5 Reasons Bike Riding Is Awesome!
Bicycling supports physical, mental, and community health.
Let’s face it: bicycling makes life better. In fact, don’t you want to go for a bike ride right now? Go ahead! We’ll wait.
Whether you bike around town to do errands, commute to work, or are a weekend warrior, biking makes you healthier and happier. Riding a bike is also one of the best ways to combat climate change and air pollution. And it’s one of the most efficient and economical forms of transportation.
Here are five reasons why you should ride a bike, plus some resources to convince the skeptics.
Riding a bicycle is fantastic for your mental, physical, and emotional health. Every year, there is more scientific evidence for the health effects of bicycling. Studies have found that serious recreational riders who bicycle regularly have the reflexes, bone density, muscle mass, memory, endurance, strength, and metabolic health of people decades younger. Bike riding burns calories, lowers your risk of heart disease and diabetes, and builds strength and endurance.
Riding a bike also brings joy, reduces your stress, and improves brain function. Bicycling fights insomnia and fatigue and boosts mental health.
Riding a bicycle is safe, and the more bikes on the street, the safer it gets. If you educate yourself and ride safely, your bike is one of the safest ways to get around town. Wear a helmet, don’t ride impaired, don’t ride in the door zone, and you’re very safe on a bike.
As more California communities have installed protected bike lanes and separated bikeways, riding a bike gets safer every year. Better year, streets with protected bike lanes reduce traffic fatalities for all users, not just bike riders.
While bike riders do have a higher fatality rate per mile traveled than people in cars, that statistic doesn’t include all health risks. The best way to think about bicycle safety is to look at the risk-benefit ratio. This compares the years of life lost from bicycling collisions with the years of life gained from its health benefits. The risk-benefit ratio for bicycling has been studied in a wide variety of peer-reviewed articles, and has been calculated, in some studies, to be 1:5; in others, it’s been found to be as high as 1:96. That means that on the whole, bicyclists gain 5 to 96 years of life for every year of life lost!
Bicycling can make you and your community richer. Each dollar spent in your local economy creates 16 times more jobs than a dollar spent on gas. Because it’s almost free to ride, your bicycle gives you the freedom to get to work or run errands without spending all your money at the pump. Studies show that whenever streets get bike lanes, especially protected bike lanes, businesses make more money. People arriving at a business district by bike spend more money than those who arrive by transit or by car.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the most effective way to reduce CO2 emissions is to reduce fossil fuel consumption. Commit to replace a 2-mile car trip with a bike trip five times a week. In a year, you will have kept 440 pounds of carbon dioxide (CO2) from entering the atmosphere. And you’ll be healthier and happier!
Bicycling is fun – but you already knew that. Now go for that ride!
California will never have the equitable, prosperous and inclusive communities that CalBike advocates for until we address and redress anti-Black violence. We want to actively contribute to ending systemic racism, especially in transportation policy, and most especially in bicycling advocacy. We promise to listen and learn how we can best do this work. To our community members who experience the violence of racism on a daily basis: we see you, we hear you, and we stand with you.