Wellness in 2-Wheeled Wanderings
Picture a person riding a bike in America and what comes to mind? Spandex, sweat, middle-aged men, contorted faces, epic hills, long distances, chain grease and carbon fiber are usually part of the stereotype. Sounds awesome! Just kidding. Now, do the same thing with northern Europe and you visualize the young, the old, men, women, normal clothing, smiles, upright postures, short trips and bikes carrying “stuff”. This is much more appealing to everyday people. I want Bikabout to inspire this social norm in North America, with physical wellness not as the goal, but rather the convenient side effect of people experiencing life and tourism by bike.
Gallup defines well being as equal parts Social, Financial, Community, Career and Physical. Studies show that people who bike to work and school are more engaged (career); bikes are significantly the most economical form of transportation (financial); and the most obvious correlation is with the physical benefits from riding a bike. But it’s the social and community pie wedges that are not only the most underrated, but the greatest gateway drug to hopping on a bike, with convenience always ranking at the top of “why you bike” surveys.
When you’re biking, and you smell something delicious, you can go find the source of that wonderful smell and give them some money. If an amazing park inspires you to admire the flowers for an extra hour, you don’t have to worry about parking meters or bus schedules. Seeing a city by bike combines all of the freedom of walking with the range and speed of mass transit. Seeing a city by bike stacks the cosmic deck of unintended happy consequences in your favor by letting you interact with your environment instead of watching it go by out a window. You discover. You eat. You drink. You reflect.
With regards to social wellness, one need only watch an elementary school getting out in Amsterdam, with a queue of waiting parents on bikes chatting with each other instead of a queue of idling cars wrapped around the block, to know that bikes keep us in contact with each other. We can’t count how many times we’ve run into friends in Boston or Cambridge as we’re biking home from work, only to ride together and chat (or stop for a beer).
I tell people that Bikabout isn’t even about the bike. It’s about the experience it unlocks and the senses it awakens.
Bikabout.com promises to deliver experiences that leave a smile-inducing memory. Bike curious folks that want staycation or city destination ideas should visit our website (think of it as the Lonely Planet or TripAdvisor for biking) to make reservations for bike rentals, tour operators and bike-friendly flights, trains, buses, hotels and Airbnbs. And IMHO, our most unique offering is free, cultural bike maps. Bikabout works with locals who curate their favorite bike ride with off-the-beaten-path sights and culinary institutions sprinkled along the way. All the routes are less than 20 miles and designed for 8-80 year olds in normal clothing. With 40+ routes in total, there’s something for everyone like "See Food Tour in Charleston", "Williamsburg & Greenpoint Like a Local" and "Montreal's Mont Royal".
It was in 2001 that I found my bike again when I moved to Madison, WI from Atlanta. Over the next 2 years, I would lose 10 pounds by doing nothing besides biking to school, work and errand running. The convenience of riding is why I started, the random run-ins with people kept me inspired and feeling good about myself is what has made me design a bike centric lifestyle since.
I guarantee that a roll with us will get you hooked on the bike and inspire a lifetime of sustainable wellness!