Five years ago today I bought and started restoring the bike I currently ride to work—a 1972 Schwinn Super Le Tour. I’ve spent the last five years using it to commute in a city that is not particularly bike friendly and whose weather is too hot and rainy for most of the year. That hasn’t stopped me.
I rarely see other bikers who look as if their commuting to work. It just isn’t common in this part of South Florida. However, my understanding is that bikes are the most used mode of transportation in the world. Riding a bike is also how I got around during most of my childhood and through high school.
For the first year after my wife and I moved to South Florida, I had a 40 minute commute to work each way (which I have been led to believe isn’t that bad). When I got a new job closer to home, I was happy to give up all the time I had been spending sitting behind a steering wheel and being part of the constant traffic congestion. Fortunately, there have always been relatively safe routes to and from work, and when I get caught in the rain or stranded with a flat tire, my wife has always been able to come and rescue me.
When I started biking to work, it wasn’t to save money on gas or wear and tear on the car. It also wasn’t for an idealistic environmental purpose. The primary reason I began biking to work, was because I knew I could not trust myself to exercise consistently without it being a prebuilt part of my day. Since I needed to get to work five days a week, it just made sense to me to combine that necessary task and my daily exercise into one activity. Bikes run on fat and save money. However, I wouldn’t have stuck with it for this long were it not for the best reason to ride: It’s fun!
For nearly all of those past five years, I have been planning on purchasing a new bike. However, the one I have works just fine and takes me where I need to go. A more modern bike would be lighter, faster, and more efficient. However, those improvements would take away from the bike’s purpose—to make sure I am getting enough exercise every day. A newer more efficient bike may not be better as a fitness device, but a faster smoother ride would certainly be more enjoyable.
I look forward to many more years of riding—either on my trusty Super Le Tour or on whatever new bike I get the future.