Road sign on Hwy 101 reading “slow”

Fast and faster

Published 2011-12-06

Dave Moulton wants a bumper sticker: “I’m retired: Just go around me.” The whole thing is worth a read, it totally gets at the zen of traveling by bike.

I’m not even retired and I find that the more I ride, the slower I drive. If there aren’t any cars around me pushing me to go faster I’ll find myself going 10 below the limit.

Weirdly, distances that seem close to me by bike seem to take forever in a car. I used to have a 15mi each-way commute to a nearby suburb (Portland to Hillsboro), and I rode every day as is my wont. It always took about an hour: no time at all! Then one day I had to drive for some reason and it took FOREVER. Like almost THIRTY MINUTES. Intolerable!

I’ve experienced the same sensation driving along routes I have toured: “ah, it only took me eight days to ride the length of the Oregon coast but it takes NINE WHOLE HOURS to drive it!”

I think the illusion of speed — always available, seldom obtained — makes driving miserable. On a bike, I can only go as fast as I can go, which is coincidentally always fast enough.