Archive for May, 2012

May 4, 2012

9 Things My Bicycle Has Taught Me

1. When in doubt, go with the 2 second rule.

What’s the 2 second rule you ask? The 2 second rule is something I learned while reading Blink by Malcolm Gladwell- one of my favorite books. If you haven’t read it, I highly recommend it.

Here’s a summary from wiki:

The author describes the main subject of his book as “thin-slicing”: our ability to gauge what is really important from a very narrow period of experience. In other words, this is an idea that spontaneous decisions are often as good as- or even better than- carefully planned and considered ones.

And that’s exactly how I bought my bike. I had been contemplating the idea of buying a bike for a few weeks but considering the fact that the last time I actually rode one was 15+ years ago and I knew absolutely nothing about buying bikes, I kept putting it off.

That is, until my 26th birthday 5 days ago. I walked into the sports section of Homeplus (British grocery chain Tesco’s Korean offspring), did a quick scan, and bought the first bike that caught my eye. There were no pink ones on display so it was a baby blue one that I fell in love with.

It was hands down the easiest and most painless purchase I’ve ever made. And I’m still in love.

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2. You need to put your OCD in check to enjoy life.

If you know me personally or have been reading my blog for a while, you know all about my germaphobia and my general OCD about it. So here are the thoughts I’ve had to ignore and shoo to the back of my mind in order to enjoy owning and riding a bike:

Are bugs splattering on my face the same way bugs splatter and die on the windshield of a car? I wonder how many germs are on this wheel. Must. avoid. contact. Why do locks have to be thread through the wheel. Why are bike racks so close to the ground. What’s this goo. I wonder how many diseases I’m going to contract after touching that.

3.Slow down to smell the roses.

Walking is too slow. And too personal. Especially in crowded places. You have to speed walk to avoid walking beside the same person for 2 blocks. And driving is too fast. You start the car knowing exactly where you want to go. It’s a point A to point B kind of transport. You can’t exactly “stroll” in a car. But biking? It’s perfect. You can stroll when you want to and zoom zoom zoom when you want to.

I found this cool man selling fresh biscuits on the street. While strolling.

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4. Backpacks are cool. And Practical

(and sometimes, it’s okay to sacrifice fashion for practicality. sometimes.)

I’ve always thought backpacks were so juvenile, unsophisticated, so 90s and Cher in Clueless. I mean what outfit, except for the 6th grade back-to-school outfit, do you know that actually looks good with a backpack? Thought so. And then I realized how annoying it was to have a purse constantly sliding off your shoulder while riding. Especially when you have this tendency to lose control of the bike while trying to push the purse back on to your shoulder with one hand and riding with the other.

Insert backpacks. I LOVE BACKPACKS! Free hands while riding? And (almost) 0% chance of crashing? Yes, please!

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5. I really do love the feel of wind through my hair.

and I think biking may just be my favourite kind of wind through my hair.

6. Try to live/be in the moment.

Because if you don’t, you’ll either a) fall off your bike while trying to cross the street b) bump into a nice lady while trying to pass her and apologize profusely but you know she doesn’t understand a word because she’s giving you a really mean stare. That or she understands and hates you anyway because you just tried to kill her or c) fail to see a huge pot hole and almost die… in front of your students who will probably never let you live it down. This is all hypothetically speaking, of course.

7. It’s okay to depend on other people. Especially when you suck at something.

So when I first started learning to drive, my mom always made me say a prayer to the mini statue of Ganesh on her car dashboard. I think the prayer she thought I was saying was probably something like this:

Dear god, please let me get to my destination safely. Please protect me from harm’s way.

However, my prayer usually went something like this:

Dear god, you and I both know I suck at driving. Please make sure all the cars around me at all times have good, experienced drivers driving them.

My prayer now while bicycling is pretty similar. I pray that the pedestrians know to give me plenty of space and know not to get too close and that the other bikers know I’m an amateur. Sometimes I do a little wiggle with the handlebar when I’m passing another bicycler. So they know. Just in case.

8. It’s okay to get lost.

Getting lost on foot is kinda scary- especially if you end up in a rough neighbourhood. Getting lost while driving may put your hearing in jeopardy with all the honks you’ll have to put up with while trying to figure out where you are. But getting lost on a bicycle (with an iPhone for gps in your backpack as insurance)? Best. Thing. Ever.

Because if you don’t get lost, you may never find yourself. (I know, I know… how terribly cliche of me.)

9. You make a living by what you make. You make a life by what you give.

Ok, so my bicycle nor biking taught me this. Winston Churchill did. But I will be using my bicycle as a vehicle to give. Sort of.

I know this is a really cheesy way to end this post. But I needed a way to plug my cause: Ride For Heart. That’s right guys. I will be riding my bike on the DVP- a highway in Toronto (don’t worry, it’ll be closed) to raise funds for the Heart & Stroke Foundation. For that, I need your help. Please donate what you can. Every little bit counts!

Here’s the link to my donation page: Click here.

To see your funds at work: Click here.

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