On a bicycle, you learn to get close to cars. You learn not to flinch. You learn to face death with anger rather than fear. You learn how to embrace and expect pain. You learn what it truly is to calculate risk, laying your life down against someone else’s insurance premium. You learn to fear living on rather than dying in an accident.
Riding a bicycle in the city is life-giving in more than one way. Of course it lowers your resting heart rate and gets you plenty of exercise and fresh air. What it also does is re-affirm your attachment to life itself. Every time a ten-ton bus almost clips you a primal desire to live overtakes you. It’s not a force to stay alive but rather to be alive. Acts to escape or evade are of it, but not inherent.
There are people who have survived their Golden Gate Bridge experiences who have said that, as they were falling, they experienced a sharp and until then unique desire to live and to continue to exist. This is what riding a bike teaches you.
Are you bored? Does your life lack meaning or coherence? Could your ass use a little work? Would you like to learn how to become a target for every fuckwit with a car and a cell phone?
Do you want to stare death in the face every single goddamn day of your life?