Thursday, November 05, 2009

Bikeology


Natural Antidepressant = Ride a Bike!
I bought a brand new, cheap mountain bike three years ago, after years of not riding. It was exhilarating and liberating, like releasing a long forgotten passion buried in the past of fading childhood memories. At first, I didn't respect the bike as a machine. I rode it without regard for maintenance, or respecting its mechanical wonders. Of course this attitude finally caught up with me. After a long beautiful fall ride through the river valley parks with my wife - the chain snapped at the low point of a steep hill. After pushing the bike to the hill top it occurred to me that one should be prepared for mechanical break down. I bought some basic tools - started regular pre-ride inspections, and made some basic adjustments to the derailleurs, brakes and other bike parts. The chain was repaired at a local do it yourself bike establishment. A nonprofit community organization in Edmonton dedicated to low cost commuter cycling. A few people who are trying to promote and support the bicycle as a healthy and ecologically sound mode of everyday urban travel. Rubbing shoulders with these folks who depend on their bikes to get around in all seasons was humbling for a recreational rider like me. For a nominal fee you can use their tools and work stations to maintain and repair your bike. Often there are volunteers and fellow riders present to educate and assist you with most repairs. Community in action! It's not about competition or expensive equipment and bikes. It's about healthy transportation and interacting with like minded individuals. Don't be complacent and forget about safety though. This bike safety page discusses a variety of potential traffic collision situations and how you can avoid them. I prefer sticking to bike paths and trails for the most part.

It's amazing how different a city looks from a bike, and of course you can access areas that are out of bounds for the four wheeled cages. You are immersed in the sun, wind, and sights and sounds, along with the rhythm of your bike. Love it!

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