One of the things that I'm most grateful for is that I can bike to work. This might seem a little bit of an exaggeration. Let me explain.
During the second and third years of law school, I commuted down to Stanford from San Francisco. Though I had some control over my schedule and could keep odd hours that would avoid traffic, I still often found myself stuck in a long haul to and from home. Still, I wouldn't change a thing about where I lived those two years: I was within walking distance from my family's Full House situation (for years now, my sister, brother-in-law, their boy, my mom, my dad, and my brother have lived in a home together), surrounded by good food, and within a block of Golden Gate Park.
Now, my work's office is on the Berkeley Marina and it takes about 15 to 20 minutes to bike there. It's getting a little cold in the mornings and a little dark on the way home, but I love my commute. I pass by quiet neighborhoods, office buildings, a post office, train tracks, through a park by the water, over a bridge, and along the bay. For those precious minutes, I'm in my body, in the world.
I also appreciate that the trip can take either about 15 or 20 minutes, depending on how hard I hustle. Derek Sivers wrote a great post about biking how you can relax for the same result. I think he's on to something here. Five minutes won't make a difference and can make the ride a whole lot more enjoyable.
But, I think he's also missing a piece: sometimes we should push ourselves closer to 15, our heart racing, the wind rushing around us, and pay attention to how our body responds and remind ourselves of our capacity.
All this is to say, if you can bike, bike.