Street view of biking to work in Asheville. Photo: Jakob Kafer
The petroleum IV drip that we as Americans have bothers me more and more every day. I am as guilty as anyone about using petroleum to access my favorite playgrounds in the outdoors, but one important goal for me in my career is the ability to ride my bike to work daily. That is part of the reason why I love living in Asheville, NC so much. This city is very accessible from a variety of neighborhoods surrounding the town, and the enabling infrastructure is improving every day with the help of organizations such as Asheville on Bikes.
I did some Internet searching recently on the actual benefits of bicycle commuting from a variety of different standpoints, and the supportive factors were staggering!
Apparently, riding a bicycle is the most energy efficient form of transportation ever invented. By biking instead of driving a car, you are saving on a myriad of expenses that you would have otherwise incurred. These include fuel, tire wear, fluids, maintenance and parking. Although the distances traveled may seem inconsequential at first, these savings can add up very quickly.
When you ride to work, you are getting a great workout and kick-starting your metabolism for increased fat burning and productivity throughout the day. It is widely accepted that new full-time bicycle commuters can expect to lose an average of 13 pounds their first year of bicycle commuting if they maintain the same eating habits! This exercise leads to clearer skin, better muscle tone, and bone mass improvement. It also decreases the risk of diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure.
There are many other hidden benefits to this form of transportation. In many cities, riding a bike is actually faster than any other option, and it usually carries with it a predictable commute time that is not susceptible to traffic jams, and other problems. Increased bike use also aids in the generation of bike infrastructure, which drives up property values. Biking commuters were also added to the list of those eligible for transportation tax benefit in 2010, so tax-free subsidies are available in addition to the cost savings!
If you aren’t convince yet, check out this bicycle commuting infographic.
What do you think… ready to give it a shot?