FH in Bowling Green, KY -
Wow. There's so much in this one. Here's something that hasn't occured to me - "I've learned that the bicycle is the natural enemy of impulse buying."
It began as a desire to lose some weight and just stop being tired all of the time. I was nearly 300 pounds in the fall of 2003 and had a cholesterol level of nearly 400 points. I was as good a candidate for stroke as there ever was. So I set out on a quest to use more energy than I took in on a daily basis, and I was determined to avoid big pharma for cholesterol control if at all possible. The age old story of diet and exercise, often told but rarely lived, became my mantra.
During my lunch hour I lifted weights at the gym, and during my early evening hours I rode a stationary bike for an hour while watching the banks of televisions. By August of 2004 I had lost nearly 100 pounds, and my cholesterol was finally under control without having to ‘talk to my doctor’ about Lipitor or Plavix or any of that. I felt good! A woman at my church invited me to join the local bike club and I found out that seeing the world go by while pedaling was so much better than Fox News or Elimidate or Room Raiders or ESPN or any of the other trash that the boob tube offered. I was (and still am) hooked on cycling!
I began to frequent bicycling specific websites and following the links I found within. One day I stumbled across a powerful, simple statement. You may have seen this before.
‘I believe people that think that the globe is warming because of human activity, specifically carbon emitting human activity, might be right. Because I think they might be right, I think humans need to change. And because I think humans need to change, I think I need to change.’
I have it memorized. Anytime anyone asks me how I can ride on a day like today (98 degrees out, 95% humidity) I repeat that statement to them. That usually gets a response of ‘I bet you save some money’ or ‘it’s good exercise’. Yes, it’s that too, but it’s so much more.
I now ride to work, to church, to the grocery store. I laugh at the idea of parking permits. I’m convinced that my current car will be my last car. Cold days, warm days, frigid days, hot days, dry days, rainy days – you name it, if I have to go somewhere I take the bike. I’ve learned how rich I am and how my 580 square foot home, formerly thought of as a stepping stone to something much nicer, is a luxury rather than a liability. I used to consider it a mark of poverty but now I plan to live in it forever. I’ve learned about the freedom of being debt free because I've learned to live on less than I earn. I've learned that the bicycle is the natural enemy of impulse buying. My previous dreams of new cars, large houses, and secluded lots far out in suburbia have morphed into dreams of simple, chemical free living with plenty of time to enjoy life. I've learned that I can live without a dryer, that it's okay to sweat in summer. I've learned to appreciate the chill of winter. I’ve discovered my neighbors and we know each other by name. I’ve learned that I’m not meant to go fast, that going slow gets me there just as quickly.
I’ve learned to live more deliberately with less.
I’ve driven a total of 3560.2 miles this year in my car, all of them under 55 mph. I think next years mileage should be half that.… and then half of that… and then half of that.
And I’ve learned that I’m not the only one.