The average American spends more than 100 hours a year commuting — or more than four straight days.It can take a major toll on your health, and research shows that the frustrating activity even leads to higher divorce rates.
No wonder some people have taken up biking to work. You could say these people are “winning” — they’re saving money, avoiding traffic, and staying healthy, among other things.
The trend is catching on around the country, even in major cosmopolitan cities like New York, where the number of commuter cyclists has spiked an astonishing 262% since 2000.
We checked out the ways biking can change your life.
The latest AAA cost-per-mile estimate of driving a car is 58.5 cents. This adds up quickly.
For example, if you're driving 20 miles a day for 50 weeks, it'll cost you $2,925 just for gas. On the other hand, a used road bike would run you about $200.
And of course, it's much cheaper to tune up a bike. Commuter cyclist J.D. Roth estimates it only costs him around $100 annually -- which is much less than any estimate from an auto shop.
Bicycling burns roughly 500 calories an hour -- which is much more than you'll ever burn sitting in rush hour.
Biking to work is an easy way to stave off chronic health issues like diabetes and obesity, and ensures that you'll get the CDC-recommended 30 minutes of exercise every day.
Commuting by bike lowers bad cholesterol, lessens risk of heart attack and stroke, reduces your chances of heart disease and even helps you live longer.
Aerobic physical activity causes your body to release endorphins, chemicals that mirror opiates by blocking pain and producing a euphoric feeling.
If you're biking to work, this chemical reaction will help get you ready for a good day. If you're heading home after a tough one, biking will help you rejuvenate so you can enjoy your free time instead of spending it feeling burnt out.
Main thoroughfares and public transit are designed to be efficient and utilitarian.
Cycling allows you to venture through areas you may not otherwise get a chance to see, and allows for flexibility in trying new routes to work.
A new perspective on the road could also lead to a new perspective in the office.
When roadways are accident-free and public transit systems are in working order, bike commuting can match their efficiency.
But we live in an imperfect world, with traffic and overcrowded subways.
Cyclists have more options, particularly in cities with protected lanes along major roads.
How many times have you been in your car, feeling your blood pressure rise as you endlessly circle a parking ramp to find an open space? Or how about on a subway, increasingly impatient with the dozens of other commuters packed in next to you like sardines?
If you show up to work after a reinvigorating bike ride, you'll be a step ahead of your coworkers.
Traffic congestion wastes almost 3 billion gallons of gas each year in the U.S.
motorised vehicles also account for 31% of total carbon dioxide emissions, 81% of carbon monoxide emissions, and 49% of destructive nitrogen oxides released into the air in the U.S.
Conversely, a short, four-mile ride keeps about 15 pounds of pollutants out of the air.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that if one in 10 car commuters traded their keys for a bicycle, carbon dioxide emissions would see an annual reduction of 25.4 million tons.
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