Thursday, June 11, 2009

Is cycling addictive?

Simplicity is the key to successful living, by Nick DewarI'd say cycling is addictive. Even though I've been cycling all my life the bicycle really only became my favorite mode of transport in the past few years. Before I lived on the countryside and although cycling was quite practical to get around and to the next town, most distances were too far to cycle. I mainly used public transport and it worked fine for me.

In Vienna I realized that the bicycle is really the fastest way to get around in a city. But not only that. It's also the healthiest and most enjoyable one. During the day I just sit around but my bike rides provide me with both, a good start in the day and distance from work in the evening. Plus, it's recommended to do at least 30min of exercise (not to be mixed up with sport!) each day in order to keep well and fit. It's great to feel my body and to feel good in it.

But cycling is more. It's fun. Apparently, although I don't know if that is true, cycling produces endorphins (and exercise in general). And endorphins make us happy and are a boost for our self-confidence. Although I also have my lows, I'm in a much better mood after cycling. Yes, one could say that I'm an endorphin junkie. It might be a myth though, but in that case cycling is a wonderful placebo.

I don't mind cycling in the winter or in thunderstorms, in fact I even love it. It's class to know and feel the weather and to learn how easy it is to cope with basically anything. It happens a lot that I don't dress appropriate if I walk or take public transport, as cycling generally requires less clothes in the winter and more in the summer. By the way, I love to feel the wind in my hair. Nothing compares to that.

Morover, it happens that whenever I do walk I usually walk along my bike routes. Seemingly this also occurs to my cycling colleagues and we laughed a lot about our recent discovery. Somehow I have the feeling that the city is all mine when I'm on my bike. I can get anywhere anytime I want to. In that respect cycling means freedom to me: freedom of mobility (particularly important for children), freedom of space (no search and waste of space for parking) and independence from others (no dependence on fossil fuels from unstable governments or brutal dictatorships). Yes, I also like the environmental aspect, but in fact it's only really a positive by-product.

So if you still ask yourself why cycling is good for you, then you probably haven't tried it yet. Just do it, it's easy. My personal conclusion is that everyday cycling is addictive and that it makes me a happier and balanced person. What about you?

12 comments:

Carolyn I said...

I totally agree! I feel so good biking. I've always biked as I've never had a car..but since I got a new one this year, I've been out biking more then I have for the longest time. Best part of the day (well, after the morning coffee)

Zweiradler said...

I agree! But I think cycling is only addictive if you have a good bike. If your bike doesn't work properly you probably won't have much fun with it.

Lynn said...

I definitely feel addicted when I cycle every day. The evidence shows up when I don't ride. One day off makes me feel anxious and grumpy. When I don't ride for longer periods of time, I feel sluggish and lazy. On the days that I ride, I am happy, more social and more productive. And I agree that a comfortable, well-adjusted bike (old or new) is very important. A good bike is one you hardly notice beneath you.

Filigree said...

I am completely addicted to cycling. And unless I have to be somewhere, once I start I really have a hard time stopping or even taking it easy -- which can be a problem! Last Sunday I cycled from Vienna past Tulln (a total of 40km one way), and ended up hurting my knees. Will be more careful next time!

spiderleggreen said...

If you going to get addicted to something, biking would be a good one to have a craving for. Though, I do think addiction also has something to do with harming yourself, so maybe habit would be a word, because biking has far more benefits than harms.

As for riding in inclimate weather, last weekend was a rainy one here. We haven't had much rain in a long time, so it was something different. I had such a great time riding in the rain, mostly unprotected. It reminded my of how much fun it is ride adverse weather. I was nice, just to feel the weather.

Adrienne Johnson said...

I think it isn't cycling that is addictive, it is the feeling of taking your own power into your own hands and feeling how strong we actually are as human beings. Escalators and dishwashers and espresso machines are all designed to make less work for us (although, I really like dishwashing machines and espresso makers)and we never learn how much work it it takes to do something and that we can indeed do that work.

Luvbeers said...

I was biking through the 1st district and a guy in an Audi came up behind me and honked for me to get out of the way. He came very close to my back tire then started revving his engine. So stupid as there was a horse carriage up ahead in front of me that he immediately got stuck behind as I was able to bike past!

Suzanne said...

What is the source for this really beautiful image/poster in your post ?

anna said...

@ Suzanne: Saw that picture first on Copenhagenize.com and then just googled for it. It's by Nick Dewar. Unfortunately I couldn't find a poster or so.

Marcos said...

I found this page by googling "is cycling addictive." I live in NYC and the best part of my day is taking a car lane and keeping up w. the big boys in Mercedes and BMWs. I've gone from struggling to do four miles to graving long rides w. hills. I love how water, food, and the warmth of my apartment envelopes me when I get home. I am ever so more thankful for life when I wager it at 40kph. The gift of self-generated happiness, sense of over-overcoming the challenge, and connectedness with your well-tuned bike are priceless.

PeterAnker said...

It is addictive, but its a good addiction.
And yes some addictions can be good, and benefit you and the other around you.

Cycling every day keeps you in good shape, healthy, you don't pollute, you save the world and yorself. Plus its so much fun :)

Nathanael Roberts said...

Cycling is definitely addicting, especially is you are fit. I've had times where I biked through the woods and purposely took wrong turns and got lost just so I would have a personal excuse to keep going. I feel like it is so fun because you, with your own muscle power, are managing to keep up with traffic and speed ahead of joggers. It almost makes me feel as though I can fly. The one downside to this is that cycling nonstop can eat up a bit too much of your time, and it is a little depressing when you reach your destination.

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