i'm an only child, so i think it goes without saying that i like to spend an inordinate amount of time alone. not only do i like it, but i know i need it to keep me relatively sane. i like meeting people and being social, but i also like large amounts of time for me to spend doing however i wish. i know those days could be numbered, but that's why i rather enjoy them in the now.
anyway, i have been spending less time in the saddle which makes me not exactly thrilled, but i do really enjoy the time that i'm there. it's like home and i know i can take that wherever i go. which, this weekend, included a little town called austin texas. i went to the infamous, as far as bike bloggers go, new little bike store: mellow johnny's. it's a little too new for my taste, but honestly taste aside, it is a pretty cool bike shop. there's a strong emphasis on consumerism, but at the price which they ask for trying to incorporate bike advocacy in austin, i think that's ok. by the way, that means FREE bike parking, showers, lockers for you to take yr formerly stinky sweaty ass to work. i also have to admit, i think opening the bike store just before the most brutal months of the austin heat, was rather ballsy, but probably beyond their control. for those of you who haven't heard, it's a bike shop co-founded by lance armstrong and is bike/repair shop, clothing/shoe store and cafe all in one. the last thing austin needs is another cafe, but obviously, one couldn't ask for a better all-in-one bike store. they are trying to start a community, and i could already tell that the seeds have been planted. there were people in latex talking to their estranged brothers in crime, bike messengers and bike mechanics. there was one commuter there, and that is where the true message of this bike store lies i believe. the thought is to get all the people moving into downtown condos to try to start taking bikes to shorter trips within their new home for the purpose of reducing urban headaches such as parking, traffic and just overall urban congestion which leads me to something i have spoken about before...commuting by bike.
in the airport on the way to austin, i picked up bicycling magazine. tucked in the pages were reasons people like to commute. one was an overall reduction in stress. now some of you drivers may be wondering how this is so since riding a bike among cars must be stressful. yes, this is true, it's not fun trying to dodge buses, cars and trucks who disobey traffic laws and are double parked in a bike lane on a busy one way street. it's not fun hoping and praying while dodging the above that some driver doesn't door you because you had to get too close to them. not fun thinking that if you get doored, nothing will really lessen the impact, not even a helmet (sorry safetyissexy people...).
all of that aside, this article discussed two good reasons one is less stressed while commuting. one is probably obvious. the more you get your body moving, the more endorphins are swimming around making you feel better, thus lowering your stress level. as your body naturally adjusts to fit its natural frame, the better one can feel about one's appearance and health, both of which are directly related to the above.
the other one is also obvious, but to me, probably because i haven't been in a car in awhile for a long period of time, it didn't come to me as quickly as it could to others. commuting by bike reduces stress because one is NOT driving in a car. and it's true. this weekend i was responsible for driving around and it's so stressful. and this is not during rush hour traffic when there are more stressed out people all with a certain amount of time to get to work. being inside a two ton piece of machinery surrounded by others in the same is just a huge responsibility, so much so that it leads to road rage in some and awful tense physical effects in people like me.
so the jolt of java i feel in the morning is directly related to both ways of reducing stress by commuting on my little bici...i love it.
now i'm going to get to do things to prepare for my own commute tomorrow. wake up early and grease my chain, read craigslist for bikes, read bike blogs. go to bed and dream about a nice tex mex meal. yum.