[sniplet tweetright]When I was a kid, I longed for a bike. I had dreams of getting one for Christmas, and when I finally got one, you couldn’t stop me from going all around the yard in zig zags and circles until it was dark and my parents called me in.
Just a couple years ago, I again felt the urge to have a new bike. This time was different though. The ability to get places quickly and without using gas seemed extraordinary to me. Even though commuting to work by bike wasn’t feasible, any trips I could take by bike instead of car would make a difference — to my health, the environment, and my wallet.
In this post I want to outline some of the benefits I’ve gotten from my new-found love of bicycles — some real benefits to bicycling that might make you long to buy a new bike:
1. Biking doesn’t create air pollution.
Unlike a car, a bike is an entirely human-powered machine, which means it doesn’t use gasoline. Just how much do you save by biking? Every mile you bike will save about 1lb of CO2 and other pollutants from entering our atmosphere.
2. Biking doesn’t make any other pollution either.
Your bike doesn’t use antifreeze or oil to keep you going, and it has a very quiet engine. You’d be hard-pressed to hear a bike that passes your home, but you could easily hear even the smallest car. Bikes are lean, green machines.
3. Biking burns calories.
Even a leisurely bike trip will burn more calories than sitting in a car. Every mile you bike burns about 25 calories. At a leisurely pace (less than 10 miles an hour), you’ll easily burn 275 calories an hour.
4. Biking costs less.
What if you didn’t need to pay for parking or gas? Better yet, what if you only used a bike and didn’t need to pay for car insurance, maintenance, car loan, gas, parking, or your registration? You bet you’d save money, and a lot of it. Even by riding a bike on short trips to a convenience store you’ll save money.
5. Biking is enjoyable.
Biking can be a whole lot of fun, even if you only ride for 5-minute trips to the market. You don’t need to sit in a traffic, you can feel the wind on your face, and you won’t have to worry about parking when you get there. That sure beats the short and annoying trips to get some milk where have to wait in a crowded parking lot at the convenience store.
6. Biking can increase your mobility.
If you currently don’t have a license, biking is the best bet to get back out and about. Alternatively, use your bike when you’re going somewhere with a large parking lot — bikes can usually park right near the front of the building and you won’t need to drive around the place looking for a spot. Biking can also take you to places that don’t allow cars: beautiful spots deep into parks or along waterfronts tend to be much easier to access by bike.
7. Biking is only becoming more popular.
Bike lanes are becoming more and more prominent across cities and even along rural roads. The more people bike, the easier it will be to do so and keep safe. By substituting car trips with bike trips, you’re not only helping yourself save money, keep healthy, and reduce pollution; you’re also supporting biking as an activity for others to enjoy too.
Have you loved your bike lately?
Have you used your bike to reduce your car trips? Any specific challenges you’ve faced or has it all been a piece of cake? What are some tips you’d recommend to others?