Walking is a great way to keep fit and stay close to nature. When going to work or getting around the city, it’s often preferable to walk than it is to take the car. You don’t get stuck in traffic, it’s healthier and you are more connected to your surroundings. However, walking does, of course, have its limitations. You can’t take that much stuff with you, compared to using a car. Your range is limited, unless you use public transport, it’s repetitive and can end up being tiring and even result in injury. But getting around is far from a two-way race between Shank’s pony and the car. There are plenty more options.
Bicycles have been around now for nearly a couple hundred years and cycling is the main form of transportation in many parts of the world. Even in places with high-speed trains, autobahns and extensive subway systems, the bicycle is often preferred as a means of getting around. It’s cheap and easy to maintain, plus most problems that come about through heavy use can be fixed by the rider with no need to call out a mechanic. They’re much more affordable than most automobiles and represent much better value for money in the long term. On top of that they are much faster than walking, skateboarding or running and often don’t require much effort. They can, however provide great exercise when going up steep hills – this is seen by many as one of the disadvantages of the bicycle, however. In cities they travel just as fast as cars, don’t get caught in traffic much and don’t pollute the environment anywhere near as much as cars do. Lastly, it’s quite easy to find parking spaces for them and when returning home, don’t need to be kept in a garage or take up space on a driveway.
One of the major downsides of bicycles is that they, and their riders are not protected well against collisions. This fact, especially in cities, can make it a dangerous means of transport, as there are many reckless and thoughtless drivers on the roads of the world’s cities. It’s not possible to carry as much weight or bulk on a bicycle as it is in a car, and the car has a speed advantage over longer distances, although the bicycle can be used to get to and from the train station relatively quickly. As they require on the input of energy from the rider, they can cause people to sweat more and get dirty on the roads. This means the rider might need to wash and change clothes after a long ride, whereas a person driving a car can remain cool and relatively clean sitting in their car, driving with minimal effort and using the air conditioner. When compared with walking, cycling has many advantages and is certainly an affordable alternative.
These older methods of getting around have recently been joined by innovations such as the Segway. Segways are kind of like a cross between walking and driving – you’re standing upright and you’re out in the elements, but you’re not propelling yourself forward. You can also move much faster than you can walk. You’re not getting any exercise and most people probably think you’re just too lazy to walk, which you probably are. But if you’re not lazy and you have a leg or a knee injury, a Segway gives you a painless way to get around. You just won’t be able to get up and down stairs easily and you’ll have to find a place and a means of securing it when you want to sit down, let’s say, in a swanky restaurant.
Segways and bicycles can also be entertaining in themselves. Kids and childish people learn to do all kinds of tricks on them – just as those who get around on skateboards do. A lot of them are very impressive, they not something anyone can do the first time they try.
Then there are methods of getting around which will catch others’ attention – horse riding, riding a unicycle, riding a snowmobile (in snow, of course) and even getting to work in a microlight.