Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The Commute Mode is the Mood, and My Bicycle Mood is Joy

The mode is the mood

My bicycle commute is a joy ride, every day.

Thinking about how my bicycle commute never feels like a mere transition from home to work, work to home, to be gotten through as quickly/shortly as possible, as dead time, as empty hours of my life I will never get back again, like my car commute typically felt. 

Memories of my former car commute: aggravating, trivial, forgettable, confined, stressful, isolated, dehumanizing to drive through cement auto troughs channeled in with thousands of other autos, often crawling with no way out. Angry about how the effing oil companies were ripping me off as they were forced to use snow shovels to dig their way out from under the mountains of cash from their latest profits. Those are some of the feelings I recall. I'm sure that it would be accurate to state that most anyone would want to minimize the time and distance spent feeling like that. Beyond a certain length, well, you do what you need to do, but if you drive an hour each way, in heavy traffic, it's going to take it's toll, and you may even have to pay a toll. Car road mode is tense and stressful.

Thinking about my weekend recreational bike rides, on the other hand. My joy rides. I usually choose a destination, sometimes more approximate or general than others, and an approximate route, and just ride. I find myself getting distracted by off-route attractions, and ride wherever the ride takes me. However long it lasts. Shorter is OK. Longer is great. Meander and be happy. Pursue interesting stuff and beautiful things. Stop and have conversations with strangers. Check out independent coffee shops, book stores, local markets, art, architecture, other cyclists, mountains, cactus, lizards and snakes. Observe coyotes scampering across the path. The bicycle mode mood is joy.

Thinking about my twice-daily bicycle commute, my current mode. "Joy of bicycle commuting" is a fun search, check it out. More said there than I can fit in this space I'm sure. But, reflecting on my personal experience with that mode, it's also a joy ride for me. I don't care very much how long it takes or how far it is. Sometimes, I lengthen it and deviate from the shortest route just for the heck of it. Based on the lack of correlation with the negatives from my former car commute, as well as with the positive correlation with the characteristics of my fun weekend joy rides, I feel secure in this conclusion: my bicycle commute is also a joy ride. There are so many other reasons to recommend commuting by bicycle, but as far as simple and compelling goes, it's hard to beat this:

My bicycle commute is a joy ride, every day.
Come joy ride with me, car commuters, I've been there, and this is better


  1. " commute: aggravating, trivial, forgettable, confined, stressful, isolated..."

    Yes, which makes it doubly mysterious why cyclists are treated so nicely by most motorists.

  2. It could be that we serve as beacons of hope and light for aggravated motorists, Steve. Or at least, actual beacons of light, when we are using our SABS bright lights.


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