Top Ten Reasons to Start a Bike Commuting Habit!
It's mid-summer, and I've been too busy selling and repairing bikes to blog recently. But it's about time to get caught up on that, so here goes. This week's blog: why you should start a bike commuting habit. Here are our Top Ten reasons!
Riding a bike is the fastest way to get from A to B in most places in the city. Once you consider the time it takes to park and walk to your destination, bikes win the race most of the time. London is a small city, and to bike from downtown to anywhere in the city takes less than 30 minutes at a slow and comfortable pace. Time seems to stand still when you ride your bike places, too. I'm never counting the minutes until I arrive at my destination, I always feel like I arrive only seconds after I departed.
People who ride their bikes to work are the happiest commuters. Study after study has shown that people who get to work by bike are happier than people choosing any other mode of transportation. I know this is true personally, but it's great to see research backing it up. Getting your daily dose of nature on the TVP helps with happiness, and stress-management, too. Two happiness boosts in your day, just by changing how you get to work? I can get behind that idea.
Climate change is the defining problem of our generation. If we want to have a chance at leaving a habitable planet for our children and grandchildren, changes we make in the next decade are more important than anything we'll ever be able to do in the far flung future. In London, more than half of our carbon emissions are generated by transportation-related activities, mainly people driving to work. By shifting our transportation system to promote cycling in the next decade, we can make a meaningful dent in the debt we owe to our children.
4. Your Health
It's no secret that people who bike commute are healthier than people who choose other means of transportation. In a major research study, bike commuters had a 52 per cent lower risk of dying from heart disease and a 40 per cent lower risk of dying from cancer. They also had 46 per cent lower risk of developing heart disease and a 45 per cent lower risk of developing cancer at all. Turning your sedentary commute into thirty minutes of exercise is the easiest way to build activity into your daily life.
5. Your Kids' Health
Set a good example for your children, and set them up for an active lifestyle. Children with parents who regularly ride bikes are more likely to ride themselves, and as a result, lead healthier lives. Children who walk and bike to school are more attentive, and get better grades than those who take the bus or get a ride in a car. Get your kids on a bike, they'll thank you later in life.
People who ride bikes live longer, healthier lives, too. Cycling is an activity you can do well into your eighties, keeping you active and enjoying life! In a past life, I led bike trips from Banff to Jasper every week, and one of our guests was an 84 year old man and his 79 year old wife who cycled nearly every kilometer of the ~300 km trip. If I ever live to be that old, I hope I can enjoy my life as much as they did on that trip.
We know that riding a bike can save you money. Lots of money. Mr. Money Mustache has dedicated an entire section of his blog to bikes. Start with his post "Get Rich With... Bikes!" and start saving big money. In purely economic terms, switching from a bike commute to a car is like getting a $15000/year raise. Want to make more money? Ride a bike!
Want to have more sex? Ride a bike! Want to have better sex? Ride a bike! The moderate activity provided by everyday bike riding leads to a healthier cardiovascular system, and better blood flow is essential to a better sex life.
9. Self-propelled / independent
One of the things I think about a lot on a bike is how much freedom and independence a bike affords me. I don't need permission or a licence from anybody to ride. I don't need to buy oil from sometimes hostile foreign countries, and I never know the price of a litre of gasoline. I don't need to share my ride with anyone (sorry, Uber!) and I can go anywhere I please, exactly when I want to travel (sorry, transit). I can ride by myself, or with friends. I get to choose. Bikes are about freedom of movement for everybody.
Bikes are the most fun way to get around, period. The wind in your hair, the smell of a bakery or pizza joint, or just saying hello to a passing friend while you're pedaling effortlessly just feels great. There's also the enjoyment of seeing a beaver building her dam, a deer grazing in the woods, or an Osprey fishing in the river. Bikes are awesome for cities because they're the most delightful way to get anywhere.
Don't just take our word for it. Buy, borrow, or rent a bike and give biking to work a try this summer. For your health, for your sex life, for your wallet, or for your happiness, get on a bike and ride!