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Urban Bicycling Is For Lazy People 72

Copenhagen Cycle Chic

Lazy people riding bicycles in Copenhagen – Photo courtesy of Mikael Colville-Andersen / Copenhagen Cycle Chic 

Here in Canada, as in the United States, people tend to generally view bicycles primarily for recreation or sport. Thus, when someone asks me how I arrived somewhere and I tell them I rode my bicycle, they naturally assume that I am athletic, brave, unusual, always late, and I probably need to take a shower.

In reality however, I arrive on time, I’m not sweaty, and I rode my bike not for a workout, but rather au contraire, I rode my bicycle because I am lazy.

I step outside my front door and hop on my bike because I’m too lazy to go downstairs in the parking garage to get the car. I pull my bike up to the front door at my destination because I’m too lazy to drive around looking for a parking spot then having to walk from the car to the building.

I ride my bike instead of taking public transit because I’m too lazy to go to the store to buy bus tickets, and I am far too lazy to dig for loose change under my couch. I am also too lazy to transfer from the bus to the subway to the streetcar, preferring to ride directly to my destination without transfers.

Instead of walking 15 minutes to my destination, I ride my bicycle there in 5. Yes, I ride there because I am too lazy to walk.

I ride my bicycle past dozens of cars at rush hour because I’m too lazy to be stressed out sitting in traffic and too lazy to explain why I’m late all the time.

I sold the last car I owned in 2010 and bought a couple solid bicycles because I was too lazy to maintain the car*. I was too lazy to renew my license plates each year, too lazy to fill up the gas tank, too lazy to shop around for insurance rates, and too lazy to take it to the car wash.

Now I just hop on my bike and go. Lazy transport. No insurance or major repairs required. No licensing, fuel, parking fees or traffic jams.

Urban bicycling is just pure, lazy, simple transport. Great for the body and wonderful for the soul.

James D. Schwartz is the Editor of The Urban Country and is based in Toronto, Canada. You can contact James at james.schwartz@theurbancountry.com or follow him on Twitter.

*Note: In 2012 my wife decided to buy a car, so we do have a car sitting in the parking garage right now that doesn’t get used a whole lot.

i share the road

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  • Ryan Fraser

    I love this.

  • http://www.facebook.com/John.S.Rawlins John Rawlins

    Cycling is also for mean people – that is, people who don’t like paying fuel taxes or sales taxes on vehicles, labour, and spare parts.

    • http://www.theurbancountry.com James Schwartz

      It’s true. Definitely frees up a significant amount of disposable income to spend on other things, like alcohol, gambling or drugs ;)

      • JSmith

        & women. You forgot women.

    • bikemom

      I would gladly pay a tax, if it went for NON-motorized infrastructure & public transit. Don’t care to pay one cent for BIG OIL, though!

    • JSmith

      Dafuq? You must not ride in any serious fashion if you don’t have a spare parts collection. Is your rig even fitted to your posture? Cripes.

      I’m too lazy to call CAA/AAA.

  • anditron

    I love this. I tell people all the time that I bike because I’m lazy, impatient and don’t like people. It’s all a bit tongue-in-cheek but a bit true to. I would always rather bike 5 blocks than walk. I would always rather ride my bike than wait or adjust my schedule to public transportation. And I would always rather ride a bike than be squished up next to someone on that transportation. Lazy biking means I leave when I want to; go at the pace I want to go; and strangely while I don’t want to be squished next to others on a bus or train, I do enjoy saying hi to fellow riders and pedestrians out walking around.

  • TiagoBarufi

    I ride past thousands, not dozens. Damned lazy!

  • Christian DeKnock

    Yesssssss

  • disqus_G4l7YJLX6Q

    What a coincidence – I also sold my only car back in 2010 after I quit motoring journalism. Dozens of shin scrapes, one big flood and one hit-and-run (yes, by a car here in Bangkok) after, I still ride my trusty MTB setup for commute.

  • Doug B

    I’m too lazy to get up earlier in the morning so that I can drive to the gym, find a parking spot, walk in, change, workout, change, find my car, and drive to work. Instead I combine the gym and travel in one, and ride my lazy fat arse to work. Saves me a good 1/2 hour a day so I can sit on the couch and drink a beer (with the money I saved not driving and having no gym membership).

  • boogaooga

    …hope your relationship is o.k….

  • grrlyrida

    I told someone recently I was too lazy to drive around Trader Joe’s parking lot and look for parking. It’s much easier to park right at the door, lock the bike, then put groceries in the bike basket than sitting in a line of car and growing increasingly impatient waiting for a space to open up.

    • Mister5000

      I’m too lazy to carry ten bags of groceries from the car to the kitchen. Shopping on a bike saves money, too – buying only what I can carry.

      • anditron

        And much harder to over-buy. You have to stick to necessities, cutting back on the junk and bad for you food because every bit of space/weight is a consideration. :)

      • lindsaybanks

        Studies have shown that bicycling shoppers actually tend to spend more money than drivers! They don’t buy as much each time, but they shop more frequently…probably exposing them to more of the impulse buys! And their money is more likely to stay in the local economy.

  • http://www.bikestylespokane.com/ BarbChamberlain

    Exactly! Used this in an Ignite presentation I did a few years ago in Spokane (http://bikestylespokane.com/2011/07/19/how-bikes-can-save-the-world/). I added “cheap, impatient, & a control freak” to my list of worthy character traits that contribute to a bike habit.

  • Satya

    This is too accurate. I ride my bike everywhere because I’m too lazy to learn to drive. And I never walk. anywhere. Why use so much effort when you could just bike?

  • Franklin Delano Bluth

    Bicycling is convenient and cost/time effective. It’s absolutely not lazy.

    • http://www.theurbancountry.com James Schwartz

      You either read the title of the article and went straight to the comments, or you took it far too literally. Either way, read through the whole article and you will see this is a bit tongue-in-cheek.

  • Diego Rever

    We are in Brazil also too lazy as to stand traveling standing for hours without confort in the overcrowded public buses that also don’t take advantage of our human-power, without possibility to workout in the meanwhile leaving us no option than going to the gym after our working day! That’s why we invented the human-electric Bus for Olimpic Games 2016! It carries more than 30 bikes among folding and normal, is electric and up to 20% human-power assisted, and also fed by solar power. Please support the idea!!! [search for Human-electric solar bus Rio 2016] looking forward to hear from you soon!! Thanks and congratulations for the helpful website!

    • thatgirlinnewyork

      I love this!!

      • Diego Rever

        I’m so glad you love it, please visit us and support the project on http://www.busciclista.blosgpot.com, HuG :) !

        • thatgirlinnewyork

          I would love to help promote it, Diego–but the link you provided isn’t “live;” it just goes to sponsored listings. Check to see if there’s an issue, and I’ll share it liberally! Bises!

          • WarOnMugs

            The bicycle powered internet in Rio must be down for the weekend.

          • thatgirlinnewyork

            And I feel badly for laughing at that!
            If I could pedal to power mine, I’d so be doing it! Actually, I know I can, but I’m on the hunt for the right generator hookup.

          • Kari

            Try this one. Site is in portuguese but can be translated.
            http://www.busciclista.blogspot.com/

          • thatgirlinnewyork

            That works. Thanks, Kari!

          • Diego Rever

            THanks KAri for the correction, please click on the english flag to see the posts already translated. HuG

          • Diego Rever

            Thanks to Kari for the correction! and sorry for the mistype, well i actually tried from the begining to post in 3 languages but that demanded too much effort… So there are some posts in english too but unhappily not the last ones, please click on the english flag onto the left sidebar to bring ‘em up :) …So glad for this great interaction, please be welcome to Brazil if you ever come over to São Paulo (looking forward to move to Rio…).

  • http://profiles.google.com/har.3036 Har Davids

    Being stuck in traffic if you can avoid it is a big waste of time, never mind the resources that get lost as well. If a thing can be done more efficiently, cooking, cleaning or moving about, you should do it. The time saved can be used in more constructive ways: having a beer with friends is just one of them. It isn’t lazy, it’s smart!

  • mariposaman

    I ride an ebike. I get all the above benefits, and more, and even cyclists call me lazy. Life is good, at least it is if I do not listen to the motorist and cyclist’s whining. I only wish they would let me into the bike lane.

    • JSmith

      LOL! You’re lazy, all right. That e-bike is dead weight (a ball & chain, if you will) when you’ve run out of juice. Hopefully you don’t live in a hilly city/area.

      LOL!

  • Paul

    Ben Franklin and Paul Lafargue would admire this laziness, as do I. True laziness is an art. The photo for the article is well-chosen — stylishly dressed women riding basic bikes at a slow speed without helmets on a dedicated bicycle lane. Unfortunately, it’s possible to transform bicycling into hard work, too.

    • Charles Gordon

      Not sure that it’s too clever for the lead cyclist to be on the phone whilst cycling though…

      • http://www.theurbancountry.com James Schwartz

        I think it’s great. There’s no reason why somebody shouldn’t be able to talk and ride. It’s a sign of solid bike infrastructure and a civilized bicycle culture.

        • WarOnMugs

          You are a nut. (Sorry for the ad hominem, but you leave me little choice.)

          • http://www.theurbancountry.com James Schwartz

            Thanks for the concern, Mom. Though I would highly advise you to take a trip to anywhere in the Netherlands or Denmark. You will see dozens of “nuts” talking on their phone while riding, so you would have plenty of people to wag your finger at.

          • WarOnMugs

            People do it in Japan too. Texting too! While riding on the sidewalk! Doesn’t mean it’s clever (though I’m kind of impressed by the texting). But come on. The bike is a wheeled form of transport, moving significantly faster than walking, among people and cars and all sorts of traffic. It really requires both hands to operate safely. If you have some hands-free set, go ahead. Until then, I don’t think endangering others (and yourself) by yakking away on a phone while biking is smart.

          • http://www.theurbancountry.com James Schwartz

            Indeed, if someone is riding on the sidewalk and zigzagging around pedestrians, that is a sign of poor infrastructure, and they shouldn’t even be thinking about using a phone. Also, texting is much different than talking on the phone. It requires you to look down at the phone, whereas the girl in the photo was simply holding the phone to her ear, while riding on proper bike infrastructure that is physically separated from motor vehicles, and she is not burning through pedestrians on a sidewalk.

          • WarOnMugs

            I’m not convinced. Even in those rare cities that have separate bike infrastructure you are crossing roadways, encountering lights, stop signs and pedestrians all the time. Both hands on the wheel (er, handlebars) folks. It just makes sense. If you have to make a call, pull over. Or get a bluetooth earpiece.

          • Simone B

            Talking on a hand-held phone while cycling is actually not legal in Denmark, the fine is currently 1000 dkkr (roughly 180 US$).

          • wolfe23

            Always has ter be one… this was a great article, with great comments… but there always has to be one holier than thou control freak, who feels compelled to tell everyone else how they’re supposed to act in thee name of safety. I’m usually too lazy to have to put up with such privileged arrogance.

          • WarOnMugs

            Not lazy enough it seem, there Wolfie! I’m not Holier Than Anyone. But I think there are reasonable expectations of safe riding out there. Of course I see people riding no hands, talking on their phones, texting. On some quiet backstreet, who cares. But in any kind of heavy traffic situation, that’s just dumb. Try thinking about others, the people around you, rather than just how cool you look flapping your arms like bird wings while you bike.

        • RobiDon

          that might be ok In Copenhagen, Denmark or Holland where they do have a “solid bike infrastructure and a civilized bicycle culture,” but not in the car crazy U.S.

      • Dude on Bike

        Cycling on the phone is MUCH easier than carrying six coffees. That stuff’s HOT!

    • RobiDon

      I too am lazy, and I want other people to be lazy too. That’s why I wear a helmet, so the brain surgeon can take a day off instead of operating on my lazy brain that got injured because I was too stupid (not lazy) to put a helmet on.

  • Freyr Gunnar

    I’m selling the scooter that I’ve owned since 2005, after failing to get it started recently because the battery was empty for not running in… months. With the money, I’ll get a second good quality bike :-)

  • Hooligan Youth Reviews

    You’re not lazy. You’re efficient.

  • PaulC

    Love it! I keep telling people I cycle because I’m too lazy to walk. Most drivers don’t get the joke as they associate cycling with sweaty effort. It’s true though, I find cycling smooth, relaxing and relatively effortless. Driving is stressful and frustrating, walking is fine but it takes so long to get anywhere and carrying a load is difficult. Give me a bike anytime.

  • Timoohz

    Last night I saw a political thriller on tv (“Ghostwriter”, maybe? A guy ghostwrites the memoirs of a politician, etc). The main character played by Ewan McGregor hops on a bike for a ride around the island and when it starts to rain, leaves the bike next to a gate and _runs_ fifteen meters to a porch to get out of the rain…

    I chuckled and thought: “He’s not a real cyclist!” :-D

  • bbkingfish

    Lazy people treasure their laziness and willingly accept, even welcome, the increased risk of being crushed like a grape in urban traffic. When we end up dead on the roadside, seriously injured, or even vegetabilized, from the quite predictable results of our laziness, we ask no special considerations from our more industrious brethren. Laziness, after all, sows what it reaps, and damn the consequences!

  • Tony Hunt

    I am too lazy to come up with, what, $7-8,000 (on average) per year to own a car.

  • Carrie

    I wish i was that lazy!

  • ImpureScience

    Just need to figure out how to transport a string bass and an amp on my bike and the car is outa here.

  • Rb

    This is amazing and very true. I live a 12 minute walk from where I work and I still bike. It’s the one part of my morning/evening where I’m not thinking about anything (other than the road ahead)

  • gregstenson

    I wish the city (Las Vegas, NV) and weather I live in were more bike friendly … I need some laziness like that in my life

  • Corru Gate Cycles

    I’m too lazy to go to the florist to smell flowers cos the flowers come to me; too lazy to go to the doctor cos cycling be-wells me; too lazy to buy lots of coffees cos cycling invigorates me; too lazy to go to therapy cos issues and joys flow when cycling; too lazy to speak to another carbon-footprint submission cos my bike is my mike. I am my carma mechanic for me.

  • Caroline H

    I bike to work when the weather is good, but I drive in the winter. That’s much more lazy. One day in March, I was so fed up with scraping the ice off my car that I stormed back into the house in search of my bike helmet: “I’ve HAD it! I’m biking to work!!!”

  • crank

    I am too lazy to stop at stop signs, too lazy to yield for pedestrians, too lazy to dismount on the sidewalk, too lazy to take another street when closed for roadworks. I’m too lazy to signal, too lazy to stop at red lights, too lazy to buy/install/use a headlight or reflectors.

  • Diego Rever

    I did a translation to portuguese of this great article on my blog, keeping all the references and giving noticeable credits back to your page, which i also want to promote in Brazil because is awesome, fun and useful. thanks again, the traslation is here http://teacherciclista.blogspot.com.br/2013/07/bicicleta-e-para-gente-preguicosa.html i hope you like it!

  • kathy k

    ! And you don’t have to carry your bags of stuff around when you can just throw them in the pannier and roll !!

  • http://www.theenvironmentalblog.org/ John Tarantino

    Love it! It’s so true, I am way too lazy to even explain all the reasons you are right. Love cycling =)

  • daveybuc

    This is an awesome posting. …….I’m blessed to be part off a new family……. The lazy Urban Cyclists Association off Lazy Urban Cyclists… I love my bicycle….. :)

  • Joseph Palmer

    This is the best post on being lazy I’ve ever read :) All it takes is a *good* consistent practice – like getting on the bike every morning or leaving the car at home and getting on your own two feet and walking down the block. However, in my parent’s suburbs, being lazy would mean taking a very long time to get anywhere – and that’s sad.

  • Johnny5a

    I agree with this, my commute is bike – train – bike, the first leg is really a 11 minute walk but I’m too lazy to walk it, so I ride the bike takes just 3 min or 2 min if i’m running late. Though the second leg, I have ride bike but as you say in another blog you always know when you arrive unlike the tubes or buses in London

  • Alex Jimenez

    Based on this article, I’m the laziest person in the world! I love my bike!

  • modoufall

    A car can be a horrible waste of garage space :-)

  • http://lazydaybicycles.blogspot.com/ Josh Ingram

    I’m also a lazy cyclist. I’m tired of cars and there never-ending demand for service.

    (Cars are needy, ride a bicycle!)