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Why I Ride #29: To Sweat a Little Every Day

(Grant Petersen is the founder of Rivendell Bicycle Works and author of JUST RIDE from Workman Publishing.)

Grant Petersen (Credit: Martin Sundberg)

I ride a bicycle because…

I want to get around on a vehicle that weighs less than I do.

I’d rather be a bicycle rider than envy them.

I like to sweat a little, not a lot, every day, and riding is my favorite way to sweat.

I never find money and tools on the road when I’m in a car, but I do when I ride my bike.

A bike fits in places a car doesn’t, and I often want to go into those places—like between cars and the curb, between two cars, on bike-and-pedestrian bridges and overpasses.

My house and yard fit more bikes than cars.

I can park my bike on the sidewalk, or a lawn, or anywhere. I don’t need a parking lot.

If I drive on a sidewalk, I go to jail. If I ride my bike on a sidewalk, no big deal. Somebody might try to make a big deal of it, but it doesn’t register with me as a big deal.

I just want to go someplace without announcing “I’m a-coming!” and a bike does that a lot better than a car or motorcycle.

If I hit somebody when I’m riding my bike, I’m not likely to kill him. I know it’s possible, but I’m not that reckless, and I’ve never hit anybody yet.

I like riding something I can fix.

I own a bicycle company, and it would be weird if I didn’t (though obviously, I rode before I owned).

If I couldn’t ride a bike, I know there would be nothing I’d want to do more. I’m glad I have had that realization while I can still ride.

It’s a habit. It’s not something I have to do, or something I think about doing, and often it’s not something I even think about wanting to do.

Some rides are pure utility, not fun, but they’re never bad.

A few times every year I get on my bike and feel proud that I’ve mastered this flip-floppy thing that doesn’t look like it could do everything it does for me. I don’t need to hop it from boulder to fence-top, and then somersault down to a soft-front wheel landing. I sure don’t need to be able to grind out 10,000 miles a year, or a dreadful double century in under 11 hours.

I’ve mastered my bike for how I ride it.

May is National Bike Month and this year’s theme is One Ride, Many Reasons. To highlight and celebrate the many benefits of bicycling, throughout May we’ll bring you the personal reflections and inspirations of a diverse collection of bicyclists from coast to coast with our daily 31 Days, 31 Reasons blog feature.


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