My nephew Matthew, down in the Hollywood subway station during our ‘Bike Safari’ last summer. We rode all over Los Angeles by bike for a week…..and has a blast doing it!
It just can’t be any clearer; the best way to see the world is on a bicycle!
Sure, boat’s are fun, hiking is great, car windows are telling, and trains are still magical. However, there are things about a bike that just don’t translate to any other mode of transportation. That sentence in itself is unjust. Riding around on a bike is more than transportation. Short of have the ability to fly as a single body, it may be the closest thing to a magic carpet ride that humans will ever get.
Riding a bike is liberating when traveling. You have the ability to be outside in the fresh air; bad weather not withstanding. You have the ability to carve your own path through parks, along river ways and sidewalks; even riding on train platforms that are off-limits to a car, motorcycles, and horse traffic. Suddenly you have your very own “yellow brick road.’
The world seems to be re-learning the advantages and freedom of a bike. Forget for a moment that new ‘bike share’ programs are opening all over the world on city streets for personal use to alleviate car traffic congestion; companies like UPS and Fed-Ex have been moving packages again by bike in cities where financial rewards are being reaped from categories such as no fuel payments, less traffic accidents, lower insurance premiums, better employee morale, and more on-time deliveries than previously obtained.
Being on a bike is like being in a special bubble for the world to see. I once took a bike tour through New York City at night in the middle of the summer. Rolling through the concrete jungle under a full moon and warm air, people sitting at sidewalk cafe’s would clap and cheer as we rolled by. This from New Yorkers. It wasn’t just the clapping; you could see the look of envy on their faces, wondering to themselves why they weren’t out riding a bike in NYC on a warm summer night under a full moon.
You don’t need to take your own bike. Rent a bike from a local shop, take a guided tour, or just hop on one of the bike share rentals popping up all over the world; Montreal, NYC, London, Shanghai, Stockholm, Boston ect, ect. Many places now also have safe bike paths to move around. More transit systems not only welcome bikes on the subway, they encourage it, and have special cars to accommodate them.
Pack some milk and warm chocolate chip cookies in your backpack; stop under a shady tree and admire the architecture, or the juggling show. Take in the concert from the street musicians. People watch. Go anywhere, go everywhere; just go.
To quote one of my favorite bike group motto’s; “Ride Hard, Have Fun, Don’t Be A Jerk!