Since the April edition of #30DaysofBiking starts tomorrow, I’m going to try and keep this short. Otherwise I’ll be writing this until I’m 15 into my 30!

What is it?

It’s a celebration, bitches! It’s celebrating bikes by riding them everyday for the entire month of April (and September). The official description states: “The only rule for 30 Days of Biking is that you bike every day for 30 days—around the block, 20 miles to work, whatever suits you—then share your adventures online. We believe biking enriches life, builds community, and preserves the Earth. This is the second year, and third round, of 30 Days of Biking!”

What is it for me?

It’s everything stated above, but it’s the process that you go through during those 30 days that I find so intriguing. Sure, the holy grail for many is commuting to work. But that’s only one part of a “Want some carryout? Use your bike and pick it up yourself!”much larger picture. What was most revealing for me, was how I began looking for a multitude of opportunities to integrate the bike into my daily life. Need to pick something up from convenience store down the street? Use your bike. Want a cup of coffee a few miles away? Use your bike. Thinking of sightseeing or visiting a park or monument? Go by bike. Want some carryout? Use your bike and pick it up yourself! We’ve been conditioned so thoroughly to choose the car that it almost seems an impossibly herculean task to use anything but.

Cycleboredom | Day 3 - #30DaysofBiking

Small trips become easy

Once you start making those small trips by bike, you begin to notice how close everything actually is. Living in Arlington, VA we’re subjected to the traffic going in and out of DC on a daily basis. Some areas of Arlington are so impassable by car during both rush hours that you completely avoid them altogether. Yet with a bike, you’re able to dodge ALL of that congestion by accessing quiet, picturesque backstreets and bike paths. So where you might normally avoid travelling altogether, you’re more willing to make these trips regardless of the time of day. Now, to me, 3 or 4 miles for good coffee or food is a very short, enjoyable trip.

Cycleboredom | Day 5 - #30DaysofBiking

Discovering your community

Next, as you become accustomed to riding everywhere on both long and short trips you start noticing your surroundings. You see things you might never have seen by car. You’ll take new routes where, new buildings, houses, and similar experiences flood your senses. You hear things otherwise impossible by car. You smell things (good and bad) that air conditioning would’ve filtered. Then best of all, you start interacting with people. You know those weirdos you see out running, or walking, or riding bikes when you’re speeding by? Now you’re one of them. Some say “Hi!” Some wave, “The disconnect caused by your steel barrier-box on wheels is gone when you’re street level.”some nod, and yes, some ignore you, but the odds of actually interacting with members of the human race increases exponentially. But for this to truly be a rewarding experience, you have to engage them. The moment you do, the world starts getting a little smaller and a little warmer. Think about your average emotion while driving a car when dealing with other people. It’s usually indifference, or irritation, or worse yet: rage. The disconnect caused by your steel barrier-box on wheels is gone when you’re street level.

Cycleboredom | Day 28 - #30DaysofBiking

Discovering yourself

Lastly, you’ll be subjecting yourself to physical exertion. You’ll be placing yourself in unknown situations. You’ll be challenging yourself on a daily basis, and you’ll come out stronger in the end. Your first trip down to the convenience store for a drink is an achievement. Then you’ll add in distance. Or it could be new roads with more traffic. Then you finally use your bike as a conveyance of cargo. The first time you bike carrying more than you ever thought possible is potentially the most liberating part of the 30 Days of Biking.

Beyond the #30

I was so amped upon completing my first #30DaysofBiking, that I wanted to continue the process of documenting my bike lifestyle. That’s where the #EverydayByBike series and hashtag came from. While I don’t need to be on my bike every single day (freelancer working from home), I make sure that when there’s an opportunity, I choose the bike over the car. I’ve been doing it so much that I actually feel defeated when forced for one reason or another to use the car. Below I’ve included the slideshows of my #30Days and #Everyday Flickr sets.