Featured image courtesy of Will Vanlue
May 7, 2014
Bringing you tips on bike commuting from one dedicated rider in Portland.
Five reasons to commute by bike
Okay, so your hair may get messed up and your work duds a little sweaty. Harsh weather will come your way. And it’s true, a few motorists may be rude to you. It’s still worth it to commute by bicycle year round. Honest. Here’s five reasons why:
1. The mean streets aren’t so mean anymore. The number of Americans commuting by bicycle grew by nearly 50 percent between 2000 and 2011, according to the US Census Bureau. The numbers are rising even faster in the many cities that are adding dedicated bike lanes and other rider-friendly features to make cycling safer and more appealing. And as the number of riders climbs, motorists are learning to pay more attention to cyclists and share the road more politely.
2. Bad weather can actually feel pretty good. With the right gear, it’s amazing how tolerable – thrilling even – it can be to ride in “terrible” weather. A waterprooof jacket-pants-booties ensemble can keep you dry in a downpour. When it’s freezing cold, your hard-working muscles will heat things up nicely if you’re cocooned in a down jacket, ski gloves and face-covering balaclava. During a winter in Boston, I quickly realized it was easier to bike than walk after a heavy snow. Plowing and salting cleared the roads but left lakes of muddy slush at every pedestrian cross walk.
Photo courtesy kamerakamote
3. It’s stress reducing. In a car, every precious minute you lose stuck in traffic is torture. It can make you feel worn out before you even get to work. Cycling has the opposite effect. Whizzing past a line of backed-up automobiles never stops feeling joyous. The blood pumping to your brain is invigorating.
4. The exercise is way more fun than using a treadmill. Exercise machines are like hamsterwheels. Bicycles get you out in world (see reason No. 5). And think of the time savings when you combine commuting with exercising.
5. You get to experience nature. Think about how much time you spend in climate controlled conditions, at home, at work, in your car. Out on a bicycle, your senses get to take in a raw, unfiltered experience. You’ll encounter wonderful things: the early morning call of a wild bird you’ve never heard before, the sight of your city reflected off the black mirror of a river at night, the amiable people who’ll roll up next to you on bicycles.
These are by no means the only good reasons to commute by bike. What would you add to the list?