#HealthyMe: Why do I like to ride my bike?

I like getting up very early in the morning to head to work, and rolling through the normally bustling neighborhoods that are so quiet, you can hear the rabbits rustling through the flower beds. I like the empty streets, and the hum of my tires on the pavement. I even enjoy trying to determine if that dark spot ahead is a blacktop patch, or still a pothole waiting to taco my front wheel.

I can smell the lilacs and the lavender, the evergreens and spruce, the freshly cut lawns, and yes, even that dead skunk on the side of the road! It’s a cacophony of scents for my senses. I enjoy rumbling over the rough roads leading into downtown, not having to share the streets with any other moving vehicles.

Downtown Grand Rapids is a completely different animal in the early morning, before it wakes from its nightly slumber. It is so cool to be pedaling downtown with no traffic, just sprinklers and the occasional dog walker to worry about. It’s a great time to ride.

I like the ride home in the afternoon. I enjoy picking out the route home – short if I have plans soon after work, a longer ride home if I don’t. What a decision!

Even getting caught behind a school bus belching blue smoke doesn’t bother me, I just try not to breathe too deeply. Traffic is a fact of life, and I realize I need to be much more careful and aware. I like passing cars as they stand still, waiting to make the light a quarter mile down. Bike lanes are a beautiful thing! I like the feel of the first cold squirt from my water bottle as I heat up. But I don’t like the last squirt, cause that means I’m out of water.

I like being done. Climbing off the bike, knowing that on this ride I conquered the hills and valleys and flats, knowing that the next ride may be different, that I may not defeat that hill, and even granny-gearing it can’t get me to the top.

Most of all – biking allows me to enjoy two of my favorite pastimes, eating cookies and drinking good beer, without feeling too much guilt.

Dr. Seuss might have said,

“Pedals go up, Pedals go down,
Pedals make the wheels go round and round.
Rolling here, rolling there,
A bicycle can take you anywhere.”

I’m pretty sure he didn’t, but he could have. And if you, or your friends, don’t mind a little stink, a bike can get you a reasonable distance in a reasonable time. And you feel great when you get there.

BCBSM senior analyst Paul Fitzgerald rides his bike to stay in shape and some mornings, to get to work. He lives in Grand Rapids Township and is set to embark this Saturday on the two-day, 70-mile roundtrip Michigander bike ride from Farwell to Reed City on the Pere Marquette State Trail. We’ll share pictures from Paul’s trip when he gets back. 

Photo credit:  LadyDragonflyCC – >;<


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