I had to get across town last week to pick up pencils. It was a gorgeous day and I was in no hurry, so I took my bike.
With no set route, and plenty of time, I zigzagged my way past a few points of interest, enjoyed this city’s expanded bicycle lanes, and stopped for coffee at a place I’d never been to.
You notice more on a bike.
On a bicycle you are right there, on the street; you are physically in control of your speed and more emotionally aware of your journey. It becomes an adventure. Much like Hemingway said, it is on a bicycle that you best learn a country.
While riding last Wednesday, I noticed a book and record store I had never seen before on a street I rarely use. Of course I went in. I found a particularly good Small Faces album in particularly good shape, and a Philip Glass recording I never realized I needed. She Said Boom had great prices, a deep selection, and well-organized bins. I also found a reason to ride back last Saturday, and I even took a different route.
The thing is, had I taken my car (or transit) I probably would not have noticed this store. Had I not been on my bike, the direction of my day would have taken a different path.
Who knows where I would have gone, how I would have arrived, or what I would have missed?
“It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.”