Gas prices got you down this week? Why not kick it old school by riding your bike? While I realize that it’s not a reasonable option for everyone , for some, it may be the best choice you make this summer.
Top 10 awesome things about biking:
- Saving money on gas = more money for other things
- Free exercise.
- Saving time. Even though it may take longer than driving, biking saves you time because you are multi-tasking. You are getting something done (getting groceries, getting from point A to point B) AND exercising at the same time. Winning.
- Less pollution. Climate change effects everyone. Have you seen the increase in hurricanes, floods, tidal waves, earthquakes, etc.? What you do every day does make a difference whether you like to think about it or not.
- FREE PARKING! City parking can be really costly and difficult to find. On the flip side, you can park your bike practically anywhere, for free. AMAZING.
- Biking is more social than driving. If you see someone you know you can slow down and say hi 🙂 You can also join a bike group for recreation or sport.
- You get to spend time in the real world. The experience of riding a bike forces you to interact with the world in a very different way than being in a car. You feel the bumps on the road and the wind in your face. You get fresh air, sunshine, and sometimes rain. Some people (like my parents on their honeymoon) even take road trips on their bikes. I recommend PEI or Cape Breton 🙂
- You appreciate having a vehicle a lot more (if you have one). When you take longer trips or have to use your car for moving heavy things, you might just reflect on how fortunate you are. Sometimes we assume that everyone has a car which simply is not the case.
- For $500 you can get a really crappy car. For the same $500 you can get a really sweet bike.
- You get to wear a cool helmet.
What is a reasonable amount of time to spend biking to work? Generally, I would say 15-30 min each way is doable for most people. One summer I biked 2 hours on the highway and up a mountain to get to the beach where I lifeguarded for 8 hours before biking home. Quite frankly, it was the only option I had and not something I would recommend for the average person, however, it does beg the question “why not?”
What about looking professional at work? Some workplaces have started providing showering facilities for active transportation enthusiasts so you can simply arrive a little early, have a quick shower and get ready at work. Yes, this does involve planning and developing a routine. Not available? Perhaps your gym is close to work and you can shower there instead. No other option? A quick sponge bath in a private bathroom will do the trick. Pretend you’re camping.
What about carrying stuff? Enter the world of bike racks & packs. There are lots of options, depending on your needs and your price range. Check out MEC, Kijiji, or your local bike shop to compare options. Alternatively, get a basic bike rack and attach an old milk crate or sturdy basket using rope, bungee cords, or zip ties.
What about protecting my bike? You can’t prevent theft entirely but try not to park in sketchy areas, use a bike lock that’s hard to cut, and don’t use an expensive looking bike for errands. You can also purchase bicycle insurance to protect yourself in the event that your bike does get stolen.
Have a great day 🙂