The Chainlink

is biking to work making you a happier person, or an angrier one?

So - I love riding my bike to work (which happens to be in downtown chicago).

However, I often arrive at work angry and/or sad and/or shaken by the behavior of clueless, distracted, thoughtless, reckless, etc. drivers…and sometimes pedestrians…and sometimes other bikers.

My assumption has always been that riding to work wakes me up, and energizes me, and makes me happier, but this morning I was thinking: Am I confusing “angry” with “awake”?

Does starting the day off in fighter mode change our days (and how we behave ourselves) for the worse?

anyone else have these thoughts on their way to work? 

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Happier! No matter what my day is like, there's at least 45 minutes of good in it.

When I ride my bike, I can't be bothered with a text message or headphones. I don't have to take calls from angry customers, or debate insignificant issues with classmates. Cycling is meditation, my one chance to "zone out" and focus on the road and the ride. It's becoming so important to me the busier I get. I find my head a lot less murky and frustrated after every ride, and can always justify it  - sometimes I forget that I bike for practical purposes, too. 

People have already become super critical of my method of transport, saying that riding around in the cold might make me sick. I don't think it's coincidence that my only cold so far came right after three days of solid El/bus travel. I'd rather be bundled up in the chilly air than warm inside a sealed box full of snotty noses and who knows what else!  Plus, waiting for a bus in the freezing cold is one of the most powerless feelings ... ick. 

So, definitely happier! And healthier, mentally and physically.

The process definitely makes me happier. I'm more awake and aware and it's 1000x more preferable to being half-awake and squashed in the 66 eastbound bus. However lately riding down Chicago Ave. to get to work has been making me more nervous than usual, mostly just because of news of recent crashes. I just need to choose a new route to work and I know that will decrease the nervousness and stress a lot.

Well, I like the ride to work. Been riding to & from work since about May (unless I have some class or court case to go to and need to be in uniform). I feel okay just riding in. Approx. 30 mins (fastest - 22 mins, slowest 43 mins) Some drivers make me upset, but I just deal with it. I am big enough (I like to think that I am ugly enough) that most people just don't bother with me.

However, I feel great and ready to tackle the world (literally) after I have taken a shower at work. (yes, I am blessed to have a shower in our locker room - not rubbing it in.).

Then the ride home....ahhhhhhh!!!!! Total bliss !!! as I watch all the drivers stuck in traffic, angry at the world that they have allowed themselve to be restrained by.

Plus, it beats an hour or hour and a half bus & train commute (either way) !!!!!

+1 to this :

Dovah Cat said:

When I ride my bike, I can't be bothered with a text message or headphones. I don't have to take calls from angry customers, or debate insignificant issues with classmates. Cycling is meditation, my one chance to "zone out" and focus on the road and the ride. It's becoming so important to me the busier I get. I find my head a lot less murky and frustrated after every ride, and can always justify it  - sometimes I forget that I bike for practical purposes, too. 

People have already become super critical of my method of transport, saying that riding around in the cold might make me sick. I don't think it's coincidence that my only cold so far came right after three days of solid El/bus travel. I'd rather be bundled up in the chilly air than warm inside a sealed box full of snotty noses and who knows what else!  Plus, waiting for a bus in the freezing cold is one of the most powerless feelings ... ick. 

So, definitely happier! And healthier, mentally and physically.

This morning...definitely happier.
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I certainly get angry at idiot drivers during my commute, but that sentiment typically only lasts a minute or so. I love riding my bike and I'm not going to let a bunch of clueless idiots ruin that feeling.

Cycling to work almost always makes me a happier person. I feel that the time spent on bike is my own. Whereas time spent sitting on the bus or train is lost. (thought hastily typeded on phone)

Well said Adam!  I LOVE biking to work, especially when its cold out.  (Yes, love it.)  It feels refreshing and all my muscles get nice and warmed up.  Sometimes I take side streets so that I can avoid the crazy traffic (car, bike, bus and pedestrian) on streets like Milwaukee.  And I leave my house with plenty of time to get there.  Rushing to work in the morning is just asking for trouble, whether you are in a car or on a bike.  People do get crazy in the city, but if you ride with calmness, caution and consideration then it minimizes the temptation to get frustrated. 

I have been considering this question over the last couple weeks after getting hit on my commute home--I was right hooked at Chicago and Ogden; the driver didn't have their turn signal on. Despite my frustrations with drivers (I also got doored on Milwaukee during a morning commute last winter), I love the independence of bike commuting and find that despite my new-found  additional nerves, I miss riding my bike. It does make me happier and I love the connection I feel with the changing seasons and really experiencing the city en route. Hope to be back on the road soon after some bike repair. 

P.S. There are definitely days when I'm sure anger/fear=a jolt awake.

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