Reasons that Rural Riding Rocks (Part two)

Disclaimer: I have never actually lived in a city, so I get my perception of city biking from what I read online. Therefore, I am sure I have a skewed idea of what it is actually like.

One reason I am so glad I bike in the country is all the animals I get to see on a daily basis. But there are other reasons to love rural riding.

It’s Mine
When I bike in the morning to work I see three to twelve cars. This is on one of the two busiest road in my community. If I want to bike without any cars there are lots of roads to choose from. On one of my favorite summer routes I never saw a single car, even though I biked it almost every week.

As for other cyclists I have seen maybe two dozen since this April, although my commute is a “bike route”. And while it is quite sad that there aren’t many people bicycling in my area, there is a silver lining.

I own the road. It is mine. I can do with it what I like. Evil grin.

Minimal Nasty Drivers
I read posts in forums written by people who bike in cities. If they only knew that while they casually toss stories back and forth about the road rage, harassment, swearing and dangerous driving maneuvers that they have survived, a girl in Northern New York has died from shock. In all of my bike rides I have only earned one, “get on the sidewalk!”. And that is the extent of my experience with angry drivers.

The drivers around here are very considerate. They dim their brights for me at night, pass me carefully and with a wide berth and even offer me rides (which I politely refuse).

Why the difference? Here are just a few of my theories.

I don’t get blowback from the residual anger a driver may have built up for “crazy cyclists” that day, because they haven’t seen any other bikers on the road besides me.

Drivers in my locale are used to passing slow moving vehicles like farming equipment and Amish buggies. I am also way less obstructive then either of these.

Some of the people on the road know me, or someone in my family, or a friend so it would be awkward for them to harass me.

Nobody gets stuck in traffic, rush hour doesn’t exist. So neither do immobile vehicles with fuming people inside, who are ready to tear apart the next biker to pass by.

Easy Parking
Parking my bike and leaving it to enter a store or go to a meeting is ridiculously easy. Empty parking spaces abound or I can just lean my bike against the nearest tree. Presto, done! As for using a bike lock, just no. I have many fears in life but someone stealing my bike is not something I will ever have to worry about.

I love my hometown and surrounding area. I love biking here even more.

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Reasons that Rural Riding Rocks

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A tire on my sidewalk Monday when I got home from work.

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The tire Tuesday morning, before we got hammered with snow again today.

To everyone who commutes and bikes around in cities, I bow down to you. I simply do not know how you do it. Actually, living in the same rural area my whole life I cannot fathom how anyone could survive just living in a city. The longest stretch of time I “lived” in a city was two weeks. I barely made it.

Even though I have great respect for city cyclists, I just have to tell you that biking in the country is way better than the best biking perks a city has to offer.

I am a huge animal lover. So one of the reasons I think rural biking is best is because of all the animals I get to see on my commute. Every day while commuting I pass farms with:

Cows
Horses
Donkeys
Alpacas
Sheep
Goats
Chickens (careful not to run over the free range ones)
Guinea fowl
Pigs
Cats
Dogs (there is only one that chases me, he got hit by a car once while running after me, but his leg is better now and he is faster than ever)

Biking past livestock can actually be quite an experience. I was biking home one day when I saw a herd of 30ish cows grazing in a field next to the one they were supposed to be contained in. This did not surprise me since this farm had recently been dealing with escapees. I as went past I called out to the nearest bovine. “Hi there!” I said in a cheery tone of voice. (It is very rude to pass farm animals without a greeting.)
She stared at me transfixed for a moment and then bolted in the direction of the field she was supposed to be grazing in.
When the other cows noticed her running one by one they all started to run. If you have never seen dairy cows run before, you really should put it on your bucket list. It is quite a sight.
As cows were stampeding back to their pasture they climbed a small rise. Coming toward them on the other side of the rise was a herd of about twenty sheep, seeking out better grazing after their own escape.
When the sheep saw a herd of cows running toward them they turned tail and booked it back to their own pasture. I never got paid for my service as a herdbiker, but the reaction of those sheep was worth it.

I also see many wild animals.

deer
skunks
raccoons
coyotes
muskrats
beavers
opossums
porcupines
geese
ducks
great blue herons
owls
vultures
eagles
falcons
frogs
snakes
rabbits
mice
turtles (I have helped a couple of snapping turtles cross the road so if you ever lose a toe or a finger to a snapping turtle in NNY, blame me.)

It is amazing to see tons of different animals on my commute, it makes biking that much more enjoyable.

Just to warn you I will probably be doing more of these “rural riding” posts.