Our waistlines are bigger, our planet is suffering and our pockets are empty. We drive everywhere and we pay a hefty price for it. It’s time to make a change. Laces up your shoes jump on your bike and start living a healthier lifestyle.
Ride for your health. The health of Americans has declines as we now rely on modern conveniences like our vehicles to take us everywhere we go. Inactivity-related diseases are the second largest killer in the US, falling just behind smoking. Currently ninety percent of the population in the US drives to work each day, only .6 percent ride their bikes. This is in spite of the fact that seventy percent of Americans car trips are less then two miles away. If we are all traveling such a short distance, why not jump on your bike and reap the health benefits? According to the British Medical Association, cycling just twenty miles a week reduces ones risk of coronary heart disease by fifty percent. Cycling helps boosts high-density lipoprotein (HDL) or “good” cholesterol and helps decrease unhealthy triglycerides. This keeps your blood flowing smoothly, while decreasing your risk of cardiovascular disease and helps prevent high blood pressure. Cycling is also an effective way to lose weight, build muscle mass, and increase your metabolic rate long after you’ve finished riding. The average person will lose 13 pounds in their first year of riding to and from work. Biking also reduces stress and depression and improves ones sense of well-being and self esteem. It increases hip and knee joint mobility and helps to build your overall stamina. Just like any other physical activity, there are different levels of biking that range from a leisurely bike ride through the park to training for biking marathons. But, just as a journey of a thousand miles starts with one step, the journey to fitness begins with just a bike ride around the block.
Ride for the environment. Less concrete more trees! Twenty bikes can fit into a parking space designed for one car. Studies show if we all ran half of our errands by biking just for four months out of the year we would save 3.5 billion dollars in air quality related expenditures. Fifty to ninety percent of emissions are caused by automobiles. 15 percent of all asthma cases are linked to living close to major roads. And currently, one in two Americans breath highly polluted air every day. It is our responsibility to take care of our planet so it can be enjoyed for many generations to come.
Ride for your pocket. Gas prices are simply outrageous, not to mention the politics and wars behind the oil industry. Transportation alone accounts for twenty percent of an Americans family budget, it’s the second biggest cost, only behind housing. If we all road our bikes just four months out of the year, and rode to complete only half of our errands, the US would save 3.8 billion dollars just as a result of fewer car accidents. Adding 30 minutes of biking a day would save each of us 544.00 in medical costs each year. By the year 2040 Portland, will have saved 400 Million in health care. That is due to the fact that Portland takes the cake for the highest percentage of any US City commuting by bike, falling in at 6 percent. Lets follow in Portland’s footsteps and save ourselves some of our hard earned cash through biking to work each and every day.
Ride for yourself. Free yourself while being socially, environmentally and economically conscious. You can start living according to these philosophies by setting out on your bike each and every day, just as Janey Robson does. Janey is a mother of four and a local nurse. While she does own a car she rides her bike to and from work, to and from the grocery store, the video store you name it. She rides in the pouring rain, snowstorms, mid-summer heat, and in high winds. When I asked Janey why she bikes everywhere she responded, “For the freedom. I’m a very independent woman. I don’t want to be dependent on a car, I don’t want to be dependent on gas, I only want to be dependent on me. It’s just who I am.” Janie explained, “You can’t be unhappy on your bike. I’m always happy on my bike. It’s like you’re a kid, your free, it’s fun. There is just no other way.” Get out there and reconnect with your childhood. Let the wind hit your face, listen to the birds sing, embrace nature, and in the process you’ll be taking care of your body, your mind, and spirit all while giving back to our beautiful home we call earth.
“Life is like riding a bike. To keep balanced you must keep moving.”