I love bicycles. Not just riding bicycles, mind you – bicycles themselves. As someone who spends his days looking for ideas with world-changing potential, I am struck by their ability to address several of society’s challenges at once. Want to lose weight and fend off conditions like heart disease and diabetes? Want to reduce air pollution and traffic congestion? Want to conserve our limited supply of fossil fuels? Want to simply get from point A to point B? How many simple inventions – accessible to virtually everyone – can address so many serious issues at once? Talk about world-changing!
And hey, it’s just fun.
Me? I’m a bonafide bike commuter. Twice a day, home to work and back again. It’s usually the most relaxing part of my day – certainly the most pensive. You enter a special mental state on a bike, alert with a heightened awareness of your surroundings, but also able to let your mind wander – it’s a great time for mulling sticky problems (welcome to my life) and getting a fresh perspective on them. You see things you never noticed before on a bike, both in the landscape and in your thoughts.
In short, it’s like meditation.
And I’m lucky. I live in a beautiful hilly area surrounding Jersualem. There’s always a breeze and it’s lush green most of the year. It goes without saying there’s a certain magic in the air in this particular area. A few millennia of the world’s major religions, culture and spirit seeping into every rock and tree will do that to a place. All of the above combined puts me in that unique zone which I look forward to every single day.
In a car, the world may as well be flat. On a bike, we realize it’s rarely ever truly so. But the greater the effort it takes to propel ourselves up a hill, the more fun the ride down the other side usually is. We spend so much time cut off from the natural world, but a daily ride ensures you have that small connection with it every day. Riding a bike is never boring. People all over the world are rediscovering the utility, practicality and fun of riding a bike. As the Chinese move from bikes to cars, many countries are going in the other direction…and they’re getting there on a bike.
Hope to see you out on the road.
Read Ran's posts on innovation, society, and the world at large.