Those who know me better are mostly aware of one of my ultimate passions - cycling. I sincerely believe that the bicycle has been one of the best inventions of the humankind.
I don't use a bicycle for working out. I use it for recreational purposes sometimes. But most of all, a bicycle is a means of transportation for me.
I used to cycle to and from the work/study locations in the different cities I happened to live before - Tartu, Tallinn, Brno and Berlin. The other cities were just not too suitable for biking (like Split with its narrow medieval streets or Almaty with its traffic jams and sometimes crazy driving culture).
This summer I bought a used bicycle (and the basic equipment) here in Oslo (at the picture on the left). Ever since (for almost two months by now) I have not used the public transportation nor any other means of transportation.
It has been a great exercise for me - I live in a totally different edge of the city from the location of my work. The distance is exactly 15 km one way, which means that I am cycling at least 30 km every working day. And the weekend is no different either - whenever I need to get somewhere more far away from my house than a walking distance. Oslo is situated in a very hilly area - thus, my way is always full of going up and down. I bought the water-proof jacket, the trousers and the cover for the shoes - thus, I am cycling in wind and rain as well.
...and I love it!
It takes me just 5-10 minutes more than the bus, yet I am not dependent on any bus schedules, I'm not wasting my time on commuting and I don't contribute to the traffic pollution. And I feel great both physically and mentally every day thanks to the regular physical exercise. I am planning to cycle as long as I can until the snow and ice will appear here in Oslo.
In addition, bicycle has been a great help for me in order to discover Oslo. I have got the detailed maps of the different parts of Oslo outlining interesting sightseeing spots in the city and around - sometimes, in totally unexpected locations. During the past weekends - when I felt like taking a rest from the studies and other duties - I took the bike, the maps and went to discover the city. By now, I can claim I know the city much better than many of its long-term inhabitants.
There is only one friend of mine of my age who, like me, doesn't have the driving license yet. That might sound strange for many. But I don't miss it. I have never had any special passion for cars. How long can I stay without one? Let's see. But for now I am bicycling and hope to continue with it until the old age. In fact, this is so important for me that I am certainly going to consider cycling opportunities as a transportation whenever choosing where to live and work (specific locations).
In general, I see it as one amazing advantage of the Norwegian society. People do a lot of sport here, they spend a great deal of time outside. While families in many other countries waste most of their weekends in the shopping malls and in front of TV, many Norwegian families go for hiking, sailing, fishing, cycling, skiing, and so on instead (of course, Norwegians shop around and watch TV too). I feel very comfortable with this aspect of the Norwegian society.