Adam Pieniazek blogs from Dorchester and helps consults businesses on their web strategy at The 42nd Estate. He enjoys bicycling around Boston and reminiscing about the greatest TV show of all time, Battlestar Galactica.
For over a year, I have not owned a car. Many people find it odd and think my transportation methods must be inconvenient. In reality, not owning a car has given me far greater independence than owning a box on four wheels ever did.
Bicycling is economical
When people discover this fact about my life, they near immediately recognize that there are benefits to riding a bicycle or taking the T. For one, there’s a clear economic advantage. Say goodbye to gas bills, insurance bills, maintenance costs, and the lost opportunity cost of wasting time sitting in traffic.
Sure, a bicycle has its own costs, but in comparison to the near fortune spent on car ownership, they’re nearly negligible. Of course, the T is not free, but I have some credits built up from previous jobs, and friends and family with monthly passes that are handed to me when they’re not in use. Even with the occasional out of pocket T ride, I save tons of money riding the T and my bike instead of driving.
But, that’s not why I rock the two wheeled, human powered pedaling machine.
Biking is green
Many people commend me for being green. They say riding my bicycle is great for the environment, and they often ponder that they’d love to bike too but can’t because they have kids, a long commute, an office job, are scared of cars, and many other excuses.
I often end up telling these people that it’s simply not that hard, scary, or impractical. It’s often faster, easier, and safer to ride a bicycle than a car. I can bypass traffic, park anywhere, and my health and reaction skills improve enough that any risks of getting hit by a car are offset by the gains. While, riding my bicycle and ditching the car is a net WIN for the environment (it’s not a 100% green, factories do produce these bikes), in the end, it’s not my primary motivation for biking either.
The bicycle: Giver of freedom, energy, and life
When my behind hits the seat and my feet step on the pedals, my mood immediately changes. A smile begins to emerge on my face. As my legs start rotating, a wave of energy comes over me. As the air hits my face and my senses awaken to the smells and sounds around me, I feel truly alive.
It’s a pure natural high that is sustainable and good for you. Sometimes it pushes me to pedal as fast as I can, sometimes it makes me sing and yell out (if you ever hear a biker fly by singing “aaahoooo werewolves in london”, that’s me) and sometimes it just puts a big wide grin on my face that must make me look partially insane to the walkers and drivers of the world.
The freedom to hop on my Shogun and pedal to anywhere, without concern of cost or traffic jams, is why I bike. There’s no other vehicle that comes close to putting your independence directly in your hands (and feet). You completely control where you go and when you get there.
As a writer (amongst other professions), a bike ride usually ends up invigorating me and lets me flesh out ideas. When I get home, my mind is clear and ready to focus. Even when going to social events, pedaling there leaves me filled with pure elated bliss. And when it’s time to go, there’s no worry about flagging a cab or waiting for the train or finding the parking spot, I hit the road and go on my way.
Other bicyclists around the city constantly repeat this mantra to me. Pedaling fills them with life and leaves them refreshed and ready to take on the challenges of the world. This feeling of independence and the energy of life is why I bike.
Tags: economics, environmentalism, freedom, shogun, single speed
Posted in advocacy, fun | 3 Comments »