The bicycle first came on the scene in France during the early 19th century. They were originally devised as an alternative to riding a horse due to widespread crop failure during the same time period. And, although some of the history has been lost in translation and in the recesses of what is becoming ancient history, it is inarguable that once they were popularized, the bicycle was instrumental to increasing the mobility of the everyday citizen.
As they became more and more commonplace, they eventually contributed to women’s emancipation from domestic work. Before the advent of the bicycle, many women and middle-class citizens alike were confined to the radius within which they could conveniently walk on foot. Because historically men were expected to earn a living and to provide for their families, this left women at home to take care of everyday household tasks. As society modernized and the bicycle became more common, women were able to capitalize on the invention, increase their mobile radius and were able to metaphorically make strides towards equality.
And while these tidbits of history are pretty interesting and are largely left without a stir, bicycles are just generally pretty cool. And coming off a spring break of biking to the Hoover Dam, through Red Rock Canyon and through the deserts of Arizona and Nevada, I’d say that bicycles are so much more than a way to get from point A to point B; many of us are lucky enough to have cars for that. But when you get somewhere on a bike, or by way of some other mode of physical transportation, it seems to force you to enjoy the journey equally as much as the destination.
Don’t get me wrong, I love road trips as much as the next person. But after a few hours, all of your pals are inevitably asleep and you’re left to stare at the monotonous yellow lines to keep from falling asleep at the wheel. But on a bicycle, or a unicycle, or on rollerblades, or on foot, falling asleep literally isn’t an option and you’re forced to consider every single second, every rotation of the pedals, every pebble that you feel through your shoes. And that just brings so much more meaning to reaching the final destination.
While biking through some really beautiful places with the CSU Triathlon team over break, we were all overcome with the sense that we are extremely fortunate to be able to be involved in such an incredible community. We’ve somehow found ourselves surrounded by people who love to spend their time doing the same things that we love. And, beyond that, because we have access to bicycles and the other necessary equipment, we get to experience some really beautiful places, some of which aren’t accessible in any other way.
More and more, we come to realize that it’s really about the simple things in life. And over break, I gained an entirely new appreciation for my bicycle and the places and opportunities with which it was provided me.
There’s something quaint and comforting about gathering your friends and heading out onto the open road with no expectations and no more than what you can carry. More often than not, you’ll find yourself in a surprisingly incredible place, humbled by nature and the freedom that your bicycle — your vehicle of emancipation — has provided you.
So as the weather heats up (hopefully) and defrosts your icy heart of the thought that winter would never end, consider taking your bike out for a spin. If nothing else, you’ll burn a few calories. But more than likely, you’ll have a new appreciation for the process of getting from point A to point B.
Geneva Mueller is an avid bike rider who wants everyone to understand the magic. Love letters can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
To enjoy the journey as much as the destination, try a bike
Being involved in a community can really impact how you view transportation
Don’t just go from point A to B; make it an experience.