As dawn breaks, the sounding alarm feels painful but a fresh outlook begins to take shape while coasting down the driveway on a bicycle. A few lungfuls of crisp morning air help snap the fog. The joy of living becomes more apparent with each turn of the crank. The dewy grass smells sweet, the color of the sky slowly changes and birds sing from the treetops. Every passing runner, walker or cyclist waves in acknowledgement as if part of some secret club that has discovered a fountain of youth. What better way is there to start and finish the workday than with a bike ride?
If you dread your work commute or traffic jams and road rage are raising your tension levels – consider riding your bike to work. Why not make commuting the best part of your day?
Here are five reasons to ditch your car and commute by bike:
1. Wake up & Unwind:
It’s better than morning coffee. Get the metabolism moving and jump start your mind. Fresh ideas can come more easily with an elevated heart rate.
At quitting time, a brisk ride home can help you de-stress and leave work behind. Your noisy, cluttered mind will settle as you pedal home. Once you hit your first hill the only thing on your mind will be getting to the top.
2. Smell the Wildflowers:
Become more aware of your natural surroundings and notice all the beauty. Smell the sweet morning air, feel the gentle breeze, watch the fog rising off a pond or stream.
Wildlife sightings are not uncommon along NH roadways and it’s easier to stop and enjoy them from the seat of a bicycle. Deer, turkeys, groundhogs, hawks, rabbits, farm animals are frequently spotted on my route to work.
3. Save Moola:
With average US gas prices now reaching $3.72 it adds up quickly. Try this equation: (Weekly miles to and from work) / (Your car’s average mpg) x (Average price per gallon) = Amount you can save by riding to work each week.
I save about $22 a week by riding my bike just 4 days. That’s $88 per month! Your commute may be shorter or longer but just imagine putting that cash into a retirement fund instead of handing it to oil companies!
4. Get Fit & Lose Weight:
According to the International Bicycle Fund, commuters who begin to ride their bicycles to and from work instead of driving lose an average of 13 pounds during their first year of bike commuting. I like to think of it this way – the more I ride, the more ice cream I can eat.
If you are planning to do a road race (such as NH Reach the Beach Relay) cross-training is also a great way to build your cardiovascular endurance and work muscle groups you may not use while running alone.
5. Protect the Environment:
You’ll be one less car on the road. Help cut greenhouse gas emissions and reduce the nation’s dependence on oil.
Of course there’s a lot to consider before starting a bicycle commute regimen – from knowing the rules of the road to selecting the best route and proper gear. As with any other outdoor recreational activity – being prepared is essential.
Here are a few helpful resources for aspiring bicycle commuters:
Commute Green NH – tools to make it easier for you to carpool, bicycle, walk, use the bus/train or telecommute and celebrate your efforts whether you’re trying green commuting for the first time or are a seasoned pro at it.
Who in their right mind would sign up for a 200 mile race? That’s what the Reach the Beach Race relay organizers asked the New Hampshire Division of Parks and Recreation when they generously offered the Division a relay team. Twelve crazy runners jumped at the opportunity. We may not be in the right mind, but we are always in the adventure mind!
Our team name is the NH State Park Bloggers which means that we have blogging to do. We will keep you up-to-date with pictures and video using our new GoPro camera on our training progress throughout the summer and into the fall. We all agreed that we should use this opportunity to create awareness for a serious problem facing outdoor enthusiasts throughout the country; New Hampshire especially and that is Lyme Disease. We will do as much as we can throughout the summer to promote awareness, safety, prevention, and to work with Lyme Disease foundations to learn what more can do to make our woods safer.
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