This saddened me because I remember how stunning, even breathtaking, I found the same vistas in January. When the clouds and rain gave us surcease, the mountains came out looking close enough to touch. The Cascades and Olympics stood out vividly, their snow-capped peaks cutting boldly across the wintry blue sky, their foothills definitively black and navy and purple. Sunrise light (which coincided with my morning commute) gilded Mt. Rainier and its shawl of wispy clouds, later turning the snow the colors of a Dream Come True.
Comparing my memory of the crisp winter mountain views with the summer's smoggy blur reinforced my top reason for bicycling: reducing my environmental impact. Cutting carbon footprint isn't on the forefront of most bicyclists' minds. People usually ride to save money -- that's the number one reason. Other reasons to ride include:
- Building exercise into your day (don't pay for a gym membership, don't have to exercise the willpower to workout after a long day, don't have to fit it in time-wise);
- Not needing to buy gas (which goes back to money, not supporting foreign nations, and contributing less to horrific environmental disasters);
- Easier parking (park in your cubicle, against any fence or post, in pretty much any secure place, or, in Pioneer Square, BIKE PORT); and
- Faster commuting (in the city riding often outpaces taking a bus or driving; see here and here)