Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Vicious Cycling

There’s no shortage of reasons to take up bicycling, and even bike commuting. The usual ones are:
  1. It’s good for the environment. After all, instead of burning fossil fuels in a car, you’re out there being all natural and stuff, making your own organic, free-range CO2.
  2. It saves you money. It would be really hard to buy a bike so expensive that, used daily, it wouldn’t save you money on gas, repairs, parking fees and Sirius/XM. (If you had such a bike, you wouldn’t take it out of the garage.)
  3. It’s healthy. Sure, biking is good exercise, stimulating your heart rate, getting your muscles working. (Just try not to hit or get hit by anything.)
But the most important reason, the one usually overlooked, is bragging rights. Biking to work gives you plenty to boast about in the break room. The more miles you commute, the more hazards you dodge, and the worse the weather, the more sneerily condescending you can be at the office. Here in Boston, they even give prizes for that at the local bike organization’s annual bash.

So the goal, of course, is to have the most impressively difficult commute, but still be able to do it under your own power. This means choosing 4-lane highways over quiet country roads. (Change jobs if you have to.) It means living far enough away that you basically bike home at night, shower, and head back to work. It means riding on a hard leather seat that looks like an instrument from a proctologist’s office. And, of course, it means biking year-round, in snow, sleet, freezing rain, hail and whatever else Mother Nature decides to throw at you.

Fortunately, here in New England, we’re blessed with plenty of that. In fact, New England was first settled by masochists seeking a harder life. They set up farms where the earth is just dust covered rock, and the growing season is 23 1/2 days long. They denied themselves strong drink on Sundays. They fought with native Americans over casino locations. And they picked the Red Sox as their team.

And this proud tradition carries on today. So get out there and bike!

Just don’t tell me about it.

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