It is time to reflect on having cycled each and every day throughout the month of April. I have never done this before, certainly not at this time of year. Here are a few reflections on the experience in no particular order:
- I cycled EVERY day. I cycled in the rain, wind, cold, and warm of the spring sun. The weather was never a problem. I have good rain and wind gear and just made certain I always had it packed in my pannier. In fact, the volatile weather made the experience more exciting, and challenging.
- I commuted to the office, ran errands, went to the gym, frequented my favourite cafes for lunch, and visited the local library to work using their free internet. I found I actually preferred to be outside taking circuitous, lengthy routes home at the end of the day, stopping at my favourite cafe for a coffee, or sitting on a park bench to enjoy the sun (and whoever may be sitting next to me). The people I meet on park benches would make a good novel one day.
- I rode ALL 3 of my bikes – the Kuwahara, the Roberts, and the Garneau I trained on the Roberts on the weekends until I got the Garneau back on the rode with its new compact crankset.
- I rode my commuter bike more frequently. Every day there was an errand to run it seemed. On the weekends (and they are 3-4 days long), I trained on the road bikes for 50-75 kilometres. On those days, I would train in the morning, come home to change, and then get on the commuter to shop, go to the club for a steam, or visit with friends.
- The experiment was easier, and more enjoyable than I expected. I met a lot of new people, fellow cyclists, than ever before. I was surprised how many professional people in the city cycle regularly. I met a realtor that rides her bike all over the city for her appointments. You don’t see that very often.
- I was in a car only twice during the whole month. Once to transport my Garneau to a local hill to do repeat climbs. And, once to go for a hike with my kids. I would have met them there on my bike, but the day wasn’t arranged until I was already out on my bike in the opposite direction.
- I cycled the network of city cycling pathways. I usually do but learned of several new routes. These are either dedicated paved bike paths or traffic calmed streets that lace the city together. This makes cycling faster, safer, and more enjoyable than riding on the streets with the cars, truck, and buses.
- The experience has made me more a more determined and dedicated cyclist than ever. As long as I am able, I’ll be on a bike. Given the choice to use public transit, hop in the car, or cycle, I will chose to cycle no matter the weather, or how much of a hurry I may be in.
- I became even more sensitive to the beauty around me. The spring blossoms, the abundance of urban sculpture strategically scattered throughout the city, the late day shadows over English Bay … I had seen it all before but this time I stopped more often to take a photograph, or simply take it in.
- And, I discovered the richness of wifi-enabled cafes. Because I was outside more, and my office is virtual, I would work when and where it was most convenient. I would break my workday into parts. Part of the day in the office. Part of the day in a cafe, or the local library. There is a library (and cafe) sub-culture I never knew existed of people like me that need the internet but prefer not to work from a home office.
Ironically, May is Bike-to-Work month in Vancouver. I will bike to work but with a new found enthusiasm, and a modified schedule.