Now that the good weather is here, why not riding a bike? Taking up cycling can be one of the best decisions in your life. Riding a bike has so many benefits that the only downside you may find is that it can be addictive.
Good for your wallet
First of all, owning a bike is far cheaper than owning a car, even after spending money on accessories to enable your bicycle to carry gear and ride in any weather. The maintenance costs are lower and parking a bicycle is almost always free; buying a reliable bicycle lock is far less costly than paying daily parking fees for your car. Switching to cycling allows you to cancel or reduce your car insurance and you save time which is, as you know, money. In many towns, choosing to cycle instead of driving can actually get you to your destination faster when traffic is bad – this is often the case in Luxembourg city – and you do not need to search for a parking space when you get to your destination.
Cycling can also have an economic benefit that reaches beyond your own pocket. Cars cause significant wear and tear on roads over time, which costs cities a lot of money and in turn means higher taxes for everyone.
Good for your health
Cycling strengthens your legs, saves your knees, keeps your lungs healthy, improves your cholesterol and is one of the most effective ways to lose body fat – provided that you ride your bike for an hour or so each day and you don’t overeat at the end of the ride! Research carried out by a team of investigators at the University of Glasgow shows that cycling to work can reduce your chances of developing cardiovascular disease and cancer respectively by 46% and 45%.
Riding a bicycle also has a positive impact on your mind: it decreases your stress, reduces anxiety, helps you to sleep better, boosts your brain power and… your libido. Men over 50 who cycle at least 3 hours a week would be 30% less likely to experience impotence and cardiovascular exercise could delay women’s menopause by up to several years.
Good for the environment
Bicycles are an environmentally sustainable alternative to cars. Even a short commute by car of around 8 km to work each day can quickly add up to more than 370 litres of fuel over a year, and correspondingly contribute to carbon dioxide emissions and global climate change. Cars are amongst the largest contributors to air pollution because they also emit pollutants such as nitrogen oxide and particulate soot. Cycling doesn’t produce any of these pollutants and can help to keep city air clean to breathe. Compared to cars, bicycles are basically silent and reduce noise pollution. They use less space: a single parking space for a car can fit up to 12 bicycles. Their manufacturing footprint is minimal compared to cars and that is even more true when accounting for batteries, leather seats and the sheer amount of industrial materials required to put together a car. Furthermore, bicycles do not require any motor oil, brake fluid oil or antifreeze containing a variety of toxic substances.
Cycling has a ton of benefits, any of which could be motivation enough to hop on a bike, but at the end of the day, the thing that will keep you coming back is the fun of cycling. Ask any cyclist how much fun riding a bike is and you will see!