4 Reasons That Biking to Work Is Just Better

by Anna Gooding-Call about a month ago in health

Ditch the smog machine and get fit!

4 Reasons That Biking to Work Is Just Better

Remember the joy of riding a bike? It's often one of the first "grown-up" skills that kids learn, and once you get the hang of it, you never forget. As more cities build protected bike lanes and no-car byways, it's time to dust off that banana seat and reconnect with the joy of two wheels. Here's why.

Save money

Ever have to get your bike repaired? Maybe a chain broke or the seat turned into a literal banana. I don't know you and I don't know your problems. You could have witches, for goodness sake.

Luckily, even biking newbies can thwart the forces of wear, tear, and hexes. A patch kit for your tire can run $10, if you want a nice one. A new seat fits right in, and if you really need a tune-up, that'll set you back a whopping $50. After that, your bike is good to go for another year.

Contrast that to what your car needs every 5,000 miles. An oil change alone can run you $70! Tire rotations, transmission flushes, brake pad replacements— it never ends! Never mind the cost of years of car payments and gas-ups. How many thousands of dollars have you already spent on your car? It's time to ditch that wallet vampire. You've got better things to do than shell out to Shell.

Kiplinger has an amazing free calculator that can give you an idea of how much money you'll save by biking instead of driving. For a 50-mile round trip commute, the total comes out to over $5,000! That's like getting a raise!

Save the Earth

This is the reason that everyone is *supposed* to want to bike to work. It may strike you as a little high and mighty to claim that you can personally rescue our planet by pedaling a few extra miles. After all, how much difference can it really make?

A lot! According to the ECF, biking produces a tenth of the carbon emissions that a car does. In total, the U.S. produces over 6,800 tons of CO2 every year. Over half of that comes from transportation. That means that if 10 percent of commuters biked to work, they could potentially cut 340 tons of carbon out of our atmosphere—per year! That's a huge difference!

If the state of the Earth keeps you up at night, biking to work is one of the best things you could do.

Look and feel great

Weight and health aren't the same thing. However, if you want to drop a few pounds, tone up, feel great, and get strong, your bike is your almost-free personal gym! You're going to enjoy a higher energy level, a stronger body, and a better baseline mood thanks to the de facto exercise that you get every day before and after work.

Even if you don't feel like getting fitter right now, consider this: there are few things more graceful, winning, and visually appealing than a person on a bicycle. Runners might look awkward and nobody looks cool on a treadmill, but a bicycle is lean, naturally beautiful, sleek, and sexy. It's your steed and you're the lone rider using only the power of your body to defeat inertia and gravity. Trust me: you're going to look cool.

Make friends

Bikers have camaraderie. In a car, you're sealed in a bubble, usually with nobody to talk to. On a bike, you have a chance to find like-minded people, smile, say hello, and recognize your neighbors. Social connection makes you healthier, and biking will foster that connection. You won't just make friends, you'll make compatriots.

Imagine knowing your city on a neighborhood level, intimately aware of every good coffee shop, boutique, and bakery on your route to work. Imagine exploring every byway until your city is truly yours. This is what bicycling can do for you. Your ride to work doesn't have to be boring drudgery. It can be populated with the cast of people who live within yards of you. All you'll have to do is step outside.

So what are you waiting for? Dust off that Schwinn and pull your helmet out of storage! The road is waiting for you and your wheels.

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Anna Gooding-Call

I'm a freelance writer living in Massachusetts.

See all posts by Anna Gooding-Call