Paul has been an enthusiastic cyclist for many years. Born and raised in the UK, he now lives (and cycles) in Florida.
Cycling has seen a marked increase in popularity in recent years. The reasons why many are biking more are many, for instance: it's good for your health, it's good for the planet, it's a cheap and quick way to travel around towns and cities.
Below are the 12 main advantages of cycling.
The 12 Main Benefits of Cycling
- Quick in Cities
- Able to do own Repairs
- Social Benefits
- Exploring Nature
- Reduced Stress and Anxiety
- Save the Planet
- Easy Parking
- Low Impact on the Knees
- Save the Animals
- It's Fun
I explain each of the above in more detail below.
There are many health benefits associated with cycling. Health professionals recommend a minimum of 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity each day, which is easily achievable if you cycle. As it's mainly an aerobic activity, your heart, blood vessels and lungs all get a workout. Physical health benefits include: better cardiovascular fitness, muscle strength, posture and coordination, as well as stronger bones and a decrease in body fat.
There can be no doubt that cycling is a cheap mode of transport, certainly when compared with traveling by car, or another motor vehicle. You can pick up a basic or used bike for very little and it will last you for years. There's no gas to pay for, no parking fees, taxes or expensive repairs.
3. Quick in Cities
Cycling is a speedy way to move around a town or city. Not only is it faster than walking, but traffic delays don't impede you like they do in a car, plus there are often short-cuts to take, especially when there are purpose-built cycle lanes or bike trails. Commuting to work by cycle can also be more reliable than relying on public transport, as buses and trains can sometimes turn up late or not at all.
4. Able to do own Repairs
Unlike with modern cars, which are essentially computer-controlled complicated machines, bicycles are pretty simple. All the elements of a bike are easily accessible, parts are cheap, and there's no need to purchase a lot of expensive tools. Basic bike maintenance is easy enough to be carried out by most earners. Repairs can be a little more involved, but even if you aren't able, or don't want to make the fixes yourself, it's affordable to pay someone else to do them. Bicycles are also easy to customize too, if you want to change the seat, style of tires, or add a basket or panniers for storage.
Cycling doesn't have to be done alone. It can be enjoyable to ride with others, such as friends or family. There are plenty of cycling clubs too, where you can meet new people and share the joy of cycling. Whether it's hitting a country trail, traveling to a local event, or visiting some other destination, bike outings are a healthy way to have fun. Cycling also allows you to socially interact with others in a way that driving doesn't.
6. Exploring Nature
Driving a car, you are basically sat in a metal box looking out. Cycling allows you to be part of the outdoors and engage your senses, feel the sun and the wind, and experience all the sights, sounds and smells of the countryside. Whether you are riding country roads, or biking along a forest or mountain trail, there is nothing quite like the fun of cycling in the country.
7. Reduced Stress and Anxiety
Cycling is a great way to reduce stress. Riding a bike makes you regulate your breathing, breathe deeper, and focus on your body, bike and surroundings. All these things take your attention away from any stress that may be going on in your life and help you to relax. I personally find that when I drive home in the car after work, I am still in "work mode" when I get back, but when I cycle, any stresses or anxieties associated with work have normally dissipated by the time I arrive home.
8. Save the Planet
Bicycles produce zero pollution. They also produce zero carbon emissions, so they don't contribute to global warming. They are way more efficient than walking, as you travel three times as fast for the equivalent energy expenditure. On top of that, bicycles don't chew up the roads like motorized vehicles do, plus it takes far less energy and materials to make a bike compared with a car.
9. Easy Parking
Parking can be a nightmare in a car, you can spend lots of time trying to find a space, or you pay an often exorbitant amount for the privilege, or sometimes both. Apart from maybe having to shell out for a lock, parking a bicycle costs nothing and is almost always hassle free. Even if your destination doesn't have a purpose-built cycle rack, you can normally improvise by locking your bike to a lamppost, railing, tree, or other sturdy feature. Plus, it goes without saying that parked bicycles take up far less space than cars do, which is a benefit for everyone.
10. Low Impact on the Knees
Running to stay fit has a detrimental effect on your knee joints over time. The same goes for most sporting activities. Cycling is low impact on the knees and lower body, which means that you can do it for virtually an entire lifetime. Make sure that your bike seat is correctly adjusted though, if it's too high or low, it will create strain.
11. Save the Animals
An enormous amount of wildlife is killed each year by road vehicles. Although collisions between animals and cyclists can still happen occasionally, road kills are significantly reduced by cycling, mainly because of slower traveling speeds.
12. It's Fun!
Last but not least, cycling is great fun! There are many unique and pleasurable experiences that aren't achievable with other forms of transport. Whizzing down a hill, for instance, or riding through beautiful scenery on a sunny day, not to mention the smugness of passing cars stuck in a traffic jam, or going out on an outing with friends or family. Cycling makes you happy!
© 2018 Paul Goodman
Ryan Christopher Beitler from Allentown, PA on December 18, 2018:
Couldn't agree more. I love this article and biking. I am a city guy. Like California, I can get anywhere in 20 minutes lol. Just remember to buy a nice comfortable gel seat. When you ride bikes a lot, your butt can fall asleep. Literally! Great exercise though. People always ask why am I tired and take naps? Get your cardio up! Go out and have some fun! BTW, do you know of any ways to deal with the seat issue I discussed as a long time cyclist?