I still remember the day I was introduced to the concept of bicycle commuting. I was watching a Bruce Lee film in which characters were cruising through the streets of China on bikes.
I felt confused, surprised, and intrigued all at the same time. Instead of vehicular traffic, there were thousands of bikes on the roads.
I wasn’t even sure if what I was seeing was real or just staged for the film. Was it possible that folks were actually riding to where they needed to go by bike instead of car or public transportation?
As I did a little digging, I discovered that this truly was taking place. I guess that considering the Chinese have long been regarded as a health conscious culture, the idea of people filling the streets with bikes should not have been so surprising.
Benefits of Bicycle Commuting
There are a few reasons why bicycle commuting is a good idea, and why it has become so popular.
The biking calories you burn really add up fast. You can use a biking calories calculator to see what you would burn on your route to work. I discovered that by bicycle commuting, I could work off half the calories I consume for breakfast. In addition to burning calories, biking makes you lean. It burns fat and tones muscles without the impact and wear-and-tear on joints that jogging has.
Improved Mental Health
The fitter and leaner you are the higher your self-esteem. Plus, when you exercise, your brain releases endorphins. These natural painkillers improve your mood and reduce stress. Not to mention, just being outside and soaking up some sunshine does positive things for your mental health.
Save the Planet
Building a bicycle takes about 5 percent of the energy and materials used to manufacturer a car. Plus, cycling produces zero pollution. A significant amount of CO2 emissions come directly from road transport, so you will be doing your part to reduce pollution locally and globally. If everyone committed to bicycle commuting even once a week, think about what a monumental impact this would have on the environment.
Individuals who exercise regularly have a significantly lower risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and cancer. Physical activity decreases the amount of time food takes to move through your large intestine. Exercise accelerates breathing and heart rate. This stimulates intestinal muscles to contract, which keeps you regular. In return, this protects against colon cancer.
Buying a road bike or mountain bike is an investment. However, if you use this investment to start commuting by bicycle you will save a lot of money in the long run. Not only are you saving gas money, you don’t have to deal with parking fees either.
If you can completely get rid of your car, then you no longer have a car payment or insurance bill to pay every month. Plus, you don’t have to pay for routine maintenance and unexpected repairs. If you traditionally take public transportation to get to work, it should be easy to figure out how much you will save by riding your bike.
Did you know...?
Did you know that there are designated bicycle lanes in some cities?
In America, there are often lanes dedicated to cyclists on the side of the road. They have a solid white stripe. You might even drive past some every day you have never noticed. To stay safe and reduce inconvenience to motorized traffic, ride in these designated lanes, when they are available.
As you can see, bicycle commuting offers a long list of advantages. It is good for your health, the health of the planet, and your pocket book. If you already exercise regularly, then riding your bike to work will probably be a breeze. If not, you will simply need to build your endurance. This will take a little effort on your part, but you will be glad you did. No one has ever said they regret making a positive change!