My colleagues were teasing me. They were insisting that I should come to the office by bicycle the next day. I always took the train, but they were riding their bikes to the office regularly. It was no big deal for them, but I wasn’t sure if I could do it.
‘Look, it’s only 13.6 km (8.5mi)!’ said one of them, showing me Google Maps.
‘Yeah, but you guys are used to biking. I am not,’ I said.
‘Come on. This is the kind of thing that will give you a man-point,’ he said. ‘Just come here by bike tomorrow. It’s not that hard. It only takes 45 minutes for me to get here,’ he insisted.
But I wasn’t convinced.
The Various Excuses I Came up with
I had good reasons why I didn’t bike. In fact, someone (the CEO) had already encouraged me to do so a few times before. But I always said no. For me, taking the train was definitely the most obvious choice and biking was not a practical way to commute.
Here are some of the things I thought:
- I’d taken the train to work for as long as I could remember. It wasn’t just unimaginable that I could bike instead of taking the train.
- It took me nearly 10 minutes (at least it felt like it) to get to the nearest station from home. Then how long would it take to get to the office which was 13 stations away?
- Some of the employees (and the CEO especially) had been biking already. I thought they were incredibly tough people, if not crazy.
- I had biked a few times to get to a few stations away and it had taken quite some time. From my rough estimation, it would take at least one and a half hour to get to the office.
- I remembered that there were slopes somewhere along the way. I would get tired very quickly if I had to bike all my way up.
- What would happen if you got too tired halfway? You wouldn’t be able to just take the train because you cannot leave your bike in a random place.
- Even if you could bike all the way to the office, what would happen if you decided to go out after work and the place is even farther than home? Sure, you can leave the bike at the office. But it would mean that when you took the train to go home, you would have to walk from the nearest station to your place. You wouldn’t want to do that when you were tired from work and the party would you?
The thing is, it is very easy to come up with reasons that you can’t do something.
But then, I began to see things differently.
How I Changed my Mind
After I had that conversation with my colleagues, the idea of biking to the office was stuck in my head. So I gave it a bit of thought.
Then, the idea started to sound much more feasible.
- As far as I remembered, the average cycling speed was around 20 km/h (12 mph). If Google says that the walking distance between my place and the office is 13.6km, it would take less than an hour if there were no traffic lights. Less than an hour was not that bad at all.
- Even if it took longer, I could always leave the bike at the office and take the train back home. Sure, I would have to walk from the train station to home but I’d done that countless times already and it was bearable.
- If I got tired halfway, I could take a break.
- Even if the other guys at the office were tougher, it wouldn’t take me twice as long as them. Even if it did take twice the time, it still wouldn’t be that serious.
Before I knew it, I had decided that I would ride my bike the next day.
What Happened the Following Day
So I did bike. And it was nothing.
The roads were quite straightforward and very easy to navigate. Even though there were slopes, they weren’t as bad as I thought. As for the time, to my surprise, it didn’t even take me an hour. (It took 56 minutes, to be precise.)
In short, it was far easier done than said. The only reason that I was thinking that it wouldn’t be possible was because it was something I had never done before.
People often think that things are not possible because they are things they are not used to doing. It seems like I was just too lazy to give it a serious thought.
And who knows? I am already thinking of biking a couple of days a week. It’s actually a very good way to exercise. You don’t have to pay for the gym; obviously, biking’s completely free. And you have to commute anyway so you don’t have to dedicate special time to it. It seems like it has many upsides and very few downsides.