When we were kids, most of us had bikes. Sadly, it seems many of us ditched the bikes as accessories of our youth once we reached adulthood. Cars, busses and trams dominate the world of adults — but this is a mistake. As adults, we often use larger, less agile forms of transportation than our tasks require, and most of us have also forgotten what it's like to have fun.
I say it's time we examine our need — as adults — for a bit of spontaneous, two-wheeled, human-powered mechanical wonder! Here's why.
1. Save time and reduce stress while running your simplest errands
Is it really any faster to find your keys, negotiate your way through traffic, find a parking spot and walk across the huge parking lot to get that cough syrup than it would be to cruise seemlessly from your home to the bike rack at the entrance to the pharmacy? Even if you have children with you, use a bike trailer and entertain them so you don't have to listen to them argue about which songs to play in the car. Throw on a backpack and cycle with a smile on your face as you ponder your affairs instead of dealing with the stranger in front of you who doesn't seem to notice green lights.
2. We could all use more physical activity
Seriously. Most of us work in front of screens, pull screens out of our pockets and return home tired to sit in front of more screens. We often hear other parents say, "When I was a kid, we played all day with other kids," or, "Why do these kids demand to be entertained all the time?" Let me get a little confrontational and ask you this: "What are you doing as a parent that looks any different?" If we aren't being physically active and entertaining ourselves, we shouldn't expect anyone else to. Which brings us to the next point...
3. You are an example of behavior
Whether you like it or not, you are a living example. As a parent, child, uncle, aunt or member of society, your actions say more about you than anything else. It's not motivating to have a lazy boss tell you to work hard. Get out and ride your bike for fun, for training, for errands. Live a good example. Show others how to spend time in meaningful, fulfilling ways!
4. You need to clear your mind
Unlike driving in a line of other cars and waiting for lights, pushing your way down the streets on your bike provides a strong sense of control over your pace. Riding a bicycle forces you to concentrate on what you are doing. Driving a car these days is frighteningly automated. You can't have thousands of frantic thoughts on a bike. You live in the moment. If you're like me, you need those quiet, focused moments more often than car life affords you.
It's very cozy and safe in our homes and on our sofas. Too cozy and safe. As adults, we need to get off the couches, get outside and have a good time! Whether it's taking the kids to the park or hitting the town with friends, try using a bike to do it. You may even end up starting a bicycle gang.
Check out your local classifieds, get yourself a cheap old bike and go out to have fun! Your legs, lungs and kids will thank you for reaching back into your youth and becoming just a little bit more fun.