Posted by: jdantos | December 3, 2012

Bicycling as Lazy

Bike on Hains PointWhen people find out I ride a bike to get around, and to get to work, they often respond with some mix of incomprehension, wonder, or even awe – like as if I am performing some impressive feat of stamina or courage. “More power to ya, man!” I hear, or “Wow, that’s great for you, keep it up!” Or my favorite, “wow, but you must be crazy!” Sometimes, I take some perverse pride in comments like this. I think, “yeah, I am really tough, all right, go me.” Or “it’s a great way to stay in shape

But on the inside, I know it’s all a sham. Because bicycling to get around a city is yes, one small part craziness, and yes, part really fun, but mostly? I’m just kind of lazy. Biking is simply the quickest, cheapest way to get from point A to point B, while expending the least amount of energy. Walking is kind of slow and tiring, but riding takes like a dozen pedal strokes and you’re at the next block already. Appealing to people’s inner laziness may be the genius behind Bikeshare’s short trips. Most utilitarian city bike riding is not hardcore, not masochistic, and not a crazy feat of courage. It’s just the easiest, laziest way.

When I walk out my door to go somewhere – to work, to get a gallon of milk, to run to the hardware store – the main question I ask myself is, “what’s the easiest way to get there?” Stopping global warming or racking up the miles doesn’t really enter the picture. The bike is sitting right there: it’s faster and requires much less effort than walking, it’s free, there’s unlimited free parking basically everywhere, I can carry anything on it, and there’s no traffic ever.

There have been many times when I have errands and meetings and I just don’t have time to travel any other way – only biking can get me to so many places fast enough.

There are days when life happens, and I don’t have time to both commute and exercise – so I ride and get to do both simultaneously. I’m not trying to win the do-gooder award, I’m just trying to economize the hours in the day – since at heart, I’m kind of lazy.

I have been known to hop on and ride a quarter-mile to the Harris Teeter to get some butter, just because it’s a few minutes faster than walking. I’m not ashamed to say I’ve ridden a Bikeshare bike a whopping 2 blocks to get Dunkin Donuts coffee, out of sheer, unbridled laziness.

So, next time you think that riding a bike around the city is some unattainable achievement reserved for crazy hardcore people, think again. Most riders are probably far from crazy. In fact, they may be bicycling because they’re a little bit lazy.

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Responses

  1. I couldn’t possibly agree more! Yet when I tell people this is why I bike, they just redouble on the “wow, but you must be crazy!” So I ignore the haters, because my current commute (2 different locations) is 15 or 7 minutes and free by bike vs 40 or 20 minutes and $2.50 by bus.

  2. totally agree. another reason i bike that isn’t worthy of bragging about is that i’m anti-social. i would love transit if not for all those people.

  3. Thought about this again this morning. I actually have absolutely no idea how to get to this campus via bus.

  4. Point being, it’s been 5 months and apparently I’ve been too lazy to check a bus schedule.

  5. I couldn’t agree more. I’m not some altruistic exercise-addicted person. Biking is the easiest, fastest, cheapest mode around.

  6. Excellent post and I agree 100%. Perhaps this explains why I have gained a few pounds this year, even though I bike every day. I can coast to the coffee shop with less effort than walking there.

  7. Great post — my situation is slightly different as I store my bike on the back porch of our 3rd floor walkup, so there’s a slight bit of effort involved to leave the house. That said, errands get longer and more involved via bike, because it’s a fairly simple machine that efficiently uses energy for transport. If it was stored on the ground floor, I might never use any other transportation mode for trips in town.

  8. haha, so true.

  9. […] cyclists’ right to the full lane, at least in one community. Sometimes, bicycling is just the easiest, laziest way to get there. Jobs and bike lanes are not mutually exclusive. The first rule of group bike parties is stop being […]

  10. Brilliant. My direct route commute to work is 17 minutes door to door. Quicker, much less frustrating than the bus, metro or driving (can’t imagine a scenario where I’d drive) and free. FREE!! Sometimes I can barely contain my giddiness.

  11. I thought I was the only one who felt this way lol.
    Plus, remember when we were kids and riding was fun? Why don’t the people stuck in their cages on wheels remember that lol.

  12. I never view bike riding as lazy…regardless of whether I’m spinning 1 mile or 50 miles. I don’t think I ‘m changing the world every time I hop on my bike to buy a gallon milk…but I do feel good about not burning gas, and I am getting some exercise…however, when thousands…millions bike rather than drive, they are changing the world for the better.

  13. ha ha its true i never walk because its takes long and to boring.


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