Sweet thoughtful reflections on a year bicycle commuting, courtesy Larry Littlefield

I can’t let the week slither by without highlighting this fantastic blog post about bicycle commuting and exercise in general. Usually Larry writes these storm-and-stress pieces about Generation Greed and the systematic evisceration of state and local budgets by older people in their favor, but on his birthday on Monday he dropped this one, which I really like because he’s not writing to persuade anyone that they should bike to work, as well.

Usually writing about bicycling ends up being overly strident and boring, with a save-the-planet message thrown in: “I am more virtuous than you because I’m on two wheels and you’re not,” kind of thing. Larry sounds almost apologetic that he’s not more of a crackerjack cyclist:

What a great deal riding a bicycle to work has been! Until I actually tried it and found a way to work around the usual objections – work clothing, sweat, weather, traffic—it hadn’t seemed practical to me. Now, good health seems impractical without it. How else would it be possible for an overweight, middle-aged non-athlete, with a sedentary office job, a family and other responsibilities, to get that much exercise, nearly an hour per day?

Plus, he drops mention of one of my favorite things about Brooklyn (and Long Island in general), the ridge that runs down the center where the glaciers stopped on their last advance, the “terminal moraine.”

I typically ride at about 12 to 15 miles per hour on flat ground, but intersections and hills bring the average down to about three times the speed of walking. And taking long walks is about what riding a bicycle that way is like, except for the up hill stretches on the bridges in both directions and up the terminal moraine in the afternoon.

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