Having a hard time finding the motivation to get to the gym each week? Concerned about your expanding waistline? Do treadmills and stairmasters feel more like hamster wheels than engaging exercise equipment? Worried that you are not getting enough exercise to keep your heart healthy? Hoping to cut a nice physique this summer? Grab the attention of that special someone? Or maybe you are hoping to save some extra cash by canceling your seldom used gym membership? The solution to all of these questions is simple: bike commuting.
Chances are if you live in the United States you have never even thought about commuting by bicycle. However it is often the cheapest, fastest, healthiest and most environmentally friendly way to get to work or school. It is a great way to stay fit, lose a few pounds, reduce stress, and save some extra cash all while doing your part to improve air quality, decrease pollution, and save the environment for future generations.
Imagine zipping passed all the incensed and idling drivers cursing stop lights and one way streets-free to make your own path and keep your own pace. Burning off last night’s tiramisu while you breathe in cleaner air and work off stress. Watching your wallet get plump with dough as you save on high gas prices, costly road tolls, car payments, parking fees, and the all too often parking ticket. Imagine arriving at work energized and ready to take on your demanding schedule. Imagine the sense of pride knowing that each day you are doing your part to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and dependence on foreign oil, while improving the health of your community.
According to the 2000 Census, New Yorkers have the longest commutes in the country at 45 minutes each way. However the average bike commute in New York City takes just 30 minutes. Each spring the Transportation Alternatives organization holds its annual commuter challenge-pitting car, train and bike commuters against each other. And each spring the bike commuter bests the competition by a huge margin. Last year, they journeyed from Sunnyside Queens to Columbus Circle in Manhattan. The bike commuter traversed the 4.2 mile stretch in just 20 minutes, easily defeating the train commuter’s 35 minute finish and the car’s sluggish 47 minute crawl.
The cyclist enjoyed the sunny weather, open air and comfortable ride while the train commuter was crammed into a packed subway car, left to smell the armpits of her fellow New Yorkers. The car experienced aggravating gridlock on the Queensboro Bridge and spent most of the 47 minute journey cursing the traffic delay.
Besides besting the car’s time by almost 250%, the bike commuter burnt the most calories, alleviated stress, spent the least amount of cash, and had the lowest impact on air quality. The cyclist added no carbon dioxide to the city air, while the train commuter created 1 pound of CO2 and the automobile emitted a startling 6 pounds.
Bike commuting is an easy solution to many 21st century issues like obesity, climate change, and the increasing costs of fossil fuels. Bike commuting is often the cheapest, most efficient and healthiest way to get to work or school each day. That’s why billions of people around the world do it every day. Bike commuting isn’t for everyone though. But before you quickly dismiss it, mull it over. Maybe commuting by bicycle is the exercise and financial solution for you.