Fitness is important to me, and so I want to tell you why I prefer cycling to driving into dense, urban environments. I do sometimes drive, but most of the time I ride. I refer to the car as "the gluteus maximizer" because it is so exhausting to drive in bad, rush-hour traffic, there's no way I could ever drag myself to the gym after. Also, the subtle vibration of the car often leaves me hungry, without offering any exercise. Double-whammy if you don't want to be fat. So why ride a bicycle instead?
1. It's good for you!
No time to exercise? Every trip is an opportunity for a workout.
You lose weight by performing two types of exercise: aerobic and resistance training. The aerobic workout burns energy and calories, while the resistance training converts fat to muscle. You should do both.
Bike riding is an excellent aerobic workout. It's not as hard on the knees, joints or ankles as impact exercise (e.g. running) and pressing down the pedals offers the opportunity to add a little resistance. NOTE: if you enjoy running, and it doesn't hurt, that is also an excellent aerobic workout.
2. It's good for the planet!
The Earth loves you for riding your bike instead of driving! Burning fossil fuels contributes to greenhouse gas emissions. Those are the things responsible for the global climate change we've been seeing, melting the polar ice caps and creating all kinds of frightening weather. When you ride your bike, you're just burning the pancakes you ate for breakfast that morning!
Also, bike riding reduces America's dependence on fracking and foreign oil. Not only is biking environmentally friendly, it's an act of patriotism!
3. No Traffic Jams!
Annoyed by the unanticipated delay of being stuck in traffic? Are your leg and ankle screaming at you about the repetitive strain of switching between gas and brake? Tired of the feeling of being trapped in a vibrating box? Would you like to get some exercise and feel confident you'll arrive at your destination at the expected time? There is a way...
4. Rock Star Parking!
You sat in your car, enduring hours of bad traffic, and now you have to either spend another half an hour looking for street parking, or pay extortion-level fees to park in a lot ... or you can ride your bike and get easy access to some of the best free parking spots you could ever hope for!
5. Cheaper to fix and maintain!
There aren't many fixes for your automobile that your mechanic will charge you less than $100 for, but there are few fixes your bike shop will charge more than $100 for. That doesn't even take into account the normal cost of operating your car, including the cost of gasoline. Sure, gas is cheap now, but how much is gas for your bike?
6. Look great when you arrive!
Biking doesn't mean you have to arrive at your destination a sweaty, smelly mess! Many cities offer parks and recreation boards, which sell memberships to any gym facility. For a nominal fee, you can have access to dozens of showers all over town! If you don't have easy access to a shower then a towel, a small can of spray deodorant, and a public washroom sink can do wonders! Just make sure you shower before you leave!
Look svelte and energized, without sacrificing hygiene and fashion! Whether your mode of transport includes backpacks, milk crates or panniers, there are lots of non-bulky, lightweight ways to carry supplies and a change of clothes.
7. It's fun!
This is the most important reason to bike. If you hate cycling there is nothing I can write to convince you.
I love cycling — lots of people do. It is easy to find cycling communities and people who bike for exercise, sport and fun. But it is practical to do it, too.
There are lots of excuses one could make for not doing it. If your hair is long, it's not going to be easy to make it beautiful again after a ride. Short hair can look great on a woman, too, though. Pulling your hair back can also lend an elegant look.
If you want to be in shape, enjoy cycling and are determined, you will find a way.