32,000 Kilometers (~20,000 miles)
I lovingly call my bike the Frankenbike, every part except the frame has been replaced or rebuilt. As I was doing some maintenance recently I did most of the replacements. At first I was annoyed, then I looked at the odometer and started thinking. I laughed upon realizing that some of those parts were original, they had endured over 32,000 kilometers of bicycling! Positive habits rarely are this easy to quantify, which is a shame considering how much of a help it is.
Most of the time this has been on easy mode though. San Luis Obispo(SLO) is a beautiful city where almost everything is a 5–15 minute bicycle ride away. It is often faster to bike than drive with bike racks everywhere! Near perfect weather year round only makes things easier. Not to mention the city is proactive about putting in bike paths and lanes, even painting the lanes a distinctive green to make them more obvious. What happens when your bike breaks and you don’t know how to fix it? Go to the bike kitchen and for $5 they teach you and give you access to the tools to fix it! Want to bike to the farmers market downtown? They have a bike valet there to make things even more convenient. As I contemplate moving away from SLO, I am grateful for and will miss just how much of a gift to bicycle here.
Bicycling has everything to do with personal growth, it has been key to supporting mine. Exercise has significant benefits for mental health. It also helps us learn more effectively. Spark is an incredibly interesting book to learn more.
Anyway, if you are in SLO the answer to “should I bicycle?” is yes for almost everyone when it comes to the benefits. Most people will have more impediments and excuses, as I will when going back to Seattle. Is it really still worth bicycling in the face of more challenge? For me it is simply a matter of how much and figuring out how. That is a challenge for another day.