Guest Post: The Ridiculous Benefits of Riding Your Bike

I’ve talked about the benefits of living car-free when I gave away my car.  Today, John from Practical Civilization, shares the benefits he’s received from riding his bicycle.  Thank you, John for sharing this with us.   I’ll turn this over to John.

 

bike

Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.

~Albert Einstein

I begin by giving a big Thank You to Lois for allowing me to be a part of the Living Simply Free community! The message and topics covered on here will greatly benefit our society and future generations.

For the past three years, I’ve been reveling in the ridiculous benefits of riding my bicycle.

They’re ridiculous because they’re overlooked, yet very obvious when thought about.

They can even solve many societal ills today.

Want to harvest these ridiculous benefits for FREE while at the same time bettering your life?

Of course you do!

Benefit #1: We Preserve the Environment

We’re all in the same boat, so to speak. The boat, known as the Earth, may be enormous, but so is our growing population of over 7 BILLION PEOPLE.

As denizens of the Earth, we all have a responsibility to take care of where we call home.

From a micro point-of-view, we usually strive to live in homes that are well taken care of, clean, and free of things that can harm us right? Typically speaking, we don’t purposely invite poisonous toxins into our homes for our family and friends to inhale.

If we apply this mode of thinking to a macro level (AKA: the entire Earth), it makes sense that if we are taking care of our personal living space, we should also pay mind to taking care of our neighborhoods, communities, and cities. This is the collective home of everyone.

A point of focus in taking care of the collective home of everyone revolves around transportation.

Transportation has always been the backbone of any civilized society.

At first, we were entirely self-propelled, using our feet to get from A to B. Then, we graduated to horses and camels and could get around quicker. Eventually, we began to build machines to transport ourselves very quickly from one destination to the next.

Early machines of transit included steam engines, automobiles, and bicycles.

In modern day, a large disparity exists when it comes to the amount of fuel it takes to travel one mile in a car vs. a bicycle. This is where we can help the environment by riding our bicycles.

In terms of calories, all things being equal, it takes about 35 calories for a cyclist to travel one mile. Conversely, a car uses about 1,860 calories to travel one mile

So in terms of efficiency, the fuel input for bicycles (human calories) is much less than that of cars (gasoline). From a purely raw materials perspective, this is already a win for the environment.

But what about the amount of CO2 emissions that have become such a focus for greenies and skeptics alike?

Turns out, cycling emits about FIVE TIMES LESS CO2 than that of an automobile, according to a study by the European Cyclists Federation.

That is even taking into account the entire lifespan–production, use, and fuel input–of both modes of transit.

The message is clear: if we want to make a difference when it comes to preserving our precious environment for ourselves and future generations, let’s ride our bikes when possible.

Who knows, we might even get in better shape!

 

bicycle

Benefit #2: Being Healthy is Easy-Just Pedal

Let’s be real for a minute. Much of the developed world is overweight.

We all make excuses as to why we can’t exercise: we don’t have the time, I don’t know where to start, and after all, it’s just plain hard!

Riding your bike solves all three of these problems at once.

When I began riding my bike about three years ago, I was blown away by how many instances in which only my physical person was needed to be at an event. I only had to bring a few small possessions in my backpack. I solved excuse number one: “I just don’t have time to exercise!”

Since my time is taken up partially by certain engagements anyway, why not make it my exercise to get there?

And I’ll be honest, I’m not an exercise freak by any means.

In fact, I don’t go to the gym.

In other words, I didn’t know where to start when it came to exercise. Nobody wants to look like a fool in front of other people at the gym. So I decided to ride my bike and get a great cadio-vascular workout. After all, who has ever thought a person riding a bike looks like they don’t know how to exercise?

Excuse #2 of not knowing where to start in terms of exercise was instantly checked off the list.

“But wait a minute,” my mind screamed, “Exercise is uncomfortable and it’s hard! You don’t want to do that!”

Alas, the last excuse.

But it’s impossible to use this one because cycling is on the list of the best low-impact exercises around. You still get a workout and burn calories, but it’s super easy on your joints and unless you’re riding for speed trials, you can ride as fast or slow as you desire.

As we can see, riding a bike is relatively easy (and fun!) when it comes to being healthy and exercising. It solves so many problems at once, it’s almost a no-brainer.

Speaking of solving multiple problems at once, I haven’t even mentioned how much money it saves!

 

family bikes

 

Benefit #3: Your Bank Account Will Grow

I don’t know about you, but I absolutely loathe paying for gasoline. It’s as if I’m quite literally burning my money when the fumes from the burned gas go out my muffler.

Let’s not forget the fluctuating price of the fuel.

Prices do fluctuate, I get that. Logically, when more of a finite resource is being consumed (oil), economics dictates that scarcity will drive the price up.

Since I can’t affect the price of gasoline in any other way than by not consuming it, I get a deep satisfaction every time I don’t have to pay for it.

I would much rather pay for the food inputs that power my bicycle. I have much greater control over what I buy in terms of food and its price.

But the inputs to fuel our modes of transportation are not the only cost to consider.
In short, cars require several other variables, such as insurance and maintenance. Using a ten year span, let’s add up these costs. Using a very conservative $1,200/year for car insurance and $408 for basic preventative maintenance, that adds up to $16,080 over ten years!

$16,080 extra isn’t even a consideration if we are riding our bikes.

We don’t have to pay for bike insurance, the maintenance costs are relatively low (maybe $50 a year), and we can always park for free, typically very close to buildings.

So my question to you is: what would you do with an extra $16,080? Go on several vacations? Invest it and watch the compounding returns turn it into over $27,000!? Create that startup company you’ve been dreaming about?

The choice is yours.

 

About the Author: John Krygiel is a musician, minimalist, writer, camper, tree hugger, and traveler who enjoys discussing the world with folks and having a beer while doing so. He leads an unconventional lifestyle that does not include the office-cubicle job that pays him to chase the preferred “mainstream life.” He works as a guitar teacher, writer, and solar panel guru. More of his articles can be found at Practical Civilization.

 

 

 

 

 

12 thoughts on “Guest Post: The Ridiculous Benefits of Riding Your Bike

  1. Loved the benefits.. I never really learned to ride a bike… Fell of a Big Boys Bike aged 7 and hurt myself pretty bad at the time.. as a neighbour’s lad tried to teach me how to ride a bike that was far too big with cross bar.. And as a child we never had the funds for such luxuries… So hence never learnt.. They say its never to late to learn.. But I get pleasure watching others and would give a 3 wheeler a go LOL….

    Lots of cyclists around and about us, and I always give them plenty of room when in my car going to work… Great for our environment… Lovely guest post Lois thank you xox

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    • I had a bike briefly, I wasn’t very good on it and when there was no money to buy one for my brother I converted it from a girls bike to a boys and gave it to him.

      Years ago my grandmother bought a trike and I loved to ride it around the driveway. They aren’t as easy as a bicycle to ride on uneven pavement, but if you have more leg strength than I do you might enjoy it.

      I wish more places had bike lanes, I worry when driving that one could fall into traffic so always give extra room for just that kind of an emergency.

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  2. I cannot ride a bike! Grew up in a really hilly city and none of us had bikes, I have tried as an adult and lack the balance required. But I do have feet and really should walk more, I used to walk for miles and miles and this is a reminder to me that I actually did!
    Lois I love his blog! Thanks for the link for that, alot of good reading there :)

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    • I too lacked the balance, and now the physical strength it would take to ride. I also find that the seats downright hurt me to a point where I can’t bear it.

      Thank you for visiting John’s blog, he’s a very wise young man.

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  3. Good reasons to ride a bike. I mainly ride mine for recreation because most everything I need is out of bike range for me. I’d love to stop putting gas in my car!

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    • Cynthia, I think most of us if we were honest would admit we don’t like the expenses involved in owning our cars and the costs are pretty much out of our control. I think it’s good that you ride for recreation and if you are ever in a situation where you could ride for errands or to get to work you will be in good shape to do so.

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  4. Really interesting guest post. I’ve been thinking about riding my bike more often but I’m worried about riding safely on roads, particularly because I live in London. Would be great to read a discussion about this – any suggestions? Thanks :)

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  5. Preachin’ to the choir here! This year so far I’ve put nearly 2000 miles on my bike(s) and under 400 on my car. I think that’s a pretty good ratio. Though, I do have to admit that the vast majority of those biking miles are for recreation rather than transportation. However, before I took up cycling I generally drove somewhere to have fun, and now cycling itself IS the fun! So perhaps it all works out.

    But I do have to say that one can, ahem, spend a lot more than $50/year on bike maintenance, clothing, parts, etc.without trying too terribly hard. Especially when you cross over the crazy line and enter the world of carbon fiber road bikes and the like… ask me how I know! But all things being equal, I’d rather put my money into a good quality bike than watch it go up in smoke out the end of a tailpipe!

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    • Cat, as I was reading through John’s post I thought of you and all the money you have invested in your bike and clothes for riding in all weather. I would still say that your investment in your clothes is more sustainable than the maintenance on a car. Plus it’s up to you how long they last.

      Like

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