I've been regularly biking to work for four months, and although
it started as a nice way to get in some exercise, I've come to
realize that it actually does a lot more than just that for me.
I've recently been rehabbing an elbow injury that has prevented me
from biking to work, so I'm spending time thinking about biking to
work rather than doing so. In fact, it's been quite frustrating and
has made me think about why that is. There are a number of reasons
I enjoy my two-wheeled commutes, many of which I hadn't consciously
thought about before.
First and foremost, I've always loved biking. When I was growing
up I can recall riding my bike all day long during the summer. I
still love the feeling of motion and knowing that I am powering
that motion. I also think a large part of why I enjoy my bike
commute is that it gets me out of the series of boxes (even one
with four wheels) in which I otherwise spend most of my day. I try
to spend a lot of my weekends outdoors, but I'm not so great about
doing so on weekdays. This is a nice way to get outside for a while
and feel the sun on my face. My commute by car takes around 20
minutes, while the trip takes 40 minutes by bike. Even though it
takes me longer, I feel a lot less stressed when I get to work. I
also feel a lot more alert and awake when I arrive, as
biking has a lot of mental benefits.
Doubling my commute time may seem like a bad thing, but I feel
like I receive a lot of benefit from the extra time on the road.
True, I "lose" 40 minutes a day to my commute, but I'm getting
exercise during that time. Instead of getting home and having to go
to the gym, I get 40 minutes of cardio for free. Every bit of
activity is helpful, and riding to work honestly doesn't even feel
Some benefits are a little less tangible. It brings me some
satisfaction knowing that I'm not using gas during my riding
commute and that I'm not contributing to traffic for the day.
Although I don't use a lot of gas during my short commute, every
little bit adds up. And even though I feel a lot more alert and
awake when I get to work, I am definitely ready for sleep when
bedtime comes. This might seem detrimental, but as someone who is
pretty stubborn about going to sleep at a decent time, I'll take
all the help I can get.
I really can't recommend biking to work enough, if it is at all
possible for you to do so. I find that it helps break up the
repetitiveness of driving to work every day, which would probably
be worth it even without the benefits mentioned above.
Turns out, I'm not the only one who thinks this is a great idea!
Check out this
great article from a Cleveland Clinic physician
who shares my love of bicycling.