I definitely had a distaste, if not phobia, of water, all my life. Thanks to hiking I’ve jumped into six lakes, six more than I ever had before, this summer, and I want nothing more than to swim in cold water. Of course, I can’t swim more than five minutes without getting tired, and coldness makes that even worse. I’m still afraid of being far from shore, and had only 1 or 2 experiences on a watercraft, but cold, refreshing, wild, playful water-I love it. I love the beauty of surrounding to cold water and the tactile pleasure of walking on sand, and even the feeling of drying off afterwards.
I just found out it takes less than an hour to bike to the local beach. The difference between transit and biking within a city can be minuscule; in some cases biking is even faster. This is changing my life. Biking to useful places isn’t an option in my small town because school, even just groceries, are two towns over and there are only two bike racks per bus, and busses only every half an hour. A city where biking around is a viable option is becoming more and more clear to me why it’s so popular. Biking is far more relaxing than bus riding. Assuming you don’t regularly exercise like me, biking gives an option to those who aren’t athletically inclined to find a way to introduce exercise into daily life.
After lazy around in the intense 30 degree celcius weather, feeling absolutely fatigued from a lack of exercise and abundance of heat all week, I had to jump on my bike and catch the breeze. Instantly I could think again. It was only when I got back home that I found out, out of curiosity, that within 50 min I could bike to the beach, and I had already gone 3/4 of the way on my bike ride. Just that 1/4 more and I would find relief far better than any popsicle or ice cream.
Environment shapes us and the more I get out the more I see how environments have shaped others. Many move to be closer with their desired environments. Others grow up in non urban paradise, and are happy to stay rooted. If there is an option to see another world without having to move from your own, seize it. The bike is opening up so many options for me, and I’m so excited. I’m limited by my current laziness but I won’t have to if I change my environment. The streets in my town are small and flat but just an hour away there are things that are infinitely more wild, daring, and most of all, powerful motivators to change.
If I even went once a week, I’d find a way to slowly nudge my life away from relying on daring adventures that are above my level, to daily joy knowing that escape and play are attainable and free. And I didn’t even have to catch a bus to get to it.
(Currently heavy with bus phobia after bussing almost daily for 2 yrs)
PS Biking with 26 inch wheels and an adequately sized frame is infinitely better than biking with 24 inch wheels and a too small frame.
Edit: I never did bike to the beach, but I biked a similar distance within the city…