Why Everybody Should Bike to Work

Before I dive into this, here is my discaimer: I am not a cyclist, I am not in a cycling club or on a cycling team, I don’t use my bike frequently and in fact I hardly use it all. This is an unbiased look at cycling after recent conversations in my life. Enjoy! (Or don’t, the choice is yours I suppose.)

Today I was at the grand opening for Alicia Vin Zant’s new bike shop, Seven Spokes Bike Shop, in Saint Paul, MN. While I was there, I couldn’t help but notice the plethora of families hanging around and enjoying each other’s company. This past weekend I had a great conversation with someone who is also achieving great things in the world. Part of that conversation was the role bicycling plays in stable communities. As a kid growing up, biking was my main source of transportation. Another friend of mine recently stopped into a new spin studio to try it out as part of his exercise program. Today I had a conversation with my neighbors about starting my 11 month old daughter on a kick bike. Needless to say, biking plays a big role in many peoples lives and rightfully so.

The three main points of focus for today’s purpose are exercise, transportation, and community. Each component is integral in my belief that cycling to work is important and beneficial to our lives. Now let’s get down to the nitty gritty. I’ll start with exercise.

Although it can be expensive to get the nicest bike, gear, and accessories you can start out with a very minimal investment. You can check your local bike shop for new or used bikes, check Craigslist, or even stroll over to Goodwill. The main thing is to simply get a bike. Once you are fitted and ready to hit the road, biking can be a great way for most anyone to get some aerobic work in. Your workout doesn’t have to be in a spin class with someone yelling at you on a stationary bike. In fact, I prefer to see people outside, taking in the fresh air, enjoying their surroundings, and perhaps dodging traffic to work on awareness. Biking can be done rain or shine and even in snow. On top of that, biking is very low impact which means it is better on your body than some other forms of exercise and you can continue this practice for longer throughout your life. Lastly, exercise releases endorphins to make you feel better and be more creative. It will help you start your morning on the right foot by getting the juices flowing in your body and your brain. These are a couple of things you and/or your boss would love to see day after day!

As a source of transportation, biking is a great way to get around. Biking obviously saves on the use of electricity and fuel in the form of gas. When your bike is properly cared for and you are set up on the proper bike, you can maximize your work output with the push of each peddle. If you need a break while traveling, you can rest while you continue to gain ground on your final destination. The cost of maintenance is minimal. As you gain experience, strength, and stamina you can cut your time of travel significantly as you start to move at the speed of traffic. If you are in a grid lock or generally congested city, it is much quicker and convenient to travel with a bike than a vehicle not to mention the lack of parking fees. Overall, cycling will get you where you need to be very efficiently and in a comparable amount of time for those shorter distance travels.

Last and most important, I want to discuss the community aspect of riding a bike. During my conversation with Joe a week ago, he pointed out how studies have shown that communities with a strong cycling presence have a stronger economy. Here is my basic explanation of why.

For those who can manage to drop their phones, forget they own a TV, leave their car in the garage, and instead jump on a bike, they are people we should envy. It is these folks who know their surroundings, have a good sense of direction, and know how to really connect with the world. They see the new local shops, they make the quick stops to try something new or see something in more detail rather than driving by, and they are traveling at a pace that allows for engagement amongst each other without causing safety issues on the road. In general they are connected to their surroundings and what is happening in their community. They will spend their time and their money in those local shops and restaurants rather than driving to the super-mega-plex to get everything they need.

Also, it is the cyclist who will know the ins and outs of the neighborhoods and city. The cyclist can help direct the travelers to the best known secrets in town. The cyclist lives close to work and has stake in the community. This means the cyclist only wants whats best for the local shops and community members. The cyclist doesn’t want to see the graffiti and trash on the way to and from work. This is where the cyclist lives, travels, and works. This gives the cyclist a sense of ownership, pride, and responsibilty!

Here’s your quick recap of why everyone should bike to work.

  1. You can get in a bit of exercise most every day.
  2. You will feel better and be happier to start each day.
  3. The transportation efficiency factor is through the roof, especially as time passes.
  4. By virtue of reason 3, you can save money.
  5. You can get to know your community better.
  6. You gain a better understanding and a greater love for your surroundings.
  7. You can help increase the economy through my more stops at those local places you typically pass by or don’t know exist.
  8. You can help increase your local economy by having a higher stake in your communtiy.

Thanks for reading, now get out there and start peddling!

Post Scipt: “Never” - “always” - “nobody” - “everybody”. Yes I know I shouldn’t use the all inclusive or exclusive but it’s more catchy than, “a lot of people” or “the majority of people” should _______.

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