Nobody has to tell Michael Addiscott what’s blooming in their gardens. As he cycles past on his way to work in the morning, he can smell it.
“I can tell you the season by the smell of the hedgerows,” said Addiscott, the chief organizer for Bike to Work Week. “You don’t get to pick out all the different bird songs when you’re driving.”
That’s one of the side benefits of cycling to work or to pick up groceries or to meet friends at a coffee shop. As he puts it, you don’t watch life, you live it.
“You’re so in touch with this wonderful environment we live in,” he said. “You don’t just see it through a window, you move through it. You know which way the wind is blowing. It’s the way we are meant to be as organisms. We are meant to be outside, living life, not hiding from it.”
Even when the weather gets nasty, he said, he still rides to his Outsider store in Qualicum Beach. Not only that, he still enjoys it.
“People who used to say I’ll never ride in the rain might get caught out once and realize hey, that wasn’t so bad,” he said. “Maybe I’ll just pack a shell jacket, because I’m starting to enjoy this.”
That, he said, is key. The more one rides, the more one wants to ride.
“Once people start to feel the benefits they stop looking for objections and start doing more, rather than less,” he said. “The more you do it, the more rewarding it gets.”
Addiscott wants to make it perfectly clear that he doesn’t hate automobiles.
They have their place.
However, he thinks people might want to consider other alternatives for their short-distance travel needs on occasion.
“Cars are great. They really are, and they do serve a purpose. The way our society is set up, most people can’t do without them. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t better alternatives for local journeys,” he said. “It makes no sense to just default to the car all the time.”