Beauty of the Bicycle

May is Bike Month 

Bike to Work Day is 5/17

“We have a strange culture,” Chef Becky observes. “Our mainstream food supply is heavily salty, fatty, and sugary, and this causes health problems that we then have a robust health care system to treat. But there could be so much prevention with some dietary changes and getting more activity than our sedentary society offers: sitting in your car, sitting at your computer, sitting at the movie theater, and getting waited on. We’ve built an infrastructure around comfort, but it comes at the expense of staying lean and in good internal health.” Well said, Chef! 


Biking to Work

We’ve done a deep dive into the world of bicycling before how the bicycle revolutionized the world, how a young man in Malawi built a windmill for his village out of bike parts, how a punk writer rode across the Netherlands, nourished by fresh bread and peanut butter. Like many large cities and the suburban sprawl areas they nourish, New Jersey has been a “car is king” culture for a long time – but there has also been a vibrant subculture of bicyclists who bike for health, sport, or simple transportation. Rather than driving to work, driving to the gym, riding on an exercise bike, and driving home, why not reduce some of your gas and car maintenance bills and the headaches that come with traffic jams, road rage, distracted drivers, and what feels like never-ending construction? 


Bicycle Motocross (BMX)  

It’s an interesting dynamic: we ride bicycles in our youth but often leave them to rust when the move to cars happens. A college student named Ed had a car and a bike, but when he moved to Arizona from Maryland to attend college, he left his car behind and took his bike. “It was a large campus, and I had to get from class to class on a tight schedule, so the BMX bike I had from my youth was perfect. I’ve never found mountain bikes to have the right center of gravity, and so many cyclists with mountain bikes take some bad crashes because that center of gravity is so high on those bikes.” 


Staying Present 

We tend to go on autopilot when we get in a car – even the driver – and self-driving cars haven’t made things better. You’ll see drivers doing their makeup, talking on the phone, having music or phone calls so loud that you can hear it outside the car. Dave, a Califon cyclist, always took driving a car like flying a small craft airplane (something he’s also done). He explains: “I take driving seriously. I focus on it. I don’t wanna crash or hurt anyone – or myself. Automatic transmission is nice, but I wonder if the days of manual transmission kept the driver more engaged in driving and being present.” Cycling is a great way to stay present: not only do you have to navigate potholes, car doors, and squirrels, but you engage all your senses, unlike being cut off and in a little bubble that the car experience necessitates. You’re more in the world via bike. 


Happy Cycling 

The State of NJ has a FAQ section that answers basic questions you may have. Make sure you have a good lock for your bike and know the basics of on-the-road repair. Cycling is also great for keeping a distance from people if you’re concerned about close contact, but you can also get chummy with fellow cyclists if you want…and whoever you meet on the ol’ Yellow Brick Road!