Friday, June 11, 2010
The wind blows across your face, sunshine warms you, people standing by the road look you in the eyes and say hello, when you reach your destination you feel like you have accomplished something, and you don't feel obligated to go to the fitness center after work to get some exercise – that was my experience biking to work yesterday in honor of Bike Walk Week. This type of experience doesn’t just have to happen once a year in honor of a special week, it can happen anytime you leave your car at home and take an opportunity to spend some time outside, using the ultimate clean energy machine – our own bodies – to get to work.
There a several reasons I don’t use this energy source every day. The biggest is the time it takes me to make my commute this way, an hour and forty-five minutes or so to cover the 23-mile trip. The other is the weather, when the temperature drops below 40 degrees, or when it snows or rains, the bike commute brings on some less pleasurable experiences. These obstacles can be overcome through planning - by finding a place to live closer to work, or to design our communities to locate the places we work near the places we live, and through dressing for the weather.
So the once or twice a week I decide to give up the bus for the bike, I am reminded what a future might be like when we design our communities for people, and not for cars. That will be a future where we won’t hear another days worth of news filled with stories on the consequences of failed oil wells contaminating our oceans, the latest death tolls from wars fought to secure oil supplies, or people killed in car accidents on highways filled with traffic. These humane powered commutes give me hope for our future.