Today is my last day of work for 2010. This morning when I climb on my bike it will mark the 205th day that I've ridden to work. Considering the fact that I worked a total of 211 days, that equates to riding to work 97% of the time. The other 6 days or 3%, I took the bus. I am quite proud of the fact that I did not use my truck a single time in the past year to get to work.
As I look back on this accomplishment, I realize that it was not without some degree of sacrifice. I rode through heat, freezing cold, rain, snow, ice and heavy winds. I rode early in the morning and late into the evening. There was more than one day that if that bike were a horse, I'd a shot it. I've had cars run through red lights, cut me off, buzz by me too close for comfort, honk at me, yell at me and run me off the road.
Sure, this year has not been without it's trials and tribulations. Yet, I rode on days when the temperature was absolutely perfect and the breezes gentle. I rode on days when there was not a cloud in the sky and nights when the stars were so numerous that if you could but reach the first one, you could spend an eternity hopping from one to to another. I saw majestic sunrises and breathtaking sunsets.
Commuting to work is healthy for the environment and for me. Commuting to work reduces congestion on our roads and our dependence on foreign oil. Those are good, noble reasons, but they're not what keeps me climbing on that bike day after day.
Everyday that I ride gives me a chance to slow my life down a bit and that's the primary reason I do it. 12 MPH - that's just about the right speed for me. At 12 MPH, I'm not gonna break any records or win any races. At 12 MPH, I won't be out of breath or tax my cardiovascular system. At 12 MPH, it's gonna take me a little longer to get to where I'm going.
By today's standards - 12 MPH ain't fast - but it gives me time look around, listen, breathe, think, relax and unwind. That makes 12 MPH fast enough for me.