I ride because I enjoy it.
I'm not out to save the planet etc etc.
Even when it's pouring rain, or 40 degrees with a headwind, I generally enjoy the ride. I feel better when I'm physically active, especially when I'm pushing myself. Before I had a family and moved to the inner west, I used to ocean swim at Bondi, as well as run up and down the beach and around the suburbs. Running up the bloody enormous hill from Bondi to Bondi Junction was always fun, as was doing the run along the cliffs down to Tamarama and Coogee.
My second motivation is that I want there to be less of me. When I was in the infantry, I weighed around 70 kilos (and I'd lose up to 10% of that every exercise). I now weigh closer to 100 kilos - there is almost 50% more me than back then. There is me, and there is mini-me. Mini-me sits around my middle. Mini-me has to go. Mini-me is the result of spending every Friday and Saturday night in the pub for nearly 20 years, as well as lashings of excellent food. Health Nazis like to rant about how people get fat on fast food. I got fat eating at places like Salt, Aria, Watermark, Bistro Lulu, Rock Pool etc etc. I am coated in expensive, high quality fat.
The third motivation is stress release and relaxation. You may find it strange that riding a bike in peak hour traffic in Sydney could be thought of as relaxing. At times, it's bloody terrifying, and I've come close to deploying a bit of road rage in my time against idiot taxi drivers and couriers. I almost had a go at an idiot in an Audi last night who went through a roundabout right in front of me without giving way or looking because he was fiddling with his mobile phone. He looked like a 60 year old businessman. Unfortunately, I didn't get to keep my SLR and bayonet when I left the reserves, so I can't buttstroke these fools and disembowel them. The commute home allows me to completely forget about work - I never think about work when I'm at home. The ride gets it out of my system. The ride into work also fires me up for the day - I see people dragging themselves into the office half asleep - I'm not one of them.
The fourth reason is that I hate public transport. I like driving my car - but I can't afford to park it in town. I like the personal freedom that comes with the car. The car is a great thing. I am not anti-car by any means. If anything, I am pro-V8 and anti-rice burner. However, I can't stand trains and buses during peak hour. I'm not a small bloke - thanks to rowing in my youth, I'm two feet across the shoulders. I have trouble finding suits and shirts that fit. I take up 2/3 of a bus seat, yet whenever I catch the bus (a very rare event), the fattest woman on the bus always decides to sit next to me. And every one that's sat next to me has a problem with personal hygiene.
When I look outside in the morning and it's freezing and raining and I start to think about how uncomfortable the bike ride could be, I remind myself that the bus trip is likely to be worse. Besides, my average riding time into town is faster than the fastest bus trip I've ever done over the same distance. The bus service out this way is useless. It's taken me over 2 hours to get home sometimes - a distance of around 8km as the crow flies. I could walk home faster than that. Buses shit me to tears.
That will have to do. The kids have woken up, and they want the computer.
One thing's for sure - I'm not doing it for the polar bears.