Biking is sensual. It stimulates my senses in a fashion that traveling by car cannot and immerses me in my environment.
I am dazzled by the array of colors I see in rhododenrons, azaleas, and tulips in my neighborhood. The chalked hopscotch and foursquare boxes on the sidewalk amuse me. I make mental notes of upcoming yard sales and community events I see posted on the utility poles as I roll by. Sometimes I encounter a sunset so breathtaking, that I am compelled to pull my bike off the street to admire it.
When biking to work on spring mornings, I become heady from the wafts of floral scents that my nose detects from lilacs, lavenders and other plants in bloom. I can smell the fishiness of the marine air and my stomach grumbles when I catch the yummy smells from nearby bakeries.
My ears catch so many sounds as I bicycle between home and work. Cooper, my neighbor's dog, barks his greeting each morning as I pass through the alley. I eavesdrop on snippets of private conversation as I roll by the bus stop. The joyous laughter of children and their light footfalls reach my ears. I hear a ferry sound its foghorn in Elliott Bay.
It's thrilling to feel the wind on my face as I coast downhill on my way to work. It's comforting to feel the warm sun on my shoulders after days of riding with overcast skies. It's refreshing to be splashed by water from lawn sprinklers and garden hoses as I ride by.
Sometimes, as I bike through my neighborhood, I catch a whiff of bacon so pronounced that I can taste it. I detect a salty flavor in the rain as it comes ashore from Puget Sound. I appreciate the refreshing glass of lemonade that I buy from the entrepreneurial kid who set up a lemonade stand on the corner.
Heightened senses are a key ingredient to my survival on the streets too.
My eyes constantly scan for movement and hazards around me. I track the cat on the sidewalk that might dart out in front of me. I anticipate the left turning motorist who crosses my line of travel. I’m on the lookout for potholes, glass and other street hazards that are a bane to cyclists.
I listen for the sound of vehicles approaching from behind me, and I wish that passing cyclists would give me some sort of audible warning as well. I’m alert to the warning bark of dogs as they prepare to give chase. I’m bummed when I hear the hissing sound of air escaping from my tire as it goes flat.
When I’m on a bike, I can feel the road. I experience the smoothness of blacktop and the pebbly rocks in chip seal. I am jarred by potholes and shaken to the bone by rumble strips. I feel the heat of the day rising from the pavement in the summer. I am buffeted by the wind created by a passing semi truck.
Yes, biking is sensual. It confirms that I am alive!