Since I’ve moved to Amsterdam I completely changed the way I commute. In the past, I used to make nearly all my trips by car, even short ones. Now, I don’t have a car at all and I travel through this city with public transportation (excellent here) or, if the weather permits – and it usually does unless you’re spoiled – by riding my bicycle.
If you would have told me 2 years ago that I would fall in love with bike riding I would have laughed. I was a car junkie through and through. Today, I’m happy to not have a car and you should consider it too, if you live in a city. Replacing your car with a bicycle has some big advantages that can make the switch from car to bicycle worthwhile.
1. No Traffic Jams
Waiting is one of my least favorite activities. Waiting in traffic is even higher on the list. When I wait in line for a doctor I can at least read a book. In the car all I can do is inch forward slowly while praying for this nightmare to end.
Riding a bicycle frees you up from traffic jams. You can zip through the entire city. It’s all up to how fast you can ride.
2. Saves You Even More Time
Traffic jams are the only time-wasters driving a car creates. Anyone who tried to find a parking space in a crowded city knows that it can be quite a nuisance. You may need to go around the block for 15, 20 or even 30 minutes in some cases to find a free spot. Then, you may not even park close to your home. You may need to do some walking to get to your door. All this is time down the drain and, unless you have a long trip, bicycle riding can save this time for you.
3. Gets You Moving
Doing cardio can be a drag and bicycle riding can eliminate that feeling. While riding around your city isn’t likely to produce a massive cardio benefit, it is still a great way to move more, burn more calories and lose weight.
Doing regular workouts is not enough. You need to find ways to exercise without exercising and be active during your day to day routine to burn even more calories. If you ride your bike to work, the movies, the store, and so on, you will get leaner faster.
4. Save a Lot of Cash
Rising gas prices, parking tickets and payments, repairs, maintenance, insurance… there seems to be no end to the expenses of having a car. You’re actually paying for it even when it is parked outside and you’re asleep in your bed: you pay for the insurance and the depreciation.
With a bicycle you don’t have these worries. You just need to pay for the bike once and, as long as you avoid an accident, you just need to keep the wheels pumped and have some brake oil (very rarely requires changing). A bicycle is an economic mode of transportation and with today’s gas prices it is getting even better.
5. It’s More Fun
Riding a bike is more fun than driving a car (unless it’s raining cats and dogs). You don’t have to be as focused on the road, you can enjoy the scenery more, you can stop practically anywhere you want. You can enjoy the air and the movement of your muscles. There is really no comparison between riding a bike and driving a car.
6. Less Chance Of Hurting Anyone
There are two main fears when driving a car: getting hurt or hurting another person. Let’s not disregard what an emotional mess you may become if you hit someone with your car. Even if it’s totally not your fault, this isn’t something that you will likely recover from easily.
With a bicycle the chance of you seriously hurting another person are virtually nil. The bike simply doesn’t pack enough power. It can be a painful collision and it may result in injury, but I never heard or read of a person who got killed when hit by a bicycle. Have you?
7. Better For The World
Pollution is all around us and cars are part of the problem. When you drive a car the exhaust fumes it releases add to the heavy cloud of pollution that so many cities suffer from. Riding a bike means that you’re not making the problem worse. You’re doing something for the world, for the air that you and your loved ones breathe.
This may not be much, you may be thinking, but you can only do your best. Set an example, be a force for change to the better and help reduce pollution.
All in all, I’m happy with my bicycle and I don’t miss my car at all. How about you? Do you ride a bike?