Transportation is one of the sectors with the highest CO2 emissions. We all know that driving a car is not exactly a very sustainable way to go from A to B. However, biking is an excellent option – especially if you are living pretty close to your office.
My life has changed quite a lot after I started to commute to work by bike. I am not going to say that this is a realistic or good option for everyone – it all depends on various factors like distance to work, which country you live in, etc. That being said, I strongly recommend reading this article to gain some motivation. You will be surprised how much of a difference it makes to get some exercise back and forth from work.
These are five reasons why you should consider biking to work.
PS! Later in the article, I have added a list of the most common excuses for not biking to work – and a short buyer`s guide to where you should buy a bike if you need one. Stay tuned. 🙂
1. Health benefits
Sitting in a car or on a filled subway wagon to work is not benefitting your health at all. Biking or walking are both alternatives that your body will love.
The Washington Post posted an article called “Cycling to work means better health and a longer life”. The article refers to a study that was initially posted in British Medical Journal. And the conclusion is: the more you bike to work, the less chance you have to develop heart disease and cancer.
The whole “Bike to work” movement is not only about the environment. It also makes sure that we will see an improvement in the publich health.
Research project: How a woman lost 40 kilos through biking
If there’s one thing I love on Youtube, it’s these “workout transformation videos”. Once I start to look at them, I can easily spend 4-5 hours on Youtube straight (which is kind of embarrasing).
What I can say is that they are super motivating and helpful. This video features a woman who weighed 100 kilos…until she bought herself a bicycle. It gives a perfect example of how biking might be the best way to lose some weight:
There are loads of reasons why biking to work is more environmentally friendly than driving a car.
- Bicycling does not require any fuel.
- It takes a significantly more amount of energy to produce a car in comparison to producing a bicycle.
- A bike would not need any motor oil or batteries.
- And the list goes on…
How much CO2 do we really save by using bike instead of car?
According to the Department of Transport and Main Roads Australia (the most credible source I could find), “Cycling 10 km each way to work would save 1,500 kg of greenhouse gas emissions each year.”
Then it comes down to how far you have to bike to work…and you can do the math yourself. 🙂
3. Saving money
In average, every American family will spend in average 2,000+ US dollars on gasoline
and motor oil annually. If you add parking fees, repairs, and insurance into that calculation, you will probably look at around 9,000 USD per year. That is a lot of money.
Do you really need a car? Or can you sell it, save 9,000 USD per year and at the same time help your health and the environment?
The financial aspect is actually why many people end up selling or giving away their car when it is getting older. A bike is significantly cheaper to buy and it costs almost zero to maintain it. Unless you really want to invest in a high-end and expensive bike (which you don’t need in order to bike at work), a bike costs the fraction of a car.
Both to purchase and to maintain.
4. No need for parking lots
For those of us that frequently drive to work: we know the struggle. The parking lot that was available yesterday is no longer available. And as the amount of employees in your company increases, so does the fight for the parking spaces.
A good solution is a bike. It is effortless in most cities to find a place to park your bike.
This might not apply to you if you work outside one of the big cities in Europe or America, but believe me: it is a very good argument if you do.
And by “safety”, we mean “overall traffic safety”. You might have the assumption that more cyclists on the road increases the chances of people getting hurt or dying in the traffic. That is scientifically proven to be a wrong statement. There is actually a clear correlation between more cyclists (=less people driving cars) and less traffic accidents.
We can refer to this study made by University of New South Wales that shows exactly this. In other words: you do not only help your own safety by biking to work, but you also help other pedestrians and bikers. If everyone were biking to work (utopia, anyone?), we would barely see any death accidents on the road in the morning rush.
How dangerous can it be to commute by bike in a large European city?
DANGEROUS. Believe me!
I have several colleagues that bike to work through Oslo every day, and they do not lack of “near death experiences”. In order to give you some insight on how dangerous pedestrians and cars make the life of a bike commuter, I will recommend this Youtube video that was shot in London:
My own journey
I bought a bike as well. After I understood that I would seriously work towards getting some visitors on this website, I figured out that it would be a good thing to actually do the things I recommended. And biking is one of them.
So this is how it looks like:
And I have to say that biking to work is probably the best investment I have done. It frees your mind. It gives you a great start to almost every day (unless its raining) and I can already start to feel all the health benefits that comes along with it.
I bought a second-hand bike (of course, I am an environmentalist), which is why you can see all these ugly stickers on it. Anyway, I am just happy to have finally started to bike to work and I really hope you can consider doing it too.
Myths that should not stop you from biking to work
Every time I ask my colleagues why they don’t bike to work (or home from work), I hear a lot of different answers. Many of them are based on “something they heard”. In other words: they try to justify driving a car instead of biking due to some myths that are in fact not true.
So let me quickly run through the most common excuses (also called “the biggest myths”) for not biking to work:
1. “I don’t want to bike as it is more dangerous than walking or driving my car!”
National Highway Traffic Administration do continuously research on traffic safety. Their most recent study showed the following numbers.
– 743 cyclists were killed in traffic accidents over a period of one year.
– In the same year, 4735 pedestrians were killed.
You might use the argument that “but there are more people walking than taking the bike”. And that is true, but the study also showed that it is more dangerous to walk if you take that into consideration.
You will be safer taking the car, but less safe walking. However, as the bike infrastructure is getting improved in big cities globally, you become safer while biking. Most European cities do now offer dedicated bike track to those who commute by bike.
If you want to read more about their research, you can visit this page.
Please note that this might vary from country to country. As we have a lot of readers from all around the world, I can quickly inform you that you are safer as a cyclist in Denmark and Netherlands. And less safe in Brazil and Indonesia – just to give you four examples.
2. “I don’t have a good enough bike!”
Well, you can do two things:
– Accept that riding on a “bad” bike is fun and good exercise. The worse the bike, the stronger the legs. ☺
– Buy a new bike.
Most of us do have enough money to invest in a bike. In fact, I will write a few words about getting a bike later in the article. This is an area where I actually have tremendous experience, believe it or not.
3. “I do not have the time to bike every day!”
That is fine. Most of us don’t. In fact, I am more or less on a shift pattern where I bike to work Monday, Tuesday and Thursday. And on Wednesday + Friday I am taking public transport. That is not a problem at all.
You should do whatever fits you. If that is biking once every week; fine! If you want to go all-in and bike every day for a month; fine!
4. “I will spend too much time on my bike compared to driving!”
Maybe. It depends where you live and where you work.
If you live in a big city, like myself, there is a high chance that you will actually save time on biking. If you live in the suburbs outside a city and have 7 + kilometers to work: fine. Biking is probably not the best option for you.
5. “I will get sweaty and can’t walk around in these clothes all day!”
This might be partly true. Again, it all comes down to the bike you got, your physical condition, the temperature where you live and the distance from your home to work.
Where can I get the best bike for my needs?
I used to work in a sports shop when I was between 17 and 20 years old. Actually, I started as a part-time employee, but ended up as the general manager for the store. As my boss had a strong focus on sales numbers, it was always exciting to talk to a customer who came into the shop wanting to buy a bike. Using sales arguments to push the better bikes simply became a part of my daily life. In other words: I have sold hundreds of bikes throughout the years.
After trying to browse through different websites, I found out that Amazon got the best selection of bicycles on the internet. And the reason I say that is simply because they got the best product description on most of their products. As buying a bicycle is quite a big investment for most of us, you would like to have the best information available – and Amazon really provides that. In addition to that, they do have a product range like no other web shop on the market. With the international shipping, you can buy their products and get them shipped quickly, regardless of where you live.
3 thoughts on “5 reasons why you should bike to work”
I am not gonna lie, I gave up too early..but after reading this article, I actually started to bike to work. Just wanted you to know that 🙂
Three days in, I stopped because I felt that I had to shower at work to be able to work properly (if not, I felt that I was smelling). As my workplace did not have any shower facilities, I was actually able to locate a gym nearby. But it was a lot of stress.
07:00 bike from home
07:35 arrive at the gym
08:00 finished showering
08:15 arrive work
07:45 drive to work
08:15 arrive at work
don’t get me wrong, I understand why you are doing it. And I love to see people bike to work, but I just found out it wasnt for me
I used to be one of those that you write about in this article. Spent a lot of my time in the metro every damn morning and didn’t really think that biking to work would be a good idea. After all, it looked so far when I checked on Google Maps. However, the city that I live in (Berlin) now has improved a lot on bike infrastructure. New, broad roads that are only meant for bikers. No scooters. No pedestrians. Only us.
It takes me about the same time (30-40 minutes) to go with metro/subway as it takes me to bike now. And I don’t get sweaty as all, but I blame that on good genes 😛
Hi Deutsche Cyclist,
thanks for your comment. Good to hear that you found a great solution. Biking to work is not only great for the environment, but also for your health! 🙂
If you can arrive work without getting sweaty, I would say that you are in pretty good shape. 40 minutes biking would be exhausting for most people.