Lots of people ride bikes for lots of different reasons. Here are the top reasons why you should be out there too.
1. Your Body
Riding a bike offers many health benefits. Here are just a few:
increased cardiovascular fitness
increased balance and flexibility
increased endurance and stamina
It can be done by people of all ages, from childhood up even through the adult years when achy joints don't allow for more stressful exercise like jogging.
2. Your State of Mind
Riding a bike is a proven stress reliever. Regardless of if you are riding purely for pleasure or for a specific purpose, such as to become more mindful about life, you will arrive at your destination feeling relaxed, energized and happier about the world and yourself.
Plus, being out on your bike is just flat-out fun. The more time you spend on two wheels, the harder it is to take yourself too seriously.
3. Your Community
Being out on your bike is good for the people around you as well. You are able to go the places you want to go and yet put one less car on the road.
You don’t bring with you the noise that a car generates and are actually able to interact with people as you move. From my bike, I can wave to a neighbor, say hi to a kid, smell someone’s dinner cooking and be a warm and friendly human presence on the streets.
Also, not insignificant: operating a bicycling does not harm the environment. There is no polluting exhaust released, no oil or gas consumed. And the energy and materials used to manufacture one automobile could be used to create a hundred bikes.
There is an undeniable convenience factor you’ll discover when riding a bike. Front-row parking spaces are guaranteed no matter where you go. Traffic jams are also irrelevant.
Though cars will certainly make better time on long trips, you’ll find for many short trips or through heavy traffic (especially in heavy traffic), you can travel safely in traffic just as fast or faster on your bike.
Have you ever been to a massive festival or concert in a park somewhere, the type of event that draws so many people that just getting there is a problem? Going in on a bike is a perfect solution. Zip in, zip out. You don’t have to get there hours early to get a parking spot or else face parking miles away from the event. And you won’t have to wait hours in traffic to get out once it’s over.
4. Your Pocketbook
It costs between 20 and 30 cents per mile to operate a car, depending on the vehicle. This is based on expenses like gas, oil, maintenance, etc., that go up when you drive more. This figure doesn’t include the hidden costs of vehicle ownership like depreciation, taxes, and insurance. These factors make the actual per mile cost to operate a car much higher.
When you start multiplying cost per mile to operate a car by the distance you ride, you can easily calculate how much money you save by riding a bike.
For example, my daily round-trip commute is 16 miles. If I do that just twice a week, I will save over $400 in operating costs alone in the course of a year. (16 miles x 2 trips per week x 52 weeks x .25 cents per mile.)
And if you would otherwise have to pay for parking, tolls, and the like, don’t forget to factor that in too. It can add up quickly.
5. Ride For You
When you ride your bike, you are doing a lot of good things, many of which are for the benefit of others. But ultimately, the one who benefits the most is you, through better health, peace of mind, increased confidence and self-reliance, heck, even through a fatter bank account.
So for all these reasons, get out there on your bike today. Even if you don’t save the world in the process, you’ll still have fun trying!
Photo by Dawn C Whitty
Article by David Fiedler
Updated August 28, 2018