Bike Resolutions

[[image:resolution_mini.jpg::inline:1]]Each January we put the holiday decorations back in the attic, and after the fudged induced stomachache subsides – thoughts turn to resolutions.

Published January 14, 2008 by C.I.C.L.E.
By David Pulsipher :: Photo Credit: David Pulsipher

[[image:resolution.jpg::inline:1]]Each January we put the holiday decorations back in the attic, and after the fudged induced stomachache subsides – thoughts turn to resolutions.  It seems that as humans we are united by many common desires/needs:  food, shelter, companionship, and lurking somewhere behind the fundamental needs is that little Jiminy Cricket telling us to make new years resolutions.  The beginning of the year is a new opportunity, a fresh start.  It’s exciting.  Doesn’t it also seem like the older you get the more persistent your new years resolutions revolve around losing weight/getting in shape, spending less money, simplifying your life, etc?

For those of you (like me) who made goals concerning simplifying your life, are you feeling overwhelmed, feeling like you bit off more than you could chew?  Or are you feeling under-whelmed/nauseated at the possibility of not keeping your resolutions (again).

I’ve got good news for you; change is easier than you think.  The great news, it’s even a lot more fun than you planned as well.  It will probably come as no surprise to you that a great way to start changing your life and keeping some of your resolutions can start with your bike.

Getting in Shape – the most common resolution (and the heart of every gym’s New Years marketing campaign).  I think I read/heard by those in “the biz” that membership and attendance at gyms and clubs spikes in January and February, but by the end of February attendance is back down to the regular numbers.

A bicycle can be a great tool for getting in shape.  What’s more, it’s totally flexible to the type of fitness/riding you want to do. Whether you want to deck yourself in form-fitting lycra and scream around town like a banshee, throw a bag over your shoulder/roll up a pant leg on your way to work, or cruise around town on a hand me down – biking is a great way to improve your cardiovascular health and burn calories.  Getting in shape can be a struggle for many, but replacing car trips with your bicycle is a great place to start.

Spend Less Money. If only our salaries increased at the rate gas does.  If Benjamin Franklin were alive today, surely he’d add that the third certainty to life (in addition to death and taxes) is that gas prices will rise.  Many transportation studies conclude that nearly 40% of trips are less than 2 miles from the home, and that 60% of trips are less than 5 miles.  If you want to spend less money – start taking your bike to the grocery store, or to rent videos, or go catch dinner.  In addition to saving gas money, you also save on parking costs. Before you know it, you’ll have more money in the bank and your newly toned bottom will thank you.

Simplify your life.  I know it sounds a little abstract and maybe even a little bohemian, but amidst the busy life of bills, relationships, work, school, SITTING IN TRAFFIC, life sometimes feels too messy.  May I suggest that your bike is a great way to clear out some of the cobwebs and clutter in your life?  As you ride your bike, you are exposed to your neighborhood and community in ways that you had never before seen.  You are able to smell restaurants, hear lawnmowers, you feel the wind, your legs get a little tired, and yes, you just might sweat a little.

Simplicity comes when you don’t have to hunt for parking, scouring the streets like a jackal ready to pounce on its prey, getting frustrated and stressed out that you won’t find a spot or that jerk just cut you off.  Peace of mind comes when you park your bike literally feet from your destination.  Satisfaction comes when someone asks you, “hey, did you ride your bike here” and you try not to gloat as they glare at you with dagger-like-envy.

So you’ve made your resolutions this year, and what are you going to do with them?  Are you ready to take the next step?  Maybe this will be the year that you start doing your short errands by bike. Maybe this year you’ll start commuting to work.  Maybe this year you’ll train and ride that big race.  Whatever your goal, we want to help you.

As a part of our Urban Expeditions series, C.I.C.L.E. is putting on a group ride titled Green Resolutions on Saturday, January 26th at 10:00 am.  It will be an informative and leisurely paced ride with stops designed to educate/motivate you toward living a cleaner, happier, healthier year.

2008 is going to be a great year. Like many of the presidential candidates are promising, “change” is in the air.  If you take your bike, not only will you be making that change – you’ll be able to see the change too.

>>We would like to hear how you are planning to use your bike to achieve this year’s resolutions.  Success or setbacks, we want to hear about them.  Send your stories to david (at) cicle.org.  

David is a bicycle commuter living in West LA, but originally from Denver. He is also pursuing a masters degree in urban planning from UCLA.