Remember your childhood days spent gleefully riding your bicycle everywhere you went? There was just something special about the wind blowing through your hair and the beauty of nature all around you. With such fond childhood memories of days spent on two wheels, it’s no wonder so many Americans have started parking their cars and hopping on their bicycles to get to work. According to Governing.com’s report from the 2011 US Census, at least 777,000 people used their bikes for their daily commutes to work.
If you are tired of paying all the money needed for fuel and upkeep of a car, you may also be thinking about riding a bicycle to work. Here are some things to consider about bike commuting:
1. Biking to Work Saves Your Money
In 2013, USA Today.com printed AAA Club statistics that estimated it costs approximately $10,000 a year to upkeep and drive a sedan-style car every year. Since it is an average, you may be paying even more to maintain and provide fuel for higher-cost vehicles. You must also figure in possible parking fees in larger neighborhoods or at your work site.
Treehugger.com carefully calculates the cost of riding to work on your bicycle. The site adds maintenance cost and your daily lunch (which is fuel for riding the bike), which averages to about $821.25 a year. If you subtract bike traveling costs from driving your car, you get a difference of $9,178.75. What could you and your family do with that money in your savings account?
2. Biking Provides Great Physical Fitness
It is hard to believe that you actually burn calories when you drive a car (being a passenger does not count). CalorieLab.com estimates that car drivers burn about 17 calories every 15 minutes. If you have a round-trip drive to work every day, you can expect to burn about 34 calories. While you are technically burning calories, you are not doing much to tone your body and work your muscles. Now, let us compare these statistics with biking to work.
There are several variables to consider: your weight, how fast you are going, terrain, and how far you go. For example, if you are an average-sized 175 lb. male who rides 14-16mph for the half-hour trip to work, you will burn approximately 397 calories. Bicycling.com has a handy calculator to figure your average. Livestrong.com reports that bicycling incorporates your leg muscles and upper body muscles. You get a good workout on the bike compared to sitting at driving wheel.
3. Pure Fun
Riding a bicycle brings back the nostalgia of being a kid again. You get to feel the whip of a fresh breeze and see all the beauty of nature along your path. Since most major cities have designated bike lanes on the road, you will not have to deal as frequently with traffic jams. When your stress is reduced, you will also have less anxiety and can experience a mood boost, says an article from Psychology Today.com.
4. Increased Safety
Science Daily.com relates a study from the University of Wales which shows a correlation between the increased number of bicyclists on the road and the decrease in bicycle/automobile accidents. Part of the study opines that car drivers may be more alert to their fellow bicycle travelers and make better driving decisions.
5. Kinder to The Environment
Automobiles require gasoline as fuel and oil for operation. They also need several other chemicals to make various engine parts to run efficiently. Even with the lower carbon emission laws across the nation, cars make up 26% of the annual carbon emissions put into the atmosphere each year, says a report from the EPA. Bicycles require no fossil fuel to run and they put out zero emissions.
If more people consider biking to work, these benefits can continue to increase. There will be less dependence on fossil fuels and a reduction in the greenhouse gasses. For these reasons, you can join the people who happily pedal their way to their daily jobs.