Two to three times a week, I bike in to work. Commuting is now one of the highlights of my day. Yes, you read that right. And no, I’m not exaggerating. It’s actually faster than taking the bus and I get to exercise, breathe fresh air, and have a little more control over my schedule. Also no one is coughing on me or breathing grumpy energy down my neck, I’m not contributing to GHG emissions, I can release some competitive energy by climbing hills and secretly racing other cyclists, and I even save a little money. It’s multi-tasking at its finest – and I am an avid supporter for the art of the multi-task.
Our office is in Downtown Vancouver and I grew up in a small farming community of 21,000, so the chaos of the city streets in rush hour will always remain foreign to me. People in cars are honking their horns, pedestrians are rushing around, ill-mannered cyclists are running lights and narrowly pass you without warning. Your senses are absolutely inundated. I’ve even fallen off my bike in the middle of an intersection as the lights changed colour (a courteous commuter even honked at me to hurry up and get up from in-front his car).
Yet, leaning into the chaos is refreshing for me. I get a sense of the world around me, I get to passively observe all the other people rushing about their day, and I get time to myself. Rather than putting my headphones in and ignoring my surroundings, I get to unplug and let the world around me sink in. This makes me feel so human, so in tune with myself, and I’m able to feel whatever I want- I don’t have to filter, I don’t have to say anything to anyone else. I guess it’s my version of meditation. I’m hyper-focused on safely getting from point A to point B, just me and my bike (whose name is Brodie Sattva, but that’s a story for another time). Weathering the rain or correcting a tire that’s spinning out has made me a more adaptable person.
Don’t get the wrong idea. Despite everything I just wrote, when my alarm goes off in the morning, I don’t always jump up with a smile on my face in anticipation of getting on my bike. I’m actually great at making up excuses to just take the bus. Here’s my secret tip though – lay out your clothes the night before (oh, and I would recommend investing in a great pannier). Otherwise, it’s easy to revert to a morning routine with the smallest number of steps possible.
From one cyclist to another, you secretly have my respect if you shout these three magic words: “on your left!” Hope to see you on the road.