Biking has become hip in recent years, with more bike stores popping up around the country. In a push to minimize emissions from the amount of cars on the road (and fossil fuels used), bikes have been popping up in many urban spaces, both individually and through bike-sharing programs like Citi Bike or Capital BikeShare. It does make a difference -- the energy and materials that would be used to make one car could make up to 100 bicycles and they save over 200 gallons of gas annually. However, if you're not so keen on using shared bikes (or don't want to have to keep paying for a membership), you could simply get your own bike! Even if you pay a little more upfront, it's ultimately less expensive than paying for a bikeshare membership every year, and certainly a more efficient way to get around a congested area.
The Popularity of a Bike Ride
Most people learn to start riding a bike young. In fact, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission says that most kids are ready to ride a bicycle by the time they're five. It's a common way for kids to get around a neighborhood and a first step towards independence.
Over 100 million bicycles are churned out every year around the world and there are around one billion bicycles cycling about globally. However, biking isn't just for little kids or cycling aficionados anymore. With a larger consciousness about greenhouse gases and finding more efficient ways to commute, bikes have become the new cool thing.
There are also plenty of advantages to hitting up your local bicycle shops and finding a bike that's best for your needs. Bike bags and baskets, rear racks, and other gear transform it into a commuting option that's perfect if you don't have far to go.
What are the Perks to Biking More?
If you're looking for reasons to go into some bicycle shops, consider this -- biking is not only an eco-friendly way to get to where you need to go, it can also help improve your health. Research done by Glenn Stewart at Brunel University showed that cycling reduced the risk of dying early by around 30%! And furthermore, one's chances of getting cardiorespiratory diseases goes down by about 40% with regular cycling.
If finding time to squeeze in workouts is hard, consider switching up the way you get to work. According to a 2017 study, simply biking to work can burn as much fat as if you were going to the gym five days a week for 40 minutes at a time. How's that for maximum efficiency?
You may also get to know your areas better -- cycling may take you a different route than you would take in a car. And it can be a great group activity on the weekends or off-time with family and friends. Often little buggies can be attached to bike frames, so you can even tote small children along for the ride!
And, of course, bicycling is better for the environment all around. Consider this -- if even just 20% of short car trips in Milwaukee and Madison were done via bike instead, we'd avoid emitting almost 60,000 tons of carbon dioxide into the environment.
What Should I Think About When Purchasing a Bike?
Shopping at your local bicycle shops is usually the way to go. If you have issues with the bike or need a part or a repair, they're easily on hand. Plus, your bicycle shops can help you with any customization you're looking for, whether it be longer reaching breaks or toe clips. Some bikes might even have electric-pedal assists, if you're going far, or the terrain is hilly, so be sure to tell the shop what you'll be using the bike for most. And do test ride! You want to see if you're comfortable on the bike and how it handles.
Reap the advantages of biking to work! You'll feel good about doing your part to save the environment, feel better from all the exercise, and have a spiffy new bike to show off.