When I first came to the US about five years ago, someone asked me if I rode bikes, as in bicycles. I replied in the affirmative, and then I was asked whether I liked to ride for fun. “For fun?”, yes, you see in the US, people mainly ride bikes recreationally, whereas in Europe, people mainly ride bikes as a form of transportation from point A to B.

This orientation is extremely ingrained. Having no longer a need to go from A to B, I find myself rarely riding my bike.

Now, in the US, walking is something you do inside the mall (also Segways are gaining popularity) and in Europe walking is something you do to get to the bus stop. Again different.

However, when it comes to running, both Europe and the US are similar in that running is a recreational activity in both places.

Hence, despite having lived in both places, it has never occurred to me to think of running as a way of getting from A to B. Until now.

Last week, I ran home from training three times. As a form of transportation it is as simple as walking, you only need a pair of shoes, but 2-3 times faster. For short distances up to three miles, it is almost as fast as slow biking, because it takes a few minutes on each end to get the bike out and ready.
It is possible to run with small loads in a tight backpack. I have one like this.

It would thus be possible to literally run small errands, like picking up small items from the supermarket, and anyone who does on a regular basis is bound to end up with sustained low-intensity endurance.

Also, if you managed to arrange your residence to be less than 3 miles from anything, you would not even need a bicycle. In that case, I would walk to work, which would take 60 minutes which could be used for meditation, brainstorming or calculating your passive income from your savings in as many ways as you can think of, and then run home which would take about 20 minutes. When shopping, I would run with an empty backpack and then walk a full backpack home. It is a more minimalist approach than the bicycle option.

Originally posted 2009-08-17 00:19:41.