There's something serene, along with a sprinkling of smug, about people who practice yoga. They laud the benefits-"Doing yoga has saved my back." "I'm no longer stressed."Self Portrait With Bike
Self Portrait With Bike
If I had the patience to do yoga, I'd also have the attention span to meditate, read the New Yorker and maybe even drive more.
On the other hand, I'm like the yoga folks when it comes to bicycling. I too often wax smugly about the thrill of breezes in my face and never having to deal with rush hour traffic or the search for a parking space. I stay fit and it takes barely more time to get anywhere by bike compared to auto, sometimes less.
Admittedly, biking requires a degree of flexibility about arriving at your destination with wet circles on the underarms of your shirt.
In the winter, when the temperature is in single digits, many bikers hang up their handlebars and I find myself among a reduced population of peddalers.
"I don't get it," I say. "You would ski in this weather as well as sit motionless on a ski lift."Chill, not chilled, on a ski lift
Chill, not chilled, on a ski lift
As for environmental benefits of biking, I accept praise for my smaller footprint, though I confess it has much to do with my disdain for the experience of being behind the wheel of my car, whose battery dies and underbody rusts as a result of remaining stationary in front of my house.
The only drivers I can sort of relate to are those who have soothing rides during which they listen to books on tape.
But I then I remember I have no patience for keeping track of a book's multiple cd's or even uploading cd's to my iPod and then figuring out how to find where I last left off.
Instead, while biking, I listen to NPR and learn things like, you should salt your food right before eating for maximum flavor, because salt releases aroma that enhances taste. If you salt while cooking that aroma disperses into the air rather than into your olfactory senses.
How did I get to salt from where I started with smug yogis and biking? It's like that game where you start with a word, say, "bike." And you change one letter at a time-bile, bale, sale-and end up with "salt."
I used to phone my mom while biking. We'd chatter during a 40-minute ride about the news, the family, Oprah and books, while I pedaled home up a long dark hill after making dinner for my friend whose leg was shattered when a car knocked her off her bicycle in broad daylight.
Sometimes I call a friend while biking, who says, "You shouldn't talk on the phone while biking."
I'm careful, I say, I ride on the sidewalk and I pause to look both ways at driveways. Plus my bike and I are a Christmas tree of reflectors and blinking lights.
If I think about how I could get hit by a car while biking, my stomach flips, but once I mount the seat I feel as calm and free as a yogi.
How do you achieve a biker's high, a yogi's calm?
Unrelated announcement: If you like Avocado, don't miss my article with tons of fabulous ways to use them from on pizza to on your face, as a masque or as shaving cream! Fried bacon anyone? Avocados go great with that too!
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