Six Reasons to Start a New Bike Habit, Right Now

It's Labour Day weekend, and in London that means Back-to-School for more than 50,000 students, and 5,000 staff and faculty at Western, Fanshawe, and their associated institutions. We're excited for the vibrancy that students bring to town, along with the buzz and excitement of a new school year. We also know that the best way to get around campus has always been a bike. A bike is faster than walking, transit, or driving for virtually any trip less than 5km. Not to mention less expensive. You get to move on your own schedule, and get fit while you're doing it. Bikes help you get better grades, too. That jolt of physical activity in the morning is the best thing for your concentration since... coffee. We do that coffee part, too.

Don't take our word for it, we've done our homework. Here are six great reasons to start a bike habit this fall. 

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1 - Getting to school on a bike helps you concentrate.

Ask Einstein, who first thought of his Theory of Relativity on a bike. Or Niels Egelund of Aarhus University in Denmark who studied the link between concentration and exercise, and found that exercise was more important than even food! "The results showed that having breakfast and lunch has an impact, but not very much compared to having exercised...As a third-grade pupil, if you exercise and bike to school, your ability to concentrate increases to the equivalent of someone half a year further in their studies." Want to be smarter? Ride a bike. 

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A British study took a comprehensive look at the health benefits of bicycle commuting, and the results are staggering, writes Tom Babin of Shifter.info. Over the course of the study, the 263,450 subjects who were under review had a 41 per cent lower chance of death than those who didn’t. “Cycle 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.” If you're interested in living a long and healthy life, daily exercise is essential. Riding a bike to get places is the easiest way to get that exercise without disrupting your daily routine. 

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3 - Bikes are money machines

The venerable personal finance blogger Mr. Money Mustache writes you can "Get rich ... with bikes."  Seriously, go read the whole article, and do the math. Riding a bike can make you $100,000 richer in ten years. Who wouldn't want that? Get a bike, make money. It's that simple. 

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4 - Bikes get you there faster

Bikes are faster than driving, transit, cab, walking, or basically anything else for trips less than 5 km. Here's what 5 km looks like around Western and Fanshawe. How often do you really venture further away than 5k? Get a bike, go faster. 

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5 - Have you ever seen someone riding a bike who wasn't happy? Me neither.

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6 - Bikes fight climate disruption

Massive changes are happening in our planet's atmosphere and oceans, and we are responsible. In our lifetimes, we will see flooded coastal cities, major changes in our food and water supply, and mass migration from areas that were previously habitable, but are can no longer sustain human life. More than half of our city's climate-disrupting emissions come from transportation, and choosing a bike for transportation is by far the best single thing you can do to decrease your footprint on the Earth. So if you're not satisfied by being healthier, happier, wealthier, wiser, or faster, choose a bike for our collective future, too.