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 gas prices on the rise 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 saved about $22 a week by riding my bike just 4 out of 5 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.
Traffic congestion wastes nearly 3.9 billion gallons of gas per year in the US.
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!
5 thoughts to “5 Reasons to Ditch Your Car & Ride Your Bike”
Nice article! Especially enjoyed Hutchy’s “Gas Prices” on the bike ride to Concord…although the biker must have been speeding to get there in less than 3 minutes.
Thanks Sherm! Hutchy’s song seemed so appropriate considering the rising cost of fuel. Maybe this rider inherited a ‘need for speed’ from his ancestors.
I was initially seeking for tips for my very own website
and stumbled upon ur post, _5 Reasons to Ditch Your Car &
Ride Your Bike : The New Hampshire Division of Parks and Recreation_ tcapps
, do you mind in the event that I actually utilize several of ur ideas?
Thank you ,Ramona
Thank you Ramona, absolutely!
I was never an avid bicyclist but have always owned several bikes. I was too cool for a crash helmet but listened to Ronn Owens on radio talk and decided that I should helmet up. My next ride, a two mile trip to rent a truck, found me in the emergency room with cracked colar bone, cracked ribs and huge hematoma on my left hip. Oh, and lest I forget, a concussion that left lasting memory issues. The helmet I was wearing split down the left side from the impact. It saved my life. I was merging into traffic lanes to make a left turn at the signal light. As I started my merge, the front tire exploded, the last thing I remembered prior to waking up in an emergency room looking up at my wife. I hadn’t ridden the mountain bike in some time and when I aired the tires, over inflated them to 80 lbs, thinking I was filling a roadbike tire. When examining the tire after I recovered my senses, I noticed the max fill was 60 lbs! When I started the merge, the pressure must have changed causing a spike and failure of the tire. Today, I am fearful when I ride, even though the tires are fresh and air pressures correct. Two wheels and tires between me and the hard roadway, not to mention the drivers who don’t care about our safety for the most part have slowed my roll. When I see anyone ride without a helmet, I share my story if they let me, to prevent them from practicing habits that could be a life ending decision. Helmets Helmets Helmets… Be well, ride safe, and pay attention to detail..