When I decided that I wanted to be healthier and implement more exercise into my daily life, buying a road bike seemed to be a good choice. As it turns out, my purchase of a road bike has come with more joys and challenges in equal measure than I could have anticipated. As I worked on transitioning my life into becoming a bike commuter, these are a few of the things I’ve learned:
Lesson 1: Exercise and Adventure on a Daily Basis is Immensely Rewarding
As soon as I started biking to work and to do chores, I quickly figured out the most important benefit: how FUN it can be! Not only am I getting good exercise on a nearly daily basis, I’m also having daily thrills and exhilarating adventure. If you’re feeling a bit bored with your life, biking can certainly add some excitement.
Lesson 2: Bikes Take Money, Maintenance, and Work
An extremely important thing I’ve learned is that bikes take work. A lot of work, in fact. A lot of money, too! Once you get past the initial purchase of a decent beginner bike (easily several hundred dollars, or several thousand if you want something more advanced), then comes repairs, part replacements, various equipment, plus general cleaning and maintenance which takes time and knowledge. Bikes are both expensive and time consuming to maintain properly, but if you have the money it’s a worthwhile investment.
If you’re anything like most of us, you’ll start buying a ton of extra things for your bike as well: headlights, bells, panniers, multiple helmets, clothes for biking comfortably such as padded shorts, clothes for biking in bad weather like rain pants and a rain jacket, special backpacks…I was also astounded at first to hear that some people had multiple road bikes for different seasons and weather conditions, but after owning one myself that doesn’t seem so far fetched.
Teach yourself how to clean and maintain your bike on your own! It takes time, but you’ll save money.
Lesson 3: Biking Becomes an Obsession That Makes You Happy
This one I wasn’t really expecting, but I’ve truly become obsessed with biking. I dream about biking. I originally wanted to just use my bike to commute, but now I want to go on bike rides all the time. Maybe getting up earlier for work is a drag sometimes, but biking through my city in the morning and seeing the world wake up is so worth it. Likewise, after a long day of work sometimes I would love to just drive or take the bus home, but I only have to remind myself of the immense satisfaction I know I’ll feel when I get home after biking myself to and from work. What a sense of accomplishment! It’s an addicting feeling. Boost your happiness and ride a bike!
Lesson 4: Biking Can Change the World
When I was first considering becoming a bike commuter, I did a fair amount of research on the benefits of biking. Besides the obvious (it’s good for your body), it’s also good for the planet. Yes, riding public transportation is also being environmentally conscious–but imagine a world where everybody started biking! Where everyone got healthy, enjoyed fresh air, and really looked at the world around them. What a world that would be.