Biking replaces travel with introspection

I’ve always enjoyed biking. One random fun fact about me is that I didn’t get my driver’s license until I was 19. It was just never something I actually put a lot of effort into trying to obtain. Throughout high school, my main method of transportation (besides rides from my parents) was biking. I used to bike 10-12 miles almost every day.

Going back even further than high school, though, I still remember when I used to live out in Kindred (a small town about 20 miles out of Fargo), and I used to bike all around the nearby area. I remember biking with my parents, my dad teaching how to ride a bike while simultaneously explaining the physics behind it.
Biking has been a huge part of my life in ways I didn’t even notice until looking back at it. Sometimes I would do it with my parents or siblings as we traveled, and sometimes I would just do it to be alone with myself and my thoughts.

Now that I have my driver’s license, I don’t bike as much as I used to, but I still enjoy biking. It isn’t as much for transportation as it is for fun. When I was younger, there was nothing I loved more than biking down to the movie theater to see the latest big blockbuster summer movie. Now I am more likely to drive there with a group of friends, but I still like to bike to movies occasionally.

There are quite a few advantages to biking. First of all, it saves on gas which is helpful as my van doesn’t have the greatest mileage. Also, it’s a great workout, which is good for me as well, since I don’t really do a lot of other physical activity.

However, I think one advantage of biking that’s often overlooked is being able to just take in the beauty that nature has to offer.

I think one of the most underrated pleasures of life is just taking in the scenery. You don’t really get a chance to take much in driving because you’re looking at the car in front of you. When you are biking you can still go long distances quicker than walking, but it is also slow enough to be able to take in the sights around you.
To be fair, Grand Forks doesn’t have many sights. It’s not quite New York, but at the same time, there is something to be said for what downtown Grand Forks has to offer visually. Plus the Greenway and the bike trail network in town are really great.

Biking can be good for exercise, saving gas and scenery viewing. All of those things factor into why I bike, but none of them are the main reason. The main reason I bike is that it’s fun. I enjoy every part of it. I enjoy the feeling of racing down a sidewalk. I enjoy the struggle of going up a hill to get to the thrill of coasting down it.
I even enjoy biking in that one part after winter where there are huge puddles everywhere, and sometimes the sidewalks are straight up underwater. I enjoy the wind at my back pushing me faster and faster. I enjoy fighting against strong winds to make it to my next goal.

The other advantage of biking for transportation is that it gives you a goal to work towards and doesn’t let you quit until you reach that goal. Say, for example, you are five miles from home, and the winds are against you. The only way to get home is by biking all that way. Is it difficult? Certainly, but it is that difficulty that makes success taste that much sweeter.

Like any leisure activity, biking has its advantages and disadvantages. However, I personally enjoy both the positives and the negatives of biking as it is the negatives that make the positives so enjoyable.

Mike Rauser is a staff writer for The Dakota Student. He can be reached at [email protected].