393702_10100598139765012_2063678406_nI’m assuming because you are reading this post, I don’t need to extoll the virtues of bicycle riding.

I figure you already know riding a bike is a healthy, cheap, efficient and fun way to get around or exercise.

For me, though, it’s the little joys that aren’t among bicycling’s major talking points that have been bringing a smile to my face lately. My “bike joys” as I am dubbing them have  reminded me why I love riding my bike.

The first is the smells. As strange as it may sound, riding home in the evening as people are cooking dinner, there are all sorts of delicious smells that waft into the streets. It gets me imaging other people’s lives and connects me to the people who live along the roads I ride.

In a car I’d never experience it the way I do on a bike.

The second is when you notice something on the ride you’ve taken a thousand times, but you until that moment missed seeing. It’s almost the opposite of deja vu. Sometimes it’s a house or a plant or a fence. It can be anything at all really, but all of a sudden one day you notice it and it’s like it just appeared, though you’ve been riding by it everyday.

I’m not sure why I enjoy that feeling so much and I suppose that could happen in a car, but in a car you are so disconnected from your surroundings, I don’t think it would be as profound.

What I really want to know however is… What are the unexpected joys riding a bike brings you? What’s your bike joy?

If you are a twitter user, use the hashtag #bikejoy to share yours.

8 thoughts on “The unexpected joys of riding a bike”
  1. I love the smell of people cooking dinner in the evening too.  Biking connects me to the world so closely.

  2. Yes to the smells of people cooking dinner 🙂 And for me also (in no particular order): Feeling the chill on my face, while the rest of me is all bundled up for a ride home on a cold day. Catching something out of the corner of my eye -say, an awsome holiday light display- up a side street and veering of on a dime to take a closer look, just because I can (on a car it goes by far too fast to really register, so these chances are often not taken…and really cool things are missed). The feel and smell of a hot cup of coffe,or tea, or hot chocolate after the aformentioned ride home…it just tastes so much better. But mostly, seeing more and more people of all ages, and in all kinds of bikes out riding. Now that is priceless!

  3. Often on my commute to work, I’ll see someone I know. I’ll stop, say hello, exchange pleasantries, etc.  This could NEVER happen in a car.
    Also, I might see another rider on my commute, strike up a conversation and just like that, I’ve got a new friend. This has also happened often, and would NEVER happen in a car.

  4. In no special order: Owning the major arterials very early weekend mornings in the summer fast and fast!, scaredy urban coyotes in the neighborhood streets early mornings near the washes, the blase’ mountain lion on the shoulder along Silverbell (actually circled back and he/she was meh about it). Monsoon smells. Oncoming cyclists ringing their bike bells.

  5. Yes, the smells of dinner cooking.  Especially in the barrios!  Greg mentioned the treasures.  That’s true, you find stuff.  I especially like the fighter jet feeling of a top notch road bike.  The agility and quickness is exhilarating.  I’ve given that last one up now that I mostly ride a trike.  In exchange, I get to look at the stars at night and not worry about crashing, and I can take my pitbull with me.  Finally, I love the ‘Professor Fate’ look of my trike and the comments people give me about it.  A couple of folks have told me it’s the coolest thing they’ve ever seen.  I think they’ve lead sheltered lives, but it’s fun to get compliments anyway.

  6. @3wheeler “…fighter jet feeling of a a top notch road bike.”
    Like that analogy,  you nailed it!

  7. I totally agree about the smells of dinner cooking and how it connects you to (or at least makes you wonder a little bit about) the people whose homes you are passing. Sometimes it is murder when I riding hungry, but I love it nonetheless.
    Another small bike joy for me is playing leapfrog on Mountain Ave with cars. A car will pass mid-block, which I will then catch up to at the next stop sign or light, and then the car will pass again, and again I will catch up at the next light or stop sign. This mostly happens right after Salpointe lets out or during other heavy commute times. I’m not sure the drivers even notice, but it is a fun little game I play with myself that makes my commute stretch up Mountain go by quickly.
    I think my greatest bike joy is the rarest, which is maybe why I like it so much: the complete stillness in motion when you are riding with the wind and at the exact speed of the wind. Like I said it is rare. But I just love cruising along at 15mph or so and suddenly it seems like the world is zooming along beside me. No wind noise in my ears, and hot (or frigid) air pressing against my face. It seems easier to pedal, and oh so peaceful.

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