I (Gerry) have enjoyed cycling as far back a I can remember. As children, we started off on tiny 3-speeds, with long handlebars and seats, referred to as “spider bikes”. Those with the slightly sunnier disposition may have used the term, “banana bikes”.
I lived for many years in a larger metropolitan area where I enjoyed the extensive greenway trails and suburban streets that surrounded me. I have never been much of one for highway riding like the more serious cyclists among us. In 2017, we relocated to Coastal NC, where there is a different attitude towards biking and cycling. While there are still the more serious minded cyclists with their expensive gear, and all too serious approach, the majority are on beach cruisers with one-speed and light corrosion due to salt air. The cruiser riders seem to enjoy the experience much more than their urban minded counterparts. Shorts, tees, and flip flops are the only gear needed, and often a basket is attached so one can run errands and carry things around. As a non-smoker, I still get a kick out of those who light-up while taking a leisurely ride down the strip. Two words for that: old school.
For Shannon and I, we enjoy bike rides around our coastal town. As you may have read in our last blog, Minimalist Weekend, we have car-free weekends, where we are often on our bikes, for leisure, and for running errands, such as grabbing a bite and beer, Saturday breakfast, or getting a few things from the market. I have a Cannondale Mountain Bike, which can be used as a “serious bike”, but I am versatile in my cycling. I enjoy strolling around town on my bike, but also putting some serious miles in. Shannon has a pink Boss Beach Cruiser, with a basket on the front, and one on the back, which she removes when she isn’t planning on a large errand run. She also has a bell with a sticker on it that reads, “I love my bike”, and boy does she.
Despite cycling contributing to our minimalist lifestyle, it also promotes mindfulness. Not only can biking be a great way to be “in the now”, but it forces you to eliminate technology from your life, if only for an hour or so. Taking in the fresh air, and scenery allows for a great way to pay more attention to the details around you, that riding in a car eliminates. It also helps to improve you mood. After all, it is very difficult to be sad while riding a bike.
Whether a serious cyclist, or a fun peddler, I am grateful for this newfound culture of cyclists that have brought a sense of ease and childhood memories back to me, with their retro-like approach to the past time.