Everyone should learn to ride a bike. It’s as easy as learning to ride…well, a bike. And the thing is once you have learned is not something you ever forget you can do. Almost all of us learned to ride as kids. Most people remember all too well their first bike, and they do so with happy carefree memories of childhood: Long sunny days playing with friends, trips to the park with our parents, riding to class…
For many people, bicycling never stops and continues right into their 80’s and 90’s and has been an intricate part of their entire life. For others, riding stops the moment they get their driver’s license.
But no one should ever stop riding. There, it’s been said. I’ve said it. There are different reasons why people stop, some people never stop, and other people never start when it comes to bikes.But there are a multitude of reasons why we should all ride bikes and make them part of our everyday lives.
Reasons Why You Should Ride A Bike
Some reasons are obvious, others not so much. Whether you want to save money, get fit or die trying, or just try and do your bit to save the world, here’s a list of the 40 most important reasons why everyone should put a metal tube between their legs and pedal off into the sunset.
1. It’s Good For Your Heart
Let’s get the really obvious ones out of the way first. You don’t have to take part in Endurance mountain bike races or train like an athlete to get the benefits of cycling. 20 miles a week on a bike can reduce your risk of coronary heart disease by 50%. For the record, even an unfit, overweight, cyclist in their mid-30s (this author, 4 years ago) could manage that in 1 go in just over 120 minutes.
2. It Can Boost Your Immune System
Riding a bike and getting some moderate exercise can boost your immune system, so you can beat off colds and minor infections much easier than if you were a couch potato. Human beings were designed by evolution to be physically active most of the time. In geological terms, mankind’s shift to a sedentary lifestyle happened a second ago.
Your butt was not designed to wallow in a Lazy Boy armchair. The Lazy Boy was designed around your butt. Our biology works more efficiently the more active you are.
3. Save Money By Commuting By Bike
It’s a great way to save for future investments. Save on bus fares, and save on Gas, by simply pedaling two wheels to work. As an added benefit, you won’t have to listen to those infuriatingly annoyingly chirpy drive-time radio shows that cut to traffic news and depressing news updates every 2 minutes, cutting the last 30 seconds off your favorite music track.
4. Increase The Lifespan Of Your Car
This is no joke. Just use your bike for short journeys. This is as much about looking after your car as it is using your bike. If you use your car for short journeys you could be shortening the engine’s life. Driving your car only a short distance then turning off the engine means the engine oil never heats up to the right temperature and fails to lubricate the moving components and can cause unnecessary wear and tear on your car.
5. Maximize The Resale value of your car
The less you use your car, the less chance it will get bumps and scrapes and lose that new car smell as quickly. And of course when the time comes to sell that car, the lower the mileage, the higher the sale price. It just makes sense.
6. Stay Potent
Don’t believe the stories about what riding does to your male nether regions. Scientists have found that men over 50 years of age are at 30% less risk of impotence than those who do next to no cycling.
7. Increase Vitamin D
Unless you spend your weekends and evenings on an indoor bike to get fit, then it will come as no surprise to know that a lack of sunlight can have a major impact on vitamin D levels. But not getting enough sunlight can hurt your mood, and perhaps more concerning, a lack of vitamin D has been linked to heart disease, and cancer, and can affect you at a genetic level…So grab some decent sunblock and get on your bike.
8. Help Out The Government Of Your Country
As the world population grows so does the pressure on individual nation’s infrastructure. The cost of constantly upgrading and creating new roads can run into billions of $$$ every year. If everyone was able to take their bike instead of their car when the opportunity afforded, there could be less pressure to build another freeway just so traffic flowed that little bit quicker.
9. Achieve The Runner’s High
Everyone’s heard of the runners high. The great news is you don’t have to be a runner to experience it. You just need to be relatively fit and ride for a while. Once you’ve experienced it, you’ll want to hit it again and again and again. The runners high is hard to describe in a meaningful way to someone who’s never experienced it. But essentially, it’s a euphoric feeling that may well be wired into us at a genetic level.
When you reach a certain point in your ride, the brain releases all these feel-good chemicals into your bloodstream, and you feel fantastic like you could go on forever. Some evidence also points to the fact that it may be like a natural painkiller to help us forget our tired and battered bodies. Either way, the runner’s high rocks, if you can find it.
Want to learn more about the psychological benefits of cycling? Our blog post has got you covered
10. Cycling Is Low-Impact
Jogging is a completely valid form of exercise for losing weight, but it might not be the best option for some people. This is especially true if they don’t have a history of being physically active, and they are carrying more than a few extra pounds. Cycling is known for being a low-impact activity that is generally kinder to your joints and your body.
If you are overweight then every time you plant a foot when running, all that extra weight is amplified through your knees and ankles and the force of impact will be felt quite fast, leaving not just your muscles sore but also damaging ligaments and tendons. On a bike, that extra weight will be taken up by the saddle, leaving your muscles to do the work instead of the structural bits of your body.
11. You Can Go Longer On A Bike Than You Can On Foot
No, not go further, although that would make sense, but train for a longer period overall. The same study as the one already mentioned above concluded from their results. The scientists noted that the low-impact nature of cycling meant there was less chance of injury and joint pain and thus people on bikes could train longer before having to stop.
12. You Breathe Better
Seriously, you do. It may seem counterintuitive, but the quality of air you suck in on a bike while riding through traffic jams is better than the commuters sitting in their cars. Cars’ AC systems suck in the exhaust fumes of the vehicle in front of them, it’s just the way cars are designed.
It makes sense on the open road but not in traffic. All that bad air gets sucked into the enclosed cabin of the car and has nowhere else to go other than your lungs. It is thought this may be because cyclists breathe more air in and out due to their level of exertion, and also the fact they are more likely not to be in the direct line of exhaust fumes. It’s something to think about anyway.
13. Be More Economical
Cycling is not only really good for you, it’s also really, really good for the planet. Yay! You can justifiably ride your bike and know with each pedal stroke you’re helping save the world. Go you. 70% of all car journeys could be made on a bike in less than 20 minutes. In the USA, 30% of all greenhouse emissions are motor vehicle-related.
The environmental impact of motor vehicles is colossal when compared to the production of bikes. Then there are all the carbon-based pollutants cars throw into the air that affect the Earth’s climate. If you travel under your power, you’ll be decreasing the overall reliance on harmful nonrenewable fuel sources.
14. Get To Dress Like A Moron
When you go riding, you can look like a novelty condom in skin-tight Lycra and no one will say a word. Go for a walk looking like a dayglow Popsicle and everyone laughs. It’s double standards at its worst.
15. Get To Spend Quality Time With Your Family
Cycling is something your whole family can do together, from toddlers to great-grandparents. The youngest can go in a bike trailer, and everyone else can pedal away happily together, off on another family adventure.
It’s not a race, get in sync with the way each of you rides, and make cycling dates at least once a week. If he/she doesn’t like barreling down black runs at the local trail center, then compromise and just enjoy each other’s company. And of course, the fitter you both become, the more s…well, see points 8-10 above again.
16. Spend Quality Time With Yourself
Nobody said you had to do everything with your family. Everyone needs their space. It helps keep us all sane. Sometimes all you want to do is burn your way down a favorite trail or hit the open road on your own. And why not? Being active and spending time on your own constructively and positively is good for you.
If you’re feeling stressed out and need a break, cycling might be just what you need. Our blog post on cycling as a stress medication will show you how to use cycling to improve your mental health.
17. Park Like A Boss
One of the best things about using your bike to go places is the way you can park up almost anywhere. Office bike racks tend to be close to the entrance, and there’s none of that going around and around and around the parking lot fighting other drivers for the Eldorado of parking spots.
You ride door to door and get on with your day. Oh, and you don’t have to pay to park your bike either. There’s always a lamppost or a railing you can lock your bike up next to.
One day you’ll look ahead of you at that dreaded hill that always kills your legs, put your head down, pedal as far as you can, and then walk your bike the rest of the way, just like you always do…except this time without realizing it, you’re already going down the other side, and you didn’t even notice.
There is no better feeling in the world than the day you weigh yourself and you realize you’ve lost weight. It can only be rivaled when you realize you’ve been playing with your kids for an hour straight and they’ve tired before you have. It’s a phenomenal feeling, and in my experience, better even than the runner’s high.
Feeling good about bikes now? You can try renting a bike or purchasing your own right away!
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