Can a Bike Change Me?


It’s about that time.  Time to get a little be philosophical and dig deep into the meaning of  CarFreeBrad as I approach the 1-Year mark.

This question popped into my head late last night after I had missed the last train out of Boston and had to catch the 1125 to Framingham and then get picked up by my girlfriend at an ungodly hour.  The debacle and course of events that led up to that is a story for another time.

But what I’ve realized is that “yes”, a bike can change me.  Over the past year I’ve had to learn to be more vulnerable.  No, I don’t cry all the time and I’m still give notoriously awkward hugs but I’m learning to accept help.

I tend to live my life in extremes and I’m a 100% or nothing person(most of the time).  This has served me well in many respects but not others.  One major area of difficulty is accepting and acknowledging that I need help or have received help.  I realized that this character trait doesn’t allow me to feel both strong and weak at the same time.  I get stuck in my own mental “black and white” world of either completely helpless or completely helpful.  In reality neither of those are true and we all fall somewhere in the middle.

What does this have to do with CarFreeBrad?  In short, everything.  Navigating a rather “Un-Bike Friendly” city and commuter rail system has forced me to start to change.  I’ll be the first to admit it hasn’t actually changed my behavior all that much and I’d probably walk barefoot through a blizzard rather than ask for help but the seeds of change have been planted.  Because you can’t hit what you don’t see, the fact that I can now see that is a huge step in hitting this problem.

My behavior most likely won’t change overnight and I’ll make life 10 times harder for myself at least a few more times by refusing to ask for/acknowledge help.  The positive change now is that I’ll feel like an idiot because of it and recognize that it’s dumb.  If I can get over the mental hurdle of recognizing that needing/accepting help doesn’t make me weak, I’m on the road to real change.

With that I’d like to give a most heartfelt “THANK YOU” to everyone(you know who you are) that has helped me over the past year on my CarFree journey.  I most likely didn’t show you the proper gratitude or may have refused to acknowledge that I couldn’t have done it without you and for that I apologize.

So YES, a bike has changed me and I hope will continue to so that I can treat those in my life a bit better everyday.

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