5 Reasons Why Bike Commuters Are Having a Better Day than Everyone Else
Bicycle commuters are a special breed — they brave the elements and busy city streets every day just getting to work — and their numbers are growing. It is no surprise why; bicycle commuting has a number of benefits that make it appealing to people who want to improve their day.
If you’ve been thinking about trying out bicycle commuting, check out this list of five reasons why bicycle commuters love going to work — and why you might just love bicycle commuting too.
1. Exercising makes you happy
We’ve all heard it: exercise releases endorphins, which make you feel happy. Who wouldn’t want to replace the exhaustion and stress of a morning commute with an exhilarating, mood-lifting bike ride?
Studies show that sitting in traffic makes us more stressed and less happy. Exercise, on the other hand, makes you feel happy, less stressed, and can even help you sleep better at night.
Imagine feeling energized by your commute to work. How much nicer would it be to walk into work with a smile on your face and energy to be productive as soon as you arrive?
Public transportation riders are 6 times more likely to catch a cold than people who ride their bikes to work. It’s no small wonder why — if you had the choice, would you be packed in tight on a bus or enjoying the freedom of fresh air as you cycle into the office?
2. Bicycle commutes are often shorter than driving or public transit
Have you ever been stuck in a car and seen a person on their bike go flying down the road while you sit waiting and waiting to slowly roll forward? It feels pretty amazing to be that person on the bike, making progress towards work at your own pace and getting to skip the pain of traffic and crowded buses.
Especially if you have a commute of 5 miles or less, riding your bike will almost always get you there faster than if you were in a car. Over short distances, it is often faster on a bike than in a car.
Not only do you often get to your destination sooner, you also save time on the many inconveniences that drivers face every day like finding parking. Many offices will allow you to bring your bike inside to park, and if not, you can simply lock up your bike right outside the building.
3. Riding your bike saves the environment
“According to a study from… Environmental Health Perspectives, if 30 million urban and suburban midwesterners replaced half of their short car trips with cycling during the warmest six months of the year, they “‘could save approximately four trillion pounds of carbon dioxide emissions, 1,100 lives and $7 billion in mortality and health care costs for the region every year.’”
The environmental benefits of bicycle commuting cannot really be overstated.
Even if you use your car for every other trip you take around town, just taking your bike to work can make a huge impact on the environment. Not only is it good for your body, but it’s good for your world.
While it’s hard to see this impact, or measure it day-to-day, bicycle commuters can ride happy knowing that they are reducing the harmful effects humans have on the environment by not creating emissions of any kind as they get themselves to work.
4. Low impact exercise helps weight loss and health
If you don’t love going to the gym, riding your bike to work is an amazing way to work a little bit of health-boosting exercise into your life without feeling like you’re doing a workout.
Instead of trying to carve out time for fitness, you can make your commute time extra impactful. Not only are you getting to work (which you needed to do anyways), but you’re also getting some low impact exercise into your daily routine.
Bike riding is a great form of exercise, because anyone can do it and for most people who commute by bike to work, it doesn’t feel like exercise.
According to a post on PeopleForBikes.org:
“As a study by Portland State University…shows, 60 percent of Portland cyclists ride for at least 150 minutes per week (the recommended exercise minimum for adults) and that “‘nearly all the bicycling was for utilitarian purposes, not exercise.’”
Getting this kind of exercise is important if you want to lose a little weight and keep your whole system running healthily.
Studies show a new bicycle commuter will lose an average of 13 pounds in their first year of riding to work. Other studies have shown that bicycle commuters have healthier hearts and low risk of heart disease than any other kind of commuter.
Even people who work out regularly, but who commute by car, are more likely to gain weight over time than people who only commute by bike. This kind of consistent exercise, even if it’s not particularly challenging, has lifelong benefits.
5. Biking to work saves you money
Gas, car insurance, road tolls, parking permits…the costs of driving your car to work really add up over time. According to AAA, it costs an average of $9000 just to own a car at all in America.
On the other hand, besides the initial cost of buying a bike and some basic gear (like a helmet, safety light, etc), riding your bike doesn’t cost you a dime day-to-day.
Even if your bike gets damaged, bike repairs cost significantly less than car repairs do.
Why not try riding your bike to work this week?
Bicycle commuters are making the most of their trip to work every day. Why aren’t you?
This week, try taking your bike to work one day and see how it goes. If you need tips on commuting to work, check out your local bicycle coalition — if you live in San Francisco, the SF Bicycle Coalition has lots of resources for bicycle commuters.