As mentioned in an earlier post, May is National Bike Month, and I thought I'd get the gears turning in your head to finally saddle up start commuting to work. I'll talk about how to prep for such an endeavor later, but for now, let me state the case as to why you should be going by bike!
1. It's Cheaper. This is an obvious reason, and lets face it, money is the deal breaker for most people on most issues. Even if you don't already own a bike and the gear you may need to commute, the long term savings are hard to deny (and even more incentive to stick to it!). So how are you saving money? The obvious is gas, and while we've definitely seen the gas prices dip lately, whose to say we won't be seeing another spike? In addition, you're saving on parking, general ware and tear on your car, more frequent oil changes/regular maintenance, etc.
2. Endorphins. Need I say more? But I will. Studies have shown that exercising not only boosts your mood, but it calms the nerves, staves off depression, clears the mind, and boosts brain power. Isn't that exactly what you need before a full day of work? Who knows, maybe your new found productivity will finally give you that boost you've been looking for to climb the corporate ladder!
3. You Can Avoid Traffic Jams. I saw a great billboard once that said, "You aren't stuck in traffic, you ARE traffic." A great humbling reminder. Why sit in traffic when you can cruise on by it? When you take into consideration the amount of time you sit waiting during your commute by car, it more than justifies the minimal addition of time going by bike.
4. Women Reap the Health Benefits Even More! Heart disease is the number one killer of women in America. Sad, isn't it? Reason being, high blood pressure and high LDL Cholesterol. In a recent study, researchers had 32 women ride at a moderate to high intensity level just 3 times a week. And you know what happened? In just one year, their blood pressure AND LDL cholesterol dropped! Drug free solution? Yes please :) Not to mention, women who ride tend to have stronger bone density, meaning less issues with osteoporosis!
5. Go Green: Fresh Air. It's no secret that driving is terrible for the environment. Commuting by bike allows you to be a part of the clean air movement by drastically reducing your driving time and carbon foot print.
6. Skip the Gym. You're getting your workout in before AND after work, meaning you don't need scurry about in order to get to gym. Hello extra time in your day!
7. Skip the Sick Days. A study of more than 1,200 Dutch workers found that cyclists are less likely to take off from work than non-cyclists. Even more impressive, the longer their commute was, all the more likely they were to skip the sick days! Moral of the story, pedal it out on your bicycle, and you'll boost your immune system!
8. There's Actually a Tax Incentive. You read that correct. Ride your bike to work for one more thing to write off at the end of each year!
9. Help Make a Difference in Your Community. One of the biggest hurdles people have with wrapping their heads around commuting by bike is the safety aspect. They fear what the road conditions will be like and how drivers will perceive them on the road. BUT, the more bikes we have the road, the less surprising they are to drivers. "It's a virtuous cycle," Dr. Julie Hatfield, an injury expert from UNSW, says. "The likelihood that an individual cyclist will be struck by a motorist falls with increasing rate of bicycling in a community. And the safer cycling is perceived to be, the more people are prepared to cycle." Not to mention, when your city sees that there are more cyclists on the roads, the more incentive they have to build more cycling friendly infrastructure.
10. Calm Your Brain. We already discussed the benefits of endorphins, but how about the simple act of calming our brain? We live in an insanely fast paced world, with news being thrown at us in record speed. We jam pack our days, and feel the pressure to race from one commitment to another. Use this as an excuse to take a mental break on a daily basis. Ditch the radio, put your phone in your bag, enjoy the slower pace, and decompress. By the time you get arrive, I'm willing to bet your stress level has decreased, your mind is a little more clear, and your happiness level is a little bit higher. Oh the joys of mixing endorphins with simply tuning out :)