I am thankful for bikes. Corny, right? I spent the last two weeks visiting family and friends in a less than bike-friendly part of Pennsylvania. I will not lie – I loved the convenience of having a car. I did not worry about the snow. I did not worry about the cold. I did not worry about planning a safe, flat route. I just hopped in and drove off. What convenience! And I never arrived sweaty, frozen, or soaked. Now that is luxury. But I missed my bike, and so did my body.
I felt fat. Lazily, unhealthily, fat! There is not a whole lot to do around Reading, Pennsylvania and a lot of my activities revolved around food and beer. Want to hang out with a friend? Go to our favorite, Sofrito Gastro Pub, after work for dinner and $1 lagers. Need to catch up with a cousin after her evening shift at the diner? Hit up a divey Village Tavern and then cruise to another diner for late-night snack. Oh, and it was Thanksgiving, so there is that. Pounds and pounds of food. More meat than I have eaten in the last 6 months and countless desserts. Wash it all down with a lot of beer. But there were times I ate like that in Seattle. Certainly the food here is not THAT bad! Why do I feel bad this time? No bike.
Without a bike I fell into the sedentary lifestyle I blame for much of America’s battle with obesity. My body is use to averaging 10-20 miles a day on two wheels with a bit of walking thrown in for good measure. I am not the kind of guy who can commit to running several times a week or keeping a gym membership. But when getting to work, to the store, and out to socialize means exercise it is easy to stay fit. Suddenly I went two weeks without touching a bike, with the exception of my futile attempt to revitalize my old Raleigh mountain bike.
I feel like I am returning to Seattle 10 pounds heavier and a much less fit. And it is because I did not bike. I knew I appreciated the bikeability of Seattle, but until now I did not realize just how lucky I am to live somewhere that facilitates my health.
This year I am thankful to live in bikeable Seattle. I am thankful for the great people who have made this city feel like home. I am thankful to have traveled to Denmark where I learned to love biking again. But most of all I am thankful that I know the value of bikes and have the physical ability to live a healthy lifestyle. Every year I am healthy and fit I will thank my bike for making it possible.
Meanwhile, the Seattle Bike Blog held its annual Cranksgiving, Seattle failed to achieve a platinum rating in The League of American Bicyclist’s Bike-Friendly City ratings, and Seattle ranked #1 in pedestrian safety in a national study by Liberty Mutual. Seattle, I missed you!