Biking to work is an exciting idea. Here are our Top 5 Reasons you should and why.
- It’s Healthy
- You Beat the Traffic
- It’s Good for the Environment
- You Save Money
- You’ll be Happier
1. Biking is Healthy
Biking to work is an extremely healthy activity and all alone may fulfill your exercise needs depending on how long your commute is. For example, a 5-mile commute can provide you with 30 minutes of exercise and most importantly an elevated heart rate. That translates into to anywhere between 160 calories burned for a small person (100 pounds) to 400 calories for a larger rider at 225 pounds. Keep in mind this is each way. Additionally, many studies are finding biking to work more healthy even considering the risks associated with cycling. A study done by the University of Utrecht in 2010 found biking to work healthier than driving despite the potential increased risks from cycling accidents, air pollution, or physical activity triggered fatalities. Another study done in Barcelona found similar results. Overall, biking to work will dramatically improve your health and overtime reduce your risk for obesity and heart disease.
2. You Beat Traffic
Biking to work means you often avoid traffic jams, lights and the general frustration of commuting in rush hour. By making use of bike lanes, trails and less busy areas of town you can ride into the city free of any delays or stress behind the steering wheel. A study was done by Texas A&M found the average commuter to spend 38 hours a year stuck in traffic. Since it is quite rare for a cyclist to be restricted by traffic (bike or car), that’s 38 hours of your life that you get back. Parking is usually a synch as well. Many cities have invested in bike infrastructure providing convenient bike storage in urban areas and there are numerous resources online providing help on how to safely and properly store or park your bike during work hours.
3. It’s Good for the Environment
It goes without saying that self-propulsion of any kind has a dramatic environmental impact. Biking as an alternative to driving a car or using public transportation significantly reduces your carbon footprint. Even over a mere 5-mile distance, each ride by bike vs a car ends up saving 4 pounds of carbon. Portland Oregon currently tops our list for best city to bike to work. Well over 6% of it’s working population takes the bike over the car or other modes. If every large city (500,000 or more) was able to achieve this, we’d have nearly a million additional people cycling to work. Those increases would translate to an estimated reduction in carbon emissions of 1.7 billion pounds annually.
4. You Save Money
The core of almost any decision. Money. Biking to work has numerous benefits but if none of them speak to you, saving money will. Biking five miles each way will save you $30 a month using a 20 mpg assumption for city driving. The longer you ride the more you save. If you commit to a 15-mile commute over a year you’ll save nearly $1,000. In addition to gas savings, you’ll also save on wear and tear of your car and maintenance expenses. You’ll do fewer oil changes, fewer brake jobs and generally, your car will last longer. You can even save on insurance. By biking to work you no longer use your car for commuting, which will reduce your risk of an accident. Insurance companies will offer you a lower rate or reduced miles and risk.
5. You’ll be More Happy
People that bike to work are happier than those sitting in traffic, crowded into a train or taking the bus according to many emerging studies. You’ll benefit from reduced stress levels, improved mood, boosted energy levels and general optimism. Happiness also leads to a longer and more fulfilling life. Improved happiness is essentially a summation of nearly everything on this list. By exercising, avoiding traffic, being more friendly to the environment, saving money you can expect to be a much happier person.