With gas prices at an all-time high, and likely to rise even more, you're probably already driving less and bicycling more. But, just in case you're having a hard time breaking the 4-wheel habit, we put our heads together and came up with our top 10 "other" reasons to ride rather than drive.
10: You get ultra-cool tan lines!
We'll start with a fun one, and you can laugh if you want. We wear our cycling tans like a badge of honor, a sign of our healthy lifestyle choices, a tangible token of membership to an exclusive group. It says, "hey, I ride a bike," or "I grow turnips." Either way, or both, people are bound to be impressed at the beach. Just be sure to use sunblock so you don't overdo it!
9. You see your city like drivers can't!
On two wheels and moving at a comfortable pace you can enjoy your environment and see, smell and hear things you never notice in a car. Which of your neighbors has the best-landscaped yard? What bakeries smell so good you just have to stop? How many different architectural styles can you spot? On a bicycle you can take the scenic route and explore and become a tourist in your own city. Every ride is an adventure.
8. All those we-miss-you cards from your doctor!
Pedaling only 10mph, a 140-pound cyclist burns about 400 calories an hour. And studies prove that biking a few times a week reduces blood pressure and stress while increasing your energy and elevating your overall mood. Your doctor may have to wait a little longer to buy that yacht!
7. You never get stuck in traffic and always have a great parking spot!
If you ride in a city and bike during commuting hours you'll love being able to cruise past long lines of vehicles held up at red lights (be sure to watch carefully for right-turning traffic who might not see you). While drivers breathe exhaust (studies have shown that cyclists breathe less exhaust), and honk at each other, you feel the breeze and enjoy the sights off the roadside. Not to mention that you always get a great parking spot and often even beat your coworkers who drive to work.
6. You have one less car payment and don't pay registration or insurance fees, either!
According to our very unscientific study (read: quick Google search), the average car payment is $500 a month. On top of that, add the cost of insurance, registration, gas, maintenance, etc. By eliminating that vehicle and using your bicycle instead, just think of all the bike gear you can buy!
5. You find cool free stuff on the side of the road!
By observing the flotsam and jetsam along America's streets and highways, you never know what you may find. Loose change, designer sunglasses, cool tools, $20 bills — heck, maybe an entire bag of money? Of course, you'll have to come back to grab that awesome Naugahyde sofa with the "free" sign you spotted on someone's lawn.
4. You can cancel your gym membership!
Riding outside sure beats the treadmill, elliptical machines and the three pieces of cardio equipment you still haven't figured out. No waiting in line for those machines, either. Best, you'll no longer have to spot for Rocko while he's bench-pressing weights equivalent to a small car.
3. You'll never be late for work again!
Because you can avoid traffic and cruise faster than jammed vehicles, it's likely you'll commute faster on 2 wheels and never be late again. Plus, if you are late sometime, it'll probably be because you decided to take the scenic route in. We've done it, too. But tell your boss instead that you got a flat tire. We know you can fix a flat tire in a matter of minutes, but he doesn't. And, he should be impressed that you're making the effort to bike in, keeping yourself healthy in the process and saving a parking space for someone else.
2. Cyclists make better lovers!
According to a study led by Dr. Romualdo Belardinelli, director of the Lancisi Heart Institute in Ancona, Italy, the results of aerobic exercise are comparable to those of Viagra, because both widen blood vessels. Hmmm... that's a little scary. Our point is that regular exercise like cycling, will make you feel better, increase your energy and even help you look better, too. All of which make you more interesting to and interested in the opposite sex.
1. Bicycling is a Fountain of Youth!
It's an amazing thing. You feel younger and actually get more years out of your muscles, joints and organs simply by using your highly capable self to pedal around instead of sitting statue-like behind that steering wheel. In fact, cycling might just be the closest thing you can find to a genuine Fountain of Youth. Like few other sports it keeps you fit and young with very little risk of injury. For example, we know plenty of 55-year-old regular riders who look and move like they’re closer to age 35, and also 80-year olds who still love to ride — and can because they're been riding for years.
We'd enjoy hearing your reasons for biking instead of driving. And we look forward to helping you with all your cycling needs! If you're interested in more tips for bicycle commuting visit the League of American Bicyclists.