I’ve extolled the virtues of bicycling as an ideal form of locomotion on these pages before, for example:
“The bike is a wonderful machine: it lets you explore more terrain than you can on foot on a given day, yet it is still a humane technology connecting your body and senses to nature in ways not really possible with an automobile (from Velosophy).”
“…for me riding a bike is good mindfulness practice: It helps me to regain peace of mind after a hard day and helps me to observe my everyday world with a somewhat greater sense of clarity (from this post).”
However, this passage from a book I just finished, Crow Planet: Essential Wisdom from the Urban Wilderness by Lyanda Lynn Haupt, makes a very strong case for walking:
Walking is the pace that we were born to. It is the pace at which our eyes focus, our thoughts can keep up, and our bodies can feel evolved and grounded and whole. Walking we are on an axis about which we can turn to look, or bend to see, or squat to pick up. Walking, we feel knowing and self-reliant, inhabitants of our own bodies, and in cahoots with the bodies of others.
She also uses excerpts from Thoreau’s Walking to bolster her argument.
Thoreau is hard to argue with and I’ll admit walking has its charms.
In fact, one of my favorite tools is Walk Score — which ranks places to live on a scale of 1 to 100 in terms of how walkable they are (e.g. proximity to grocery stores, libraries, post offices, cafes, etc.).