In today’s fast-paced world, there’s nothing like sitting in slow-moving traffic to make you reassess your choices. There’s no denying that car ownership has boomed over the past few decades, and if you live in a large town or city, you’ve probably realised that driving isn’t the most efficient way to get around anymore.
So what options does that leave you with? While public transport is a great option, getting around independently can be much more freeing, especially since you’re not relying upon someone else’s timetable. That leaves walking and cycling, and let’s face it, unless you live in the same area where you work, cycling makes the most sense.
There are many reasons to ditch the car in favour of the bike for your commute. From saving time and money, to getting daily exercise and doing your bit for the environment, there are plenty of benefits to cycling to work. However if you’re unsure that it’s right for you, we’ve rounded up our thoughts on why you should give commuting by bike a try.
Getting daily exercise
If your job has you sitting at a desk all day, your body may be crying out for some movement. Rather than joining a gym and making your day even longer, commuting by bike is an easy way to incorporate exercise into your daily routine.
Not only does it improve your cardio fitness, strength and stamina, it’s also a great way to wake your body — and your brain — up in the morning before you get to work. Several studies have shown that morning exercise can have a positive impact on your cognitive ability throughout the day, so a cycling commute could even improve your performance at work!
Reducing your carbon footprint
If you’re conscious of the changing climate and want to do your bit for the environment, then driving less is the first significant change you can make. While taking public transport can reduce your carbon emissions, cycling brings them down to almost zero. What’s more, by cycling you’ll also contribute much less to air and noise pollution, helping to make your local area a much better place to be.
Say goodbye to skyrocketing fuel prices! Even if you keep your car for other journeys, by cycling to work each day you’ll be using much less fuel and saving money at the same time. Less driving means slower wear and tear to your car, which also means less frequent servicing. Plus, if you decided to take the plunge and go completely car-free, you’d end up with a serious amount of spare cash to play with (and perhaps use to buy a fancy new bike).
Improving your mental wellbeing
Starting the day with some physical exercise like cycling to work can also be a mood booster, thanks to the release of endorphins (AKA ‘happy hormones’). It can also mean a much nicer start to the day. While this will vary depending on your location and route, generally commuting by bike can be a lot less stressful than driving.
For one thing, you’re less likely to be held up in traffic jams because you can filter your way through, or even find traffic-free alternative routes and make good use of quieter streets. More often than not, you’ll find your travelling time goes down when you leave the car at home, so you can arrive at work feeling more relaxed and mentally prepared for the day ahead.
As we hinted earlier, cycling to work gives you a greater sense of autonomy, where you’re relying less on other people’s timetables. There’s no need to worry about missing the bus or being delayed by congestion, so you can keep moving freely about the city. Cycling requires you to rely on your own strength and skills, navigating the streets on your terms, and promoting a greater sense of personal freedom and independence. What’s not to love?
Getting some fresh air
Even if you live in a built-up city, getting out of the enclosed space of a car, bus or train gives you a unique opportunity to embrace the outdoors on your commute. Cycling enables you to steer clear of the most congested roads and make use of cycleways and backstreets, so you can breathe the fresh air and reconnect with your surroundings. This is especially beneficial if you live in an area with green spaces and traffic-free cycle routes, and taking advantage of them can leave you feeling invigorated before your workday begins.
From improving your physical and mental health and saving you some money, to lessening your impact on the environment, and reconnecting with your local area, whatever your reasons for commuting by bike, you should now have a better idea of the many benefits that come with it. So grab your helmet and dust off the bike, because the road awaits, and the possibilities are endless.
By Freelance Journalist, Mildred Locke