Sunday, September 12, 2010

Cycling is my passion - 30 km every day

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.


Ira said...

Deniss, this is so well done of you!
I have recently started cycling to work and stopped using public transport and the bike I bought has probably been my best investment in the past 1 year! The only thing I miss though is reading on the bus :).
Keep safe and many hugs,

Katia said...

Denis, me too, me too!! I so much enjoying the fact that I can go with the bicycle everywhere here in Lund. Not sure how it is in Oslo, but they bike here even when there is snow. So may be you could try? Especially that you have quite a sporty bike which might be able to handle ice and snow. Take care!

Deniss Rutšeikov said...

Girls, it's great you are doing it too! :)

Ira, instead of books you can listen to podcasts. Unlike listening to music while cycling, it doesn't switch you off from the environment (which can be dangerous when many cars are around). On the other hand, you get the same content as from books , yet without straining your eyes. I am downloading documentaries and talk shows from BBC and some Estonian radio stations. Some people listen to audio books.

Katia, yes, Lund is perfect for cycling - totally flat, not too much of car traffic, bicycle roads everywhere. Oslo is not as bicycle-friendly. Let's see about the snow and ice :)

Arker said...

You guys are lucky. I'm from India and the situation here is almost impossible to seriously consider cycling as a transportational conveyance. The roads are pitted , narrow and clogged with traffic not to mention the awful pollution. As if all this weren't enough the mindset of drivers here is aggressively primitive . According to them the road's been laid for motor vehicles and anything else is just asking to be bumped off. The whole notion of exercise is foreign to the people here and anyone taking exercise is looked askance at. As a result the population is physically frail and in advancing ages becomes a breeding ground of ailments and diseases. Cycles are a staple in villages which are insular with a terrible and unreliable public transport system.

ChandraShekar said...

Roads in India are not that bad. I agree that they are more suited for bikes. But You can do cycling as well on them. I cycle to work every day 19.5 kms one way. so approximately 40 kms per day. which keeps me fit and helps in saving time and I can beat the traffic. So far the journey is so good. I started cycling only 4 months back and now iam comfortable.

Aravind Kumar said...

I agree, roads in India sure are not ideal for cycling but you still can. I am from Chennai and i have taken up cycling for the past 3 months. Its been great, both physically and mentally. Going around the city zipping past all others makes up for the lesser average speed. I almost make it faster than motor bikes forget public transportation, which way too slow. But i hate the look on people like i am an Alien or whatever. Believe me, after a few weeks you just feel so comfortable on your cycle that you think twice before taking your Bike or Car again.

Siripa Kanjanapan said...

i am great to read your story




Siripa Kanjanapan said...

i am great to read your story




Gopinathan Tallasery said...

I am from Kerala, lndia. More than the unsuitability of the roads, it is the mind set of the people that discourage them from cycling, I believe. Many people consider cycling low status. It inhibits them from taking up this wonderful activity. I don't care for this idiotic notion of people, and cycle everywhere. It makes fit, more than that it makes me feel great.