I was prompted to write this post after seeing this infographic from the League of American Bicyclists:
There are a lot of reasons why I ride.
When I graduated from college, I couldn’t afford a car. I rented an apartment near enough to work that I could walk if needed, but cycling was faster. Even after I got a car and got married, we stuck with one car and relied heavily upon bicycles for transportation. We were still just scraping by financially, and gas and parking cost money we didn’t want to have to spend. Today, we still get by with one car and two commuter bicycles because of the financial benefits.
According to a Triple-A survey, the average annual cost of operating a vehicle in 2015 was $8,698. That represents multiple thousands of dollars we can set aside for other things in our budget. (Hot tip: this is how we’ve afforded our international travels – most recently to Ireland and Sweden; we save money by only owning one car and spend some of the savings on incredible vacations.)
I am, at heart, a lazy person. Given the opportunity, I would gladly become a couch potato. At one time, cycling to work was pretty much the only exercise I got. I can’t stand going to gyms, and I’m not much into competitive team sports. How could I turn down the opportunity to exercise WHILE I was heading to work? It’s multitasking, and I don’t have to go to the stupid gym later!
3. Mmmmm, beer / food
Now that I’ve gotten into road riding for recreation, I’m putting in hundreds of miles a month on the bike saddle in season. That translates into upwards of 7,000 extra calories burned each month, which makes me happy because it means I can indulge in such things as tasty craft beers and gooey slices of pizza without developing a beer-and-pizza butt. (Which in turn means I don’t have to buy new clothes – another money saver!)
In some places, it’s simply easier to get around on a bike than in a car. Bikes often (and should!) get rock-star parking, with bike racks close up near the front door.
4. The feels
Biking is good for me, emotionally speaking. I get a good start to the day being connected to the outdoors, knowing in intimate detail what the wind’s doing and what they sky looks like and how the earth smells – especially important if I’m inside all day. Also, if I’ve had a rotten day, I can work off the negativity by pedaling extra hard on the way home.
5. Clear head
Something about the increased blood flow and fresh oxygen being delivered to my brain helps me think better. I’ve solved some problems and come up with some creative ideas while pedaling about town. I’ve heard other people have had similar experiences. [cough] Einstein [cough, cough].
Bicycling started for me as a necessity, developed into a habit, and, eventually, became a lifestyle.
It’s just something I do now.