Try a Little Harder, be a Little Healther

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by Andi Goddeyne

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“My boyfriend doesn’t want to get his license because he rides his bike everywhere he goes. “

That’s the sentence I say just before I find myself on the receiving end of incredulous, judgmental, and scrutinizing looks.

It’s true. My boyfriend doesn’t have a car or a license – not because he is incapable of getting them, but simply because he doesn’t have a need for either. He has a bicycle he rides faithfully, sometimes for fun, sometimes to run errands, sometimes to get to work.

I was like many others when I first met him and found that he didn’t have a license. I thought, “Is this guy crazy?” No. He is actually just extremely healthy. In time, I realized he is completely sane, and perhaps I am trying to push society’s poor outlook on alternative transportation onto a man who embraces it. He doesn’t have a family to tote around, just himself.

Alternative transportation is exactly as it sounds: anything other than a car. It doesn’t have to mean biking or walking, it could mean the bus, even though that has a motor. To me, alternative transportation means trying to help the environment. More people riding the bus means fewer exhaust fumes in the air. I’m not a strong tree hugger; I have a car that I drive faithfully, each and every day.

The problem though, is that I drive it everywhere, literally everywhere, each and every day. I need to grab groceries from down the road? I drive my car. I need to stop at a convenient store around the corner? I drive my car. Going to school? I drive my car. See where I’m going with this?

The comical part? I have to pay for parking. Downtown? The University? Yeah, I pay to park my car there every day. If I had rode my bike it would be locked on the bike rack. For free. My boyfriend saves so much money on gas and car insurance every year, it’s a little unbelievable.

It seems we are constantly coming up with reasons why we can’t choose alternative transportation. It takes too long, you might be late for work, or you might break a sweat.

My boyfriend isn’t late to work any more often than the average driver. Yes, he does break a sweat, but

he also gets in shape while doing so. It doesn’t take him longer than 25 minutes to ride down from one end of North Avenue to the other. 15 if he is pushing it. During rush hour traffic, it takes me just as long to travel the same distance. I don’t burn many calories doing it, either. 

My boyfriend is in the best shape I have ever seen him. His legs are rock hard. He doesn’t have to hit the gym for an hour every day to do it, he simply rides his bike, which is something he thoroughly enjoys doing. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in every three American adults is obese. This raises the risk for type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and certain cancers. I can’t help but wonder if embracing alternative transportation would help this number decline.

I get it, by the way. My boyfriend is an exception, perhaps. He sits on one side of the spectrum for alternative transportation. Not everyone wants to give their car away and do it all the time. Neither do I.

I’m just suggesting that maybe we try a little harder to be a little healthier. Our bodies will thank us, indefinitely.

For more information on obesity, click here

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