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:
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.
For every 1 mile pedaled rather than driven, nearly 1 pound of CO² (0.88 lbs) is saved. (US Environmental Protection Agency, 2009).
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.
- Commute By Bike – Top Ten Commuting 101 Articles
- Livestrong – Why Is Biking a Good Cardio Exercise?
- BicyclesBelong.org – Statistics to help you quickly convey the benefits of bicycling
- NH DOT Bicycle safety – Tips for Driving & Rules of the Road Summary
- League of American Bicyclists – Tips for Commuters
- Zen Habits – 6 Tips for Commuting to Work by Bike
- Bicycling Magazine – 5 Tips from Commuter Dude
- Environmental Protection Agency Blog – Bike to Work, It’s Easier Than You Think!
By Grant, New Hampshire State Parks Blogger