Just Lazy

Other than on the iciest days, I bike year-round in Waterloo. When I arrive at work or a meeting, helmet in hand, people look at me with a combination of admiration and concern for my mental health.
What they don’t realize is that I bike because I’m lazy. Seriously.
We have one car – mostly by choice. The alternative to biking for me is often walking. And you see, I’m too lazy to do so. I find once you get used to biking in the spring-summer-fall months, it’s really hard to give it up. Biking is probably four or five times faster than walking. 

Lazy Cycling - picture by Arria Belli (Own work)
Plus sometimes walking hurts.Three years ago, I herniated a disc in my lower back. While most people with disc problems have trouble sitting, I find my back rebels when I walk on hard pavement too long or sleep on my back. Biking? No problem.
Sometimes in Waterloo, biking is as fast as driving. A few weeks ago, I had an evening meeting in the uptown. Normally I would bike but it had been a long day so my husband suggested I take the car. It probably shaved ten minutes off my journey. What did I do with those ten minutes, you ask. I spent them driving around looking for parking. I love being able to disembark from my bike in front of various stores and simply locking my bike up, rather than finding an elusive spot and then trudging to the places I want to visit.
Biking also allows me to accomplish two things at once: a bit of exercise and a bit of transportation. I also find biking is a far more sociable activity than driving. I’m not locked away behind glass in my own private bubble – I’m in the neighbourhood, among the stores. I can stop on a dime to say hi – and I do.
I like the awareness of my physical environment too. (OK, less on the smog days and not when there’s too much of a windchill.) It reminds me of when we first began buying vegetables from a CSA and it started to dawn on us that there was a connection between the buckets of rain that had fallen each day and the boxes of lettuce and spinach we received. Biking connects me to the world in a real way.
My hesitation in blogging here is that I’m not a bike geek. I don’t have gadgets. I don’t even use all my gears. I sling grocery bags on my handlebars, sometimes remember to put something around my leg so I don’t shred my pants, and only recently braved replacing a faulty chain. But, maybe that’s a good thing too. Maybe it’s good to recognize that biking can be done enthusiastically by regular people. I loved being in Italy two years ago and seeing people of every age using their bikes to negotiate medieval streets. I love noticing here at home that there are more and more people who might technically be able to afford to drive, but who choose otherwise.
Lazy people like me.

5 thoughts on “Just Lazy

  1. Great post Susan. I really noticed those great things when I started biking more often too. Especially the connection to the world around me. The car is like a hermetic seal that you wear everywhere. Every other mode puts you in touch with the people around you.

    At first I thought I was going to have to make time allowances to accommodate my riding, but that’s not the case either. It takes me just as long to drive as to bike to work and many other places too if you factor in the car extras like parking. One thing I’m definitely looking forward to is heading out on my bike while the snow plowed ice still sits in the bottom of my driveway.

    I also think that we need to keep in mind that we are building this blog for people who might bike someday, not for those who already do. The gadget stuff is not important. I sometimes forget. Anyway we have enough bike geeks around already.

  2. Laziness is the reason I started cycling in the first place. I was far too lazy to go out and get my drivers license and I tired of walking and taking the bus everywhere so I started to ride a bike.

    Now I do it because it’s enjoyable and quick.

    People at the grocery store I frequent use to think I was crazy riding there during a snow storm. Now they just joke around asking if I have my winter tires on.
    Same with most stores here now. Cycling in the winter is just a common thing. Some still get annoyed, but everyone seems to respect you and give you space.

    Of course living in St. Catharines has one major advantage. Milder winters with less snow then the rest of Ontario.

    I have an 18-speed and use only 4 gears. Many times I’ve been tempted to switch to my 5-speed bike.
    I do have some gadgets/toys on my bike now. For the past few months I’ve had a mirror on my bike. I love it only because it really helps to see what’s coming up from behind.
    I also have one of those bike computers. Odometer/speedometer. I use to use it quite often, now I find it a pain and will only use it on long rides/tours of the city.

  3. Thanks for the comments, guys. I did have a mirror on the bike that got stolen from my garage, but that’s another story.

  4. “I’m lazy. But it’s the lazy people who invented the wheel and the bicycle because they didn’t like walking or carrying things.”
    Lech Walesa

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