We all remember what a joy bicycle riding was when we were children. Now, cycling to work and errands has become a necessity to save money. With gas, car maintenance, car finance and insurance prices skyrocketing, owning a car is becoming a luxury. Cycling provides not only huge savings advantages, but tremendous health benefits as well.
Cities are Seeing the Need to Accommodate Cyclists
As more people take to the roads on bicycles, cities are accommodating them by adding bicycle lanes whenever possible. Where dormant railroad lines sit unused, some cities are pulling up the rails and turning them into rail trails for walkers and cyclists. Cities with busy highways running through often have bicycle and pedestrian bridges across busy thoroughfares. However, in places like San Francisco, where narrow streets prevent adding lanes and force cyclists to blend into traffic, drivers and cyclists often have a contentious relationship.
How Much Can I Reasonably Save Biking to Work?
Your savings from biking to work depend on what type of car you drive, the length of the trip, parking costs and toll costs. According to the calculator on Kiplinger.com, the average driver with a 10-mile round trip who pays $100 a month for parking but no tolls can expect to save around $10 a day. That’s around $200 a month if you work full time. Add in cycling for errands, and you can easily save up to $300 a month over using your vehicle.
What Are the Health Benefits of Cycling?
Any aerobic exercise is good for your heart, and cycling is one of the best. It is also good for your muscles, building shapely calves, toned thighs and a firm derriere. Bicycling is an excellent low-impact exercise for those who suffer from joint problems or leg and hip injuries. Cycling burns calories, so if you are looking to lose weight and tone muscle, it is a great way to pare some extra pounds. Cycling builds coordination and balance skills, which are especially important to older people who fear falling. It also boosts your immunity and may protect against some cancers. Mentally, cycling has been shown to improve depression and increase cognitive abilities. But best of all, riding a bicycle helps you live longer, even adjusting for potential injury associated with cycling.
The Drawbacks to Cycling to Work
The first thing that comes to people’s minds when they think of cycling is injury and fatalities. Yes, you may be injured or killed while cycling, but using protective gear and obeying the rules of the road reduce that risk. If you live in a big city, like New York, your chances of injury naturally increase. Another drawback is weather. If you intend to give up your car, there will be days when you will be wet and cold. Be sure to dress for the weather and be extra careful on wet, slippery streets. It may be preferable on bad weather days to take public transportation.
Overall, there are more benefits than risks in cycling to work and for errands around your neighborhood. The financial savings from cycling are substantial, and the health benefits cannot be ignored. There is risk in everything you do in life, so it ‘s up to you to decide if this lifestyle is something that you would be comfortable doing.