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I biked everywhere for 3 weeks — and it made me realize 9 critical things about my town, time management, and life itself

ryan ariano i biked everywhere for three weeksCourtesy of Ryan Ariano

  • After years as just a casual biker, I decided to bike everywhere for about 3 weeks while experiencing some car trouble. 
  • In my three weeks, I learned quite a lot about my town, time management, and how to be prepared for just about anything.
  • Biking my commute saved me money and surprisingly, helped me get places earlier. 
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

As John F. Kennedy once said, "Nothing compares to the simple pleasure of a bike ride." Apparently many people — including one of America's favorite presidents — love bicycles. 

I, on the other hand, have never been much of a cyclist. I didn't even own a bike for a decade of my adult life, and rode considerably less than most other kids when I was growing up. I was more of a skateboarder.

In my current hometown of Victor, Idaho, however, not only does everybody bike, but the wide network of bike paths makes it a very easy form of transportation. For those reasons, I bought myself a bike soon after I moved here and from time to time take it on short spins around the valley.

Related: I moved from LA to a town of 2,300 people — here were the biggest culture shocks I faced in small-town America

After spending a few years as a casual cyclist, however, car troubles forced me to get around exclusively by bike for a little less than three weeks. 

As it turns out, not only did riding my bike everywhere for a few weeks change my outlook on my town, it changed my outlook on myself.

Here are some of the most important things I learned during my time on two wheels.

My flat roads are not flat.

Kyle Sparks/Getty Images

The main road I drive on every day, that one I'd always thought was long and flat and straight, apparently goes up and down. It took a ride on the bike path that runs parallel to the road to see a low point. I glided easily on even the slightest downhill, and I could definitely feel it in my legs when trying to climb a gradual incline.

Amazing how I missed something as basic as the topography of the road I drive every day because the up and down was conquered by a gas pedal. 



My town is filled with hidden gems I completely missed in my car.

Karl-Josef Hildenbrand/picture alliance via Getty Images

There's a little spot on my drive home where the road goes over a tree-lined creek. In my truck, it's a sign that I'm getting close to home. But on my bike, it's a shady oasis with a rocky creek running through it. 

When I was riding home one night, I stopped for what I intended to be a few seconds to check it out — a couple minutes later, I finally remembered I had to get home. 

On another bike ride home from a town concert — with my son in front and the sun setting over our shoulders — we both stopped and put down our bikes. We stood there for a few seconds before my boy decided he wanted to walk off the path to the creek to look for rocks, minnows, and bugs. We just barely got home before dark. 

Even now that I'm no longer biking everywhere, I often still bike with my son to town activities, partly so we can pass through this spot. I've learned I can appreciate going slow versus just concentrating on getting to my destination.



Night is dark up here — very dark.

Annette Riedl/picture alliance via Getty Images

In a previous article, I described how small my current town is — so small that there are no streetlights between the two "downtowns." 

One night I was riding home from the bar under a moonless, cloudy sky to my house halfway between the towns. Even with the headlamp I'd put in my jacket, I realized I could hardly see. 

On my bike, I came up on things much quicker than you would on foot, making it even tougher in the dark.

When I got to a broken chunk of pavement, I almost crashed since I was riding basically blind and at speed. At the least, it shook through my whole body, jarring my knee, since my road bike obviously doesn't have shocks

Admittedly, a bike headlight would cut this, but it wouldn't negate the fact that my bike path is very, very dark at night.




See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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SEE ALSO: I do the same simple thing each night before bed, and it's dramatically changed my outlook on life



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