Topics like bike to work and slow mobility are very popular nowadays in many European Countries. However since I’m cycling in the city every day to go everywhere, it seems so obvious to me that bicycle is the best means of transportation to connect places especially in cities where traffic and lack of parking spots is always an issue.
In 2002 when during my Erasmus I studied one year in Germany I started cycling to school, to the grocery, to parties. It was so easy, when I first arrived there, I felt home very soon, even if at that time I didn’t speak any German, I was part of the community just because I got a bicycle. Like my classmates I was cycling to class, sometimes was windy and cold, some other days was raining, but nothing was stopping me from reaching my classroom and be on time for the lesson.
I still have that bike, actually I did my first bicycle tour with it and now I’m still using it to attend events like Eroica. I couldn’t sell it, because that bike represent for me the beginning of my adult lifestyle. I remember when I went to the flea market to buy a bicycle, it was sunny, I sow many bicycles that day but when I saw her, I knew it was there waiting for me. On the frame a sticker was naming her “Turin”, my own town, I thought it was a sign and actually I still believe it was.
I learned how free and good I could feel cycling in the city, learning shortcuts, always knowing how long it would have taken to me to go from one place to another without have to consider possible traffic or delay of public transportation.
I learn to respect rules, to cycle in line, to make sure to stretch my arm when I wanted to turn, I learned how easy was to explore the city along the way, get lost, visit new districts. I got used to cycle in any condition, I understood very soon why people in the north was cycling during winter. Actually I have never felt less cold than when I started cycling in the icy weather. In fact in 5 minutes my body get warm and soon I completely forget that was icy in the first place. So don’t use the weather condition as an excuse not to cycle to work!
Cycling is not only a sport as many think, cycling is a life style, is a way to move, connect, commute and to have a chance to get to know more about the place where I live spending exactly the same time I would had spent driving and queuing if I had used a car.
From home to the rest of the World! I feel unstoppable when in the morning with my bag filled with my laptop, mouse, lunch, raining gear, patches and pump I leave my place to go to work. Every morning I feel like I’m going on holiday in some way, that is because I’m packing up to be ready for whatever it comes up. Every evening I can decide to go straight at home or to go somewhere else, changing my path, discovering new beautiful squares, buildings, monuments. You have no idea how much cities are hiding from a distract citizen.
Bike to work is a very simple way to change your perception of the city where you live and for the time being also to respect distances. Why not to try? Lao-Tzu, Chinese philosopher founder of Taoism, liked to say that:
“the most difficult part of a journey is the door”
Get a bicycle that you feel comfortable with. Make sure wheels and brakes are in good condition. Fix a basket or a rack to carry your bag, get a raincoat and a good locker to park nearby your office place and go. Do it for a month with an open mind, chose a cycle path to commute if you can or at least small roads, remember you can cycle in pedestrian zones and parks, so you can also look for a short cuts. Relax and enjoy the journey and let me know, what had happened to you in one month, I’ll be happy to hear about your experiences.