The pace at which we live our lives can be influenced by many factors.
One of these is the modes of transport we use.
I recently purchased an ebike for my work commute. It’s a modest 3.5 mile journey into town, but with enough undulations to invoke a little too much sweating and discomfort on a regular bike.
My electric companion has three electric speeds, which dictate how fast you go if you’re relying purely on the motor. I’ve stuck with the medium setting so far, which is 13mph.
Which means for much of the journey (and especially the uphill parts where the bike’s doing the brunt of the work) I’m travelling at 13mph.
I’m coming to really enjoy this speed of life.
At 13mph, it’s fast enough to feel the rush of the wind of your face and whooshing past your ears, a visceral delight you don’t get in a car (unless it’s a cabriolet travelling at considerably more than 13mph).
It’s fast enough to zip past traffic in town whilst they wait at roundabouts and traffic lights.
It’s fast enough that by the time I arrive at work I feel my breathing and heart rate have quickened from the pedalling I have been doing.
And it’s fast enough that my journey takes under 20 minutes and doesn’t cut too much into my time at home with the kids beforehand.
And yet, 13mph is slow enough that I’m able to smell the freshly cut wood emanating from the local timber merchant as I cycle by, something that never happens by car.
It’s slow enough to appreciate the textures of the ancient brickwork around the door of a local farmhouse on my route that are just a blur by car.
It’s slow enough to notice a smile on someone’s face, or to give a nod hello as I pass.
And it’s slow enough to feel like I’ve almost entirely opted out of the daily rat race of single people in bloated blingy 4x4s, getting nowhere fast and frustrated with it.
It’s no coincidence that one of the major reasons I love photography is that it slows me down in a similar way.
Hunting for photographs encourages you to find you own (gentle) pace whilst you wander, noticing dozens, sometimes hundreds of tiny beautiful details that you wouldn’t have done just hurrying by.
I’ve found that just having a camera in my bag or round my wrist prompts me too look more eagerly and carefully, even if I don’t take any photographs.
So my new slowed pace of transport is extending this experience further. It’s something I should have done years ago.
How about you, what’s your favourite pace of life?
Please let us know in the comments below (and don’t forget to tick the “Notify me of new comments via email” box to follow the conversation).
Thanks for looking. Please share this post with others you feel will enjoy it too. If you’re interested, this is what my photography life looks like right now.