20 December 2013

The Final Benefit of Biking: Motivation

There are far more than 12 benefits of biking. And many of them are so closely related that it's hard to separate them (health and environment, economics and community, biking mom means biking family). The 12 that I posted are specific to me, but I have a feeling that many people experience these benefits as well.

A year ago, I decided that I was going to try to ride my bike (nearly) everyday. I created a hashtag for it (#everydayonabike) and wrote about it here. By doing so, I put the intention out in the world and felt accountable. (To whom? I'm not sure. Maybe just to myself.) It was just the kind of motivation I needed to take this type of a challenge on.

And let me be the first to tell you: It was sometimes (often) a challenge. Riding my bike means that I have to get up earlier and be more prepared. It means that I spend more time commuting than I would otherwise. It means that sometimes I would show up to a meeting sweating profusely or wiping snot from my nose thanks to a cold ride. Some days I just don't feel like riding. But more often than not, I rode anyway - even if it meant having a prolonged pep talk with myself.

Here's the thing: I never, ever regretted biking once I was on the bike. I never wished I had driven instead. I have to remember that sometimes - getting started is often the hardest part.

There were also days when I couldn't wait to get on the bike. When riding was such a joy that I couldn't stop myself from smiling.

One year is a long time to keep up with something. Although I have started giving myself a little more slack about not riding, I've kept at this whole everyday on a bike adventure. Mostly I'm proud of myself for not losing motivation.

The message here is, if I can do it, anyone can do it. I'm not a hard-core cyclist. I don't have all of the latest gear and gadgets. I'm not fast. That's your motivation: Don't let schedules or kids (take them along for the ride!) or fear get in your way of biking more. Sometimes the hardest part is starting.

Thanks for joining me in this adventure!

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