Posted by Trevor Culhane
It’s an extremely liberating experience to bike with purpose. Riding a bike is inherently enjoyable, despite the occasional hill, thunderstorm, or inconsiderate car. But, as with everything that does not relate to ambition, bicycling is often considered a hobby, an extracurricular, or even a ‘waste of time’.
I try to fight that mindset– I think any activity is worthwhile if you enjoy it, whether that means trying to cure cancer or going on a hike. Still, the capitalist ideas of productivity and efficiency invade my thoughts when I ride my bike at home or school, my never-ending and increasingly urgent to-do lists stealing my thoughts from the road. But when I’m biking with my team, there are no questions about the value of what I’m doing. True, I still think occasionally think about our plans for the next town, hobbies I should pick up, skills to learn. But it doesn’t make me want to get off my bike, to head back home. Rather, it makes me even more sure that I should be biking, because I am doing so many things I want to be doing in that moment. I’m exercising, I’m having fun, I’m an advertisement for biking, I’m living my values, and, most importantly, I’m working to unite people against climate change. And I’m really happy about it. When I bike, I have a very different mindset than at any other time. I ponder the world, the trees, the people whizzing past in their cars. I don’t keep thoughts long; I don’t have resolutions to my thoughts. I simply let my mind wander. Maybe it’s the smog, maybe it’s the heat, but I think my sense of purpose and accomplishment makes me more at ease than at any other point in my life, even while fighting one of the greatest challenges that has ever faced mankind. I’ve always thought that the purpose of life is to live it.
A circular statement, true, but it’s meant to make the question meaningless. I still agree with that statement; I don’t think there is an inherent reason why life has risen from the elements of the universe, or why I was born. But I still think the idea of making a change, of giving to the community, is fulfilling and meaningful to me, and I’m glad riding my bike is a part of that work.