I’m lucky enough to live in an area with a Main Street that still has a post office, hardware store, bakery, and the other things we find ourselves needing. There’s even a grocery store I can walk to.

I’m sure I’m hardly the only one who has gone from seeing running errands as an annoyance to finding them a cherished bit of normal life and quiet. Waiting in line at the post office never changes, it could be ten years ago or ten years from now.

I used to walk to run my errands. There are so many studies about how even a little bit of exercise can have a huge impact on your health. That’s what I like to point to if anyone asks, but mostly I needed a few minutes of peace and quiet to myself.

The problem with this is the neighbors. I could hardly walk the four blocks to the post office without running into someone who wanted to chat. I can’t say I’m too busy to stop and chat if I’m taking the time to walk everywhere. Not only was this doubling the time it took to run errands, it wasn’t the social interactions I was hoping for.

It seems kind of awful to admit it, but having someone stop me on every block to ask about how my wife is doing gets me a little upset. No one asks after me. It’s selfish, but it would counteract the peace and tranquility of my walks. That irked me enough without the unasked for advice people are happy to dish out. I know they mean well, but I don’t appreciate it.

Enter: the bicycle. The solution to all of these problems.

I get my exercise and fresh air, but no one assumes I have all the time in the world like they do if I walk. When I see a neighbor on the street a friendly wave is all that’s expected of me. When people ask (which they do pretty often) I fib and tell them my doctor suggested it. No one questions that.

I wish I’d started biking ten years ago!

A.E.