Here is my favorite thing about getting serious about paying off debt.
In late May, when I decided the debt had to go, I started looking around for a bicycle. I wanted to drive less, having a correspondingly lower gas bill, and to get some frugal exercise (i.e., no gym fees).
I had these thoughts around 9am on a Saturday morning. Around 3pm on the same Saturday, I ran into my downstairs neighbors. Here’s the conversation we had:
Friendly Downstairs Guy: Hey, we’re moving out! You want any of our stuff?
Mrs. DebtFreeJD: Nah, thanks. Unless you have . . . a bike?
Friendly Downstairs Guy: … *Walks into his apartment and walks back out. Throws me a bike key.* Here ya go! It’s the red one locked up to the fence outside.
It was meant to be, apparently. I am now the proud owner of a red, somewhat rusted mountain bike. It’s not in fabulous shape. Also, because it’s a man’s bike, I can’t ride it to work if I’m wearing a dress or skirt.*
Here are the absolute best things about riding it:
- It’s great husband-wife bonding time. Mr. DebtFreeJD and I like to bike around together on the weekends for fun and exercise. We often have fabulous chats on these trips. Sometimes, we’re not talking but just enjoying each other’s company.
- We do our weekly grocery shopping this way. This keeps food purchases to what can be carried on the back of a bike, which is totally enough for two people.
- Biking back from parties at night. First, you can drink a bit and feel fine about riding your bike.** Second, I love riding my bike at night. LOVE. It’s peaceful and beautiful and I feel kind of cool whizzing around our city on a bike after night falls. This is special because lawyers don’t get to feel cool that often.
- My calf muscles look totally amazing.
- I’m burning calories. Excellent, since I get approximately zero other exercise other than walking Dog DebtFreeJD.
- We have gotten to know our city in a way that we wouldn’t if we drove in a car. Obviously, when you bike there’s no big box between you and the city. And you can stop and take a long look at interesting things. By comparison, it’s usually frowned upon if you coming to a screeching halt while driving a car as you shout: “Mr. DebtFreeJD, look at that weird half-tailed squirrel!!!”
- You don’t have to park your car when you arrive. Enough said.
- Being outdoors. I spent a lot of time in my office hunched over a computer. Spending my free time under the sun (rather than under florescent lights), moving my legs around (rather than stuck in an office chair) is pretty much the best thing ever.
In short, although this post is an Ode to the Bicycle, I feel like I could write an entire book on it. GO BIKES!
*Er, at least I shouldn’t wear anything but pants while I’m on it. Unless I want to run the risk of displaying my underwear to all our neighbors. However, sometimes the choice is: be late to work, or let the neighborhood know how pale my upper legs are. I will leave it to you to guess what my decision is on that.
**Although I’m not drinking right now.