Archive for May 13th, 2008

This week is national bike to work week. This event was created in order to promote cycling as a viable method of commuting. I’ve personally been riding to work (20-22 miles round trip) for almost two years now. I find that biking keeps me in shape and promotes a healthy outlook on life. In addition, our family is able to live using only one car as I don’t need a car for my commute. So, what are the advantages of cycle commuting?

1. Health benefits – It is widely recognized that aerobic activity promotes good heart health and can help to lower blood pressure. In addition, I find that burning 4500-6000 additional calories a week keeps the weight down and allows me to eat a wider diversity (read: unhealthier) range of foods than I might otherwise be able to. Also, I find that I don’t get sick with common illnesses nearly as often as I would previously.

2. Financial savings – We all know how fuel prices have sky-rocketed over the past couple of years. Biking removes the fuel cost from your financial equation. These days, fuel estimates range from $1000-$5000/year depending on the car you drive and the distance traveled in your commute. Also, you potentially save the cost of a car payment, vehicle registration and auto insurance prices. Again, estimates of savings will be based on your individual car and driving needs, but you will save thousands a year by biking to work.

3. Environmental benefits – One less car on the road leads to lower greenhouse gases emitted. Not only are you saving emissions due to operation, you are potentially saving all the intangible impacts caused by owning/purchasing a car. This includes emission caused by material production and during the assembly of the vehicle itself. You also save any transportation cost for material and final product ultimately reaching a point of sale.

4. Social benefits – When biking you are not enclosed in a steel cage. You tend to interact much more with the people around you than you would while driving a car. Biking also reduces noise pollution and general congestion on the roadways; thus making the experience much more pleasant for all concerned. I also find the commute by bike may be somewhat strenuous, but it is a very relaxing way to start and end the day.

Unfortunately bike commuting is not for everyone. Some people have prohibitively long commutes and some people simply have no good or safe way to travel by road to work by bike. Others may have health problems that prevent bike riding. As a potential solution, much public transportation all over the country/world is introducing accommodations for bike travel. As an example, I know that bike can be taken onto many of the public transit systems in the Boston area. The advantage is that you may be able to get in a partial commute even if you can’t travel the full distance from your house. Also, if you live in a cool city like Paris, France you have access to programs similar to VeLib.

If bike commuting still seems daunting to you as far as riding on the roadways or distance traveled are concerned, contact your elected officials and voice your problems. Many cities are looking hard at improving the accommodations laid out for bicycle transportation. With enough public pressure and fuel prices as they are, many of these alternatives are seeming more and more attractive.

As a final note, Rachel, the President of Baying Hound Ltd., will be biking on business errands all week. Today she went delivered 12 packages to the post office by bike. If you order from us this week, chances are the package will get to you at least partially by bicycle.

Happy biking and feel free to drop me a line
if you want advice on biking to work.

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