Still not convinced of the merits of biking to work? Here are 10 good reasons to start:
June 4th is the Commuter Challenge Kick Off. Riding to work this week could win you a custom-built bike or an extreme bike makeover (a $700 reward!). Register at www.commuterchallenge.ca or contact Sara MacArthur (632-2166) for more information
Any bike will do, even that old 3-speed in your garage (especially if you win the make-over above!). A commuter bike doesn’t have to be an expensive investment. My hybrid cost $700 in 2002 (with fenders) and I have put about 25,000 km on it. I get a tune-up every year ($60-70) and have had to put in maybe $100 in parts (1 chain, 1 set of rear gears, cables, a few brake pads). Total over 10 years: about $1,500 – just over $100 per year, not much more than a single month’s bus pass or dinner for two at a nice restaurant (with wine, of course).
If you live 15 km from work and drive a car that gets 10 litres per 100 km (about 25 mpg), cycling daily to work could save you 15 litres and $18/week. And parking a bike is free! With an office downtown I save another $25/week. Add in the savings for reduced wear and tear, fewer oil changes, etc., and I’m sure I am $200 (600 rubles!) per month richer! And don’t ignore the long-term financial benefits of being healthier. Any way you look at it, bike commuting saves you some serious cash.
Bike commuting is an ideal way to shed some girth without setting aside extra workout time. My 30 km round-trip burns 900 calories and takes 50 minutes one-way, same as the bus and just 30 minutes more round-trip than by car. And bonus: the U.S. EPA estimates that every mile pedaled rather than driven saves a pound of CO2 (every 10 km saves three kilos)!
OK, Rush hour in Winnipeg isn’t quite what it is L.A. But who enjoys sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic twice a day? Give my a fresh sunny morning cycle and a late afternoon cruise home at my own pace any day.
Biking still requires you to be predictable and maybe even a little paranoid on the roads. But with cycling’s increased popularity, bike lanes are becoming more common, many of them dedicated, and even buffer zones between cyclists and motorists are starting to pop up.
Your bike commuting may so impress your co-workers that they will be inspired to join you. And if they do, the planet gets double the protection, they get in better shape, and all of a sudden, your positive contribution to world wellness is even bigger.
It’s addictive. What other explanation is there for those fanatics who cycle through the dead of a Winnipeg winter? But even if you only opt for fair-weather riding, with all the bad habits in the world, bike commuting is a very sensible routine. Driving your car to work will soon just sound like a terrible idea.
Whether it’s a sticky bun, a black-bottom cupcake, or a berry crumble, I look forward to that now guilt-free reward at the end of a long ride. Just make sure your calorie expenditure exceeds your intake.
Well yeah! You’ll be in shape to be a Red River Rebel Rider in the September MS Riding Mountain Challenge. A summer of bike commuting will swell your calves to the point where you might consider joining the team (you have to commit to raising $250 yourself). Or, just be a kindred spirit and send a donation our way.