How Bike Commuting 20 miles Each Way Affects My Mood

I am by nature a curious mix:  sometimes people call me  an upbeat and sunny-dispositioned fellow, but I also possess a dark, cynical, world-will-end-soon mood at times.  My set point and natural resting state is pretty cheerful, but too many hours of the New York Times or NPR news will put me in a sour mood, as I sit up and take notice of the awful things going on in the real world, a world which I manage to ignore most of the time.  Keep calm and carry on, and all that.

Now that I’ve been commuting to and from work (20 miles each way) for three months, I am pleased to report that my mood has shifted toward sunny me and away from dark, cynical me.  The constant exercising is somehow re-wiring my brain and making me disposed to feelings of contentment and satisfaction a much higher percentage of the day.

If you know someone who suffers from mild to moderate depression, see if they won’t try one month of bike commuting instead of driving (at least a few days a week) and have them report back to you.

My hunch is they’ll notice a positive change that will make cycling worth the trouble.  It’s often the getting started that’s the hardest part.Image

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About My Electric Bike

I ride a bicycle 22 miles each way to and from work several days each week.  when the days lengthen out, I intend to do it nearly every day.  So that will be about 200 miles a week, assuming I don’t ride on weekends.

But I cheat a bit.

You see, my bike has a 500 watt electric motor and a gargantuan lithium ion battery pack that together can assist me for the entire distance from home to work ( I am on fumes when I arrive, so I have a charger here to get it ready for the evening’s ride home.  It needs at least 5 hours to get ready, but I always am at the office at least that long).

Some people seem to think that I don’t get any exercise on the electric bike.  Not so:  it’s a hell of a workout, but it’s just that I can go a lot faster than I could on my regular bike, and it makes the long commute doable in both directions.

My research thus far suggests that a suitable electric bike for a long commute costs a minimum of $2000, and you can spend a lot more than that if you want to go crazy.  The Mercedes Smart Bike (about 3,400 US dollars) and the Audi Worthersee (which will set you back a bundle more than the Mercedes) are just a couple of examples.

But my prosaic, mostly Chinese made Verve from EZGreenBikes in Dana Point, CA is thus far just enough but not too much bike for my particular needs: it’s heavy at 60 pounds, but not so heavy I can’t load it on a train, it doesn’t need to be licensed at the Department of Motor Vehicles, and it gets me worked out and to the office without depreciating the value of my auto or costing me fuel dollars.

I like it a lot, the riding, the sun, staying off of the freeway, the breezes, the exercise, and the way it makes me feel when I get to work and back home again.

The tricky part is going to be doing this every day and not getting killed in the process, and that’s the challenge I’ll talk about next time.

Ta for now.