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Why do you ride?

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Why do you ride?

Old 05-25-10, 01:28 PM
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Newspaperguy
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Why do you ride?

What's your motivation? Why do you ride a bike? Is it for health and fitness reasons, economic factors, concerns about the environment or something else?

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Old 05-25-10, 04:29 PM
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I started riding to lose weight, 2 or 3 miles at a time. Eventually, I reached a couple goals of losing 100 pounds and riding 100 miles. Then I got into brevet riding and found new goals. I'm hoping to ride PBP 2011 (1200k).

Commuting and utility cycling are ways to squeeze in training time, stay commited and learn to deal with the elements. Bonus-not paying for gas and insurance and such allows cash for bike bling. Double bonus-I enjoy all the miles.
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Old 05-25-10, 05:01 PM
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I grew up in a tiny village, 5 miles from the nearest small town. A bicycle was my first taste of freedom (and I still remember the euphoria when the stabilisers came off when I was 4).

I got a car soon after I turned 17, and fun as it was to be able to go further, faster, the cost and the responsibility weighed me down. Finally a couple of years ago I sold my car, payed off a couple of loans, and felt much better for it. I didn't realise quite how guilty I had been feeling dragging round a tonne of steel and plastic, burning fuel for no good reason.

I rediscovered the freedom of the bicycle, and learnt to love the opportunities for sleep, reading, and quiet reflection afforded by busses and trains - and I have the high moral ground, the view from here is fantastic.
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Old 05-25-10, 05:11 PM
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As a child I started because it was fun and faster than walking or running. As an adult I rode for recreation only.

A few years ago I began walking to the closest grocery store or using my Xootr. My old car died and I couldn't bear to spend so much money on a new or used one. I bought a motorcycle. It was a blast. Eventually I got into motor scooters and found them even more fun than the larger motorcycle even though they were comparatively slow.

I got into recumbents and felt they were more comfortable than conventional bicycles and started riding longer distances around town. That got me started using them for errands instead of doing errands during recreational rides. That led to dumping the car totally and using bicycles or my motorized bicycle. Every time I buy gas for my moped in my one and a half gallon tank I cringe at the price and imagine if I owned a car.

My impetus for riding beyond recreation started as environmental and has turned into thrift.
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Old 05-25-10, 05:43 PM
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I'm a lifelong environmentalist, so I always felt stupid for driving a car. I didn't mind saving money by not having a car either. Then I started walking for cardiac rehab, and realized I would have more time for walking if I commuted by foot. Then it dawned on me that riding a bike would be good exercise, and a little faster than walking. After riding a while, I came to love it more than almost anything else I do with my time.

So I guess I'm an "all of the above." For me personally, in my situation. nothing else makes as much sense s a bike, although I do supplement with other modes of travel.
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Old 05-25-10, 06:33 PM
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Why do I ride?

I can save money because I don't have to spend a lot on fuel or maintenance for a car. (Bike maintenance is quite cheap compared to car maintenance.) I'm naturally quite frugal so any way of saving money will interest me. There's something special about watching my savings account growing. But that's not the primary reason why I ride. It's just a nice fringe benefit.

I like the idea of green transportation and the bike is one of the greenest forms of transportation available. My carbon footprint, or at least the transportation portion of my carbon footprint, is much smaller than if I used a car instead of a bike. Being green is great. But that's not the reason I ride either.

I work at a desk so I need a physical component in my life. Cycling fits that need. Even on the lightest days, I'm logging a few kilometres, which helps me keep active. And when I tour, I know I'm able to enjoy a vacation with incredible fitness benefits. I want to stay fit and I want to live a long life. But that's not why I ride.

Some enjoy the thrill of competition, of racing. My only competition is myself. And this year, I've been riding at least three or four kilometres an hour faster than last year. On a longer ride a week ago, I was averaging a faster speed than when I was in my mid-20s. And I wasn't pushing myself. But I have no aspirations of racing.

Touring is a lot of fun and I've got a few trips planned for this year. I live in mountainous country and the views are spectacular in every direction. The hills are challenging but so rewarding when I reach the summit. But the tours only make up one segment of my riding. Cycle touring isn't the sole reason I ride.

The best answer is that I love to ride. I've enjoyed cycling all my life. Cycling gives me a freedom like no other. I notice the sights, sounds and smells more vividly and I feel as if I'm most alive when I'm on my bike. And there's a spiritual dimension as well. When I ride, I feel the presence of God. Nothing can beat that.
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Old 05-25-10, 06:42 PM
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A number of reasons. I took my first bike ride in 30 years in 2005. I was addicted after the first ride.

It also fitted into my personal/political/social beliefs that I should consume fewer petroleum products and saved money and kept me somewhat fit... yada yada...

Nowadays I just do it because... well... I'm still addicted.
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Old 05-25-10, 07:25 PM
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Let's see... why did I start riding my bike?

I loved riding my bike as a kid but once I grew out of it I wasn't able to afford a new one. Then about a quarter of a century later, after a car-free life, I completely despised travelling on crowded public transit after working a crummy day with the public. I needed to get away from the public for a little while each and bike riding seemed the perfect fit. It also meant my physical fitness level has gone from being unable to walk up a flight of stairs to riding 20 miles in a day and still being cheerful.

I also like how much money I've saved giving up my monthly Metropass. Granted, my bike addiction means I spend money on gear, clothes, and magazines but those are happy purchases. My Metropass purchase included standing in long lines with other angry, disgruntled commuters who recognized that the $100+ pass meant sitting and standing in crowded smelly buses and trains with lots of other cranky, cranky people.

And I like to go fast downhill!

It also impresses people. They see my tubby butt on my bike hammering up a hill and quite a few of them cheer me on. I'm hoping somewhere along the cheer trail somebody else sees me riding and thinks to her or himself "hey, I bet I can do that too!".
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Old 05-25-10, 11:49 PM
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All of the above plus I wouldn't be able to pay my mortgage if I drove a car.. I rent when I really need on for long distances or hauling something extra heavy or awkward...
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Old 05-26-10, 12:27 AM
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A lot of people see me riding, but too often, they try to guess why I'm on my bike. I hear things like, "You must be saving a lot of money" or "It's good exercise" quite a lot. Both true, but I'd like to hear more people say it looks like fun.
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Old 05-26-10, 12:57 AM
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It's fun, so I ride, that's about it.
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Old 05-26-10, 01:51 AM
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Originally Posted by Newspaperguy View Post
A lot of people see me riding, but too often, they try to guess why I'm on my bike. I hear things like, "You must be saving a lot of money" or "It's good exercise" quite a lot. Both true, but I'd like to hear more people say it looks like fun.
That's what they say to you directly. Unless you're decked out like Lance, chances are they think otherwise, or say something else behind your back, like: jobless, homeless, lost license to DUI.

I doubt most of them assume you made a choice to ride, but you could afford and legally drive a car. When I did have a car, many of my coworkers assumed I did not. "You rode 15 miles in the rain and you have a car!?!"
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Old 05-26-10, 02:01 AM
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Exercise, weight-loss, stress-relief, anger-management, fuel and insurance savings, respect from people who understand the lifestyle (including other cyclists; Freds and Janes included ) fresh air, spiritual isolation, and most importantly, because I LOVE to ride
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Old 05-26-10, 02:29 AM
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To minimize and maintain a simple life...
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Old 05-26-10, 03:45 AM
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1. A car would be an unnecessary expense.
2. It's much more fun to ride a bike than drive a car.
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Old 05-26-10, 10:53 AM
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Originally Posted by Newspaperguy View Post
Why do you ride a bike?
Why not?
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Originally Posted by Bjforrestal View Post
I don't care if you are on a unicycle, as long as you're not using a motor to get places you get props from me. We're here to support each other. Share ideas, and motivate one another to actually keep doing it.
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Old 05-26-10, 11:00 AM
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Originally Posted by chewybrian View Post
That's what they say to you directly. Unless you're decked out like Lance, chances are they think otherwise, or say something else behind your back, like: jobless, homeless, lost license to DUI.

I doubt most of them assume you made a choice to ride, but you could afford and legally drive a car. When I did have a car, many of my coworkers assumed I did not. "You rode 15 miles in the rain and you have a car!?!"
I'm fairly well known here because of my role at the newspaper. (I'm now the only full-time person in the newsroom.) People have figured out I'm not jobless or homeless and they have seen me in a car just often enough to know I have a license. But years ago, when I lived in a small town in Manitoba, a few people though I was on a bike because of an impaired driving conviction. I respected the ones who came out and asked me much more than the ones who jumped to conclusions.
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Old 05-26-10, 11:37 AM
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It's usually more convenient. It's a great way to experience places far and near. (Have ridden across the country. e.g.). It's fun. It doesn't pollute the air or water. It's allows me to eat more. And while I guess I save money (The car is 15 1/2 years old, has fewer than 102,000 miles on it, much of which were put on by my mom who I once shared it with, and still gets 30 mpg on the highway), that's not a motivating factor unless you are talking the cost of parking somewhere.
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Old 05-26-10, 11:59 AM
  #19  
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The bike gives me the freedom to move around without having to rely on someone else's doing their job right, without getting stuck in traffic, on a subway station, in a train underground, etc. I can detour at will and go almost everywhere regardless of the traffic or road conditions. I can go places where cars can't go, I can stop where cars can't stop. It gives me the feeling of freedom and control. The bike is reliable, it's a relatively simple piece of machinery that I can repair myself most of the time, I can predict failures more than I can do with a car. Even if it malfunctions it's most of the time rideable to some degree as opposed to dead 2 tons of steel that won't go anywhere without a tow truck. In the worst case I can walk it it, carry it, take it on a train. I can shift between being a cyclist an being a pedestrian in a few seconds.

It improves my mental and physical health significantly.

It's fun too.

Don't get me wrong, I like my minivan, but I find myself driving it less and less, only for weekend getaways and shopping.

Although, when I went camping last weekend I got there by car in just over 2 hours. It would take me a day and half, or even two days, to get there by bike. It was about 140-150 miles, hilly. If I had more free time and money I'd ride the bike. But often it's not possible considering how short the weekends are, and.... my wife can't ride that far.

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Old 05-26-10, 12:45 PM
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Originally Posted by chewybrian View Post
That's what they say to you directly. Unless you're decked out like Lance, chances are they think otherwise, or say something else behind your back, like: jobless, homeless, lost license to DUI.

I doubt most of them assume you made a choice to ride, but you could afford and legally drive a car. When I did have a car, many of my coworkers assumed I did not. "You rode 15 miles in the rain and you have a car!?!"
Toronto has a fair sized cycling commuting that ranges from riding BSO from Canadian Tire or Walmart to Lance Armstrong types riding space age materials that way less than a pencil to single speed Amsterdam style bikes -- and everybody wearing an even wider range of clothing. No one assumes I'm broke, just that I have a bike and probably live downtown and it's too crazy traffic wise to drive a km to pick up milk when parking can cost $2-15. I'm lucky that way.

It's tougher to be car free the further you need to drive to amenities. I made a choice to not live in the suburbs because I really don't want a car. I can't drive and some drivers are crazy dangerous and careless, and that does nothing to encourage me to a driving school to learn. It helped that my mother didn't drive and we travelled everywhere by public transit while growing up. My bike rides give me a lot of happiness and a comfort that I can rely on my own steam rather than on the capricious nature of public transit maintenance.
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Old 05-27-10, 07:35 AM
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I feel better, I get exercise without taking personal or family time to do it, I use commuting time. I enjoy it most days, plus there is the satisfaction of knowing I spent no money and used no gas.
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Old 05-27-10, 12:36 PM
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Where I live it's easier to park a bike than a car and cheaper. Most of the parking in my town is pay parking. A bike can be parked anywhere for free. Most of the business in my town provide bike racks for customers.

I also ride because it's better for the environment plus saves wear and tear on my car. The added benefit of cycling is that I get a little bit of exercise while riding to work or to the store. I'm a runner and cycling is good cross-training.
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Old 05-27-10, 06:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Newspaperguy View Post
What's your motivation? Why do you ride a bike? Is it for health and fitness reasons, economic factors, concerns about the environment or something else?
I mainly ride for enjoyment, but the other benefits are stress relief, ease of moving around and seeing things you never would from behind the bugs. Some of it is definitely environmental concern, we are supposed to be stewards of our planet, not destroyers. I honestly thin we are headed for a huge showdown and figure that regardless of what happens economically by having a bicycle and being in shape to ride it I will be way ahead of the game.

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Old 05-27-10, 09:05 PM
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Originally Posted by wahoonc View Post
I mainly ride for enjoyment, but the other benefits are stress relief, ease of moving around and seeing things you never would from behind the bugs. Some of it is definitely environmental concern, we are supposed to be stewards of our planet, not destroyers. I honestly thin we are headed for a huge showdown and figure that regardless of what happens economically by having a bicycle and being in shape to ride it I will be way ahead of the game.

Aaron
Exactly... it's like being really cautious and forward-looking about the future of civilization and the planet, while at the same time doing something totally fun...

Isn't it great that driving an SUV isn't as enjoyable as a ride on a Trek? It's like life is sparing us another major irony.
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Old 06-09-10, 12:42 PM
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Because I'm too flippin' lazy to walk.
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