Rediscovering the bycicle

The pandemic has changed us in a lot of ways, and fortunately not all of them have been for the worse. I’ve personally had the chance to work remotely for the first time in my career (I’ve had the option to work from home on occasion before, but only when I had good reason), and this has allowed us to move away from the big city.

I hadn’t had a bike since my childhood. When I was a kid, the bike was among my most prised possessions. It meant freedom, allowing me to go wherever I wanted. It brings me joy to recall the time someone told me my bike would be great for tricks (although I never learnt any), or when I took part of an organised trip to another town (despite the organisers deciding I wouldn’t make it and taking me inside a bus midway through), or the many times every summer we went to the next village where they had an outdoors pool.

For several years, my wife and I’ve been planning on buying bycicles, rediscovering an old hobby, and we never did it, despite many close calls. A web-site once offered a large discount, and we were just checking out when we found out the promotion had expired (we angrily decided not to buy). For one of my wife’s birthdays I actually went to the store, but changed my mind in the last minute because I simply didn’t feel it was the right gift (I never buy a present because one is needed, I just have to know it’s the right one). I believe we never went through with buying bikes because we didn’t feel the big city was a good place for them. Our city was not a cycling city. We’ve been to some bike-friendly cities (for example Munich), and you can tell them apart. You see bikes passing on the streets; chained to racks outside of public buildings; ridden by mums and dads (with small encapsulated carriages pushed or towed behind). Sofia simply didn’t have this.

Back to the pandemic. We’re out of town, next to fields, crops, and forests, and we finally make the purchase. We are now the proud owners of two shiny new mountain bikes. We ride daily, and it does feel at least as fun as when we were kids. It’s probably even better, as we climb steep hills, splash trough brooks, and speed along paved roads.

Taking a break Taking a break after a ride.

Who knows, maybe this great downtime will encourage more people to start riding, discover or rediscover cycling. I’ve read an article claiming the data from the last few months suggests this. Hopefully, every city will become more bike-friendly.

Expressed opinions are my own. I acknowledge I may be wrong, and my opinion may change in the future. If you have any comments, please mail them to vox at ivo.qa (PGP).