The Chainlink

is biking to work making you a happier person, or an angrier one?

So - I love riding my bike to work (which happens to be in downtown chicago).

However, I often arrive at work angry and/or sad and/or shaken by the behavior of clueless, distracted, thoughtless, reckless, etc. drivers…and sometimes pedestrians…and sometimes other bikers.

My assumption has always been that riding to work wakes me up, and energizes me, and makes me happier, but this morning I was thinking: Am I confusing “angry” with “awake”?

Does starting the day off in fighter mode change our days (and how we behave ourselves) for the worse?

anyone else have these thoughts on their way to work? 

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Wayyy Happier. Sitting on  a bus is sad, sitting in a car (even a really expensive one) is sad, riding a bike is happy. I think the recklessness and all around crazy is just part of living in a city. Cities are fucking crazy, no way round it, you got 3million people all hustling to get to work in the greater downtown area, which by the way I never understood, why are people in a rush to get TO work, fucking weird. I'll take the crazy over the lazy any day, I think feeling alive, awake and happy are all part of the same equation. Any way,  Just go with the flow, ride how you ride, keep your head up, smile and consider the alternative. 

Happier, indeed. Even after a wreck, I still arrived happy. A bit shaken up, but happy I was still at work only reasonably late and with my health in tact.

On normal days, the only thing that bothers me is the fact that I don't have a dedicated 1st floor bathroom for me to change into my work clothes. But, I'm still cheerful, and the fact that I'm saving $ on morning coffee is a plus.

If you're physically healthy and your commute involves riding that keeps your heart rate elevated for an extended period of time, it's a near-certainty that you're enjoying an all day long emotional boost (mood improvement/stabilization) from the neurochemicals that are released during and after your exertion.  That holds true even on days when you arrive temporarily agitated by folks in your path. 

My advice: be kind, ride hard, drink a lot of water, and let go as fast as you can when people do what people do :).

Happier.  I have ridden to and from work almost every day since the middle of May--think I missed two.  On those days, I took the bus and realized how much I missed riding my bike even though it was almost 100 degrees outside.

I am never in a hurry going to or coming from work.  I leave early enough that I get to work way before I need to even at my very leisurely riding pace.  And going home, I slow down even more to just watch the world as I pedal past.

Happier, by far. I also try not to be in attack mode for the morning commute - I set a pace that I'm good with and let the day come to me. When the alternative is to ride the cattle cars that the CTA calls the Red Line I will take the rampant idiocy exhibited by motorists, pedestrians and even other cyclists any day.

Even in my slowest ride at 12mph I still shave about 5 minutes than riding the Red Line on an 11 miles commute.

I have noticed that I can go either way--happy or angry--and have also noticed that that outcome really depends on the attitude I bring to it. There are lots of hazards on the way downtown and plenty of rude and/or oblivious drivers and peds, but I am learning to slow down and accept that those things will happen and let them go as fast as possible. So, yeah! Much happier.

I've gotten angry - or rather had to deal with someone who was angry - a few times, but it's a good tradeoff against the extra energy I get biking versus the train.  And the train or bus has plenty of it's own sources for vexation.

I am happier when riding on the path in the spring, fall, and most of winter, when there are few people out.

sometimes I'm angry when I arrive since in the last few blocks before home I ride on streets.

However, my wife has noticed a big difference between the days I ride and the days I take the L, so really even with the aggravation, it's relative to the aggravation of being locked in a can with other miserable commuters.

Way happier.

It seems to be unanimous. 

Next question, please?

wow, i feel way happier just reading these posts. i like you chainlink people :) 

What did you expect? You didn't exactly select a random pool of respondents, now did you?

Kara B said:

wow, i feel way happier just reading these posts. i like you chainlink people :) 

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