gas, my grocery bills have increased. 🙂

Another benefit of biking that I have gradually grown to appreciate is the pace compared to driving. There’s something about slowing down and appreciating your surroundings that just can’t be achieved in a car. In a car the buildings, the trees, the birds in the trees, and the people all just whiz by. Although if you’re not in cruising mode even a bike can be too fast sometimes. Lately I’ve increasingly been opting for a longer walk over a shorter bike ride.

For me, human powered transportation is where it’s at.

Chris Richards

City cycling is on the rise in many of Canada’s cities and we are looking for ways to make it safer and more enjoyable for all those who share the road. Find a Bike advocacy group near you and give suggestions of how to do this.

Saskatoon Cycles works to bring awareness and bike infrastructure to Saskatoon.

 

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