Even when I panic-bought a bicycle in a desperate bid for pandemic lockdown exercise, I never thought I’d replace my daily Capitol Hill-to-downtown stroll. But when sunny days returned the same time offices reopened, a bike commute beckoned: fast trip, no parking, free workout. Plus, I wanted to join the club: Seattle hit an all-time high of 17,000 bike commuters in 2019.

Dang, the downhill trip goes fast. To be fair, the time savings of a six-minute morning ride were negated by periods of packing extra clothes and wrestling my bike into the office elevator. The biggest challenge came in planning a route through one-way streets; we walkers get to go any direction we choose.

Gravity had its last laugh on my labored uphill pedal home, during which Olive Way seemed to have tilted into a steep angle where it had previously risen in a gentle slope. But the sense of accomplishment that set in once I was finally home that evening was almost worth changing clothes in the office bathroom.

In a year when the realities of global warming moved far past abstraction, the annoyances of bicycle commuting feel minor in the face of the flexibility and sustainability. We should make cycling easier, with more bike lanes and paths. Even when I go back to my daily spaced-out, non-sweaty walk, I’ll be pulling for the pedalers of Seattle.

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