What you're about to read can turn what might be the most boring, crappiest part of your workday into one of the better parts of your work week. Here it is: get out of your vehicle and the annoying traffic and onto a bike.
Bikes and cycling gear are better than ever, there are even electric bikes to make riding very easy (and fast!). Even if it's only a day or two to begin with, the benefits are numerous, including these nine reasons below.
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1. It's cheaper
As of 2015, the average cost in the US to drive a car 15,000 miles a year was $8,698, or roughly $0.58 per mile. Of course, those numbers go up or down depending on the size of vehicle.
To figure out what your car is costing you in the UK check out this calculator.
Those numbers don't even factor in the additional time it takes to deal with car maintenance and general upkeep.
2. It's healthier
This one is a bit of a no-brainer. Of course getting outside and using your lungs and muscles is healthier than sitting like a blob in a car, but studies have shown riding a bike also makes people happier.
It's simple: exercise is good for you. Riding boosts the brain chemicals (serotonin, dopamine, and phenylethylamine) that make you happy. Being outside also increases your daily amount of vitamin D, and when combined with exercise, likely means a better night's sleep.
3. It's way more fun
Certainly cars can be fun, but realistically even the most exciting vehicles suck to drive on public roads. Speed limits, other traffic, safety laws, stop lights: all these things handicap and effectively strangle the fun and performance out of driving.
Riding a bike on the other hand is all about freedom. Not the hokey, cliche wind-in-your-hair type of freedom, more the freedom of ripping downhill at 40mph, accelerating faster and faster until your legs feel like they're going to fall off, and dipping the bars around that one corner so low you feel the adrenaline surge through the back of your neck. The kind of excitement that, let's face it, you probably haven't ever felt on your boring, stressful, annoying commute in a car.
4. Parking is easier
Parking a bike is vastly easier than parking a car. Some workplaces let you bring your bike in. Failing that, typically there's a bike rack or a nearby sign post or even tree that you can lock your bike to.
Either way, the days of circling around the parking lot trying to find a place to park or squeezing into a spot only to find the inconsiderate jerk next to you dinged your car's paint are over.
5. It's consistent
Road repairs, traffic accidents, breakdowns, public transportation strikes, you name it there's little you can do other than wait them out when faced with these obstacles.
Riding a bike eliminates most of these issues however, especially if you're lucky enough to be able to ride a bike or multi-use path on your commute.
Even breakdowns are relatively minor and largely avoidable on a bike. Flat tires are the most common annoyance, but those are fixable on the go. Other bike problems often make themselves known long before they actually fail, so a tiny bit of maintenance goes a long way.
Want to be consistently on time? Ride to work.
6. It maximizes time
Commuting to work on a bike is a nice way to eliminate going to the gym to work out. And if you're a cyclist, it's a sure-fire way to add solid base miles and fitness without setting aside time for a dedicated workout.
7. It helps society
Bike commuting helps society in a number of ways. It's less wear and tear on the public roads, less pollution in the air, less traffic and congestion for other cars, allows more parking spots, and is less noisy through neighborhoods.
8. Explore new areas, new roads, new routes
Does your commute have you bored out of your mind? The same annoying stop lights, that one turn that takes forever, the inevitable slow down where the roads merge? How about a little life sized choose your own adventure?
Ducking through an alleyway, shortcutting through a park, sneaking out the back of a dead-end street, these little detours and so many more are just waiting to be exploited on a bike. Even cutting through parking lots and finding the narrow spot where kids jump across the creek are fair game on a bike.
Simply put, a bike presents loads more opportunities for route finding than a vehicle that's bound to the road.
9. It's more engaging
Let's face it, riding while flipping through your social media feeds on your smartphone is pretty hard. By riding instead of commuting or driving you're more engaged with not only your surroundings but also with life outside of the small screen. Who doesn't need a bit of that?
It's also eye-opening, all the things you notice when out of the car. The funky windows on that house, the lazy dog that sleeps on that porch, that knot in the tree that looks like your grandma, it's a crazy world out there, take it in to add some uniqueness to your daily routine.
- Sponsored: UK readers — can you go the extra mile this summer? By running or cycling to work you can be a part of Red Bull’s UK-wide Million Mile Commute. Join the club in Strava to be eligible for a Red Bull sample kit to set you on your way. Don’t forget to share your commutes by tagging @RedBullUk and use #MillionMileCommute