One initiative in cities in recent years in an effort to be come more green has been biking. Copenhagen is one of the most biking-friendly cities in the world and NYC recently introduced a new biking system called “Citibike” as an effort to get people out and about. Not only are bikes a great way to cut down on emissions, but they also provide people with a way to exercise while going to and from work, running errands, or meeting friends. It’s also a way to get more exercise! Finding a good bike shop in your area can be invaluable for repairs, a new purchase, or new parts.
Bikes for the Every Day
Before it was the new hip thing to do, most of us learned how to ride a bicycle as a child. We teetered on tricycles and then put aside training wheels. However, in 2014, it was reported by many news organizations that urban biking was becoming more and more popular. Infrastructure started to pop up that made cities more bike-friendly, including more and more bike shops, bike paths, places to chain up your bike, and ways to rent bikes if you were just visiting or didn’t own one yourself. It’s a totally new form of urban transportation — one that allows people to enjoy the relative freedom of the road (versus often overcrowded subways, buses, and taxis) and encourages healthy activity during the day. It was also reported that biking to work went up in popularity by 60% in the last ten years! Unsurprising then, that seeing a bike shop on the corner is becoming more and more of an expected thing.
Why the Rise of the Bike?
- Money Saver
- Healthy living
- It’s a social thing
Although oil prices are down now, they’ve been on the rise over the last decade. During the height of the oil price surge, more and more Americans were worried about fueling their cars and what would happen when they could no longer afford to. If you could bike to work, that saved almost $50-$80 of gas a week, depending on your commute. People got sick of paying the gas prices and found alternative ways to get to work, school, and to meet friends. Additionally, if you don’t own a car, but own a bike, you don’t have to pay for repairs, insurance, and general upkeep of a vehicle.
There’s also been a recent trend towards living healthier in the United States, especially among urban areas. Biking is great cardio work and it also helps strengthen and tone legs — so it stands to reason that as people took up triathlons or other sporting events, bikes would factor in. Indeed, between 2008 and 2011, the overall number of those who participated in triathalon events went up almost 60%, according to the Sports and Fitness Industry Association, which is a trade organization.
Fewer emissions means a reduction in air pollution, which in turn, can lead to healthier lungs, lower rates of asthma, and less respiratory problems. And interestingly enough, cyclists consume less air pollution while cycling, than when driving.
For one thing, anyone can go for a bike ride. Whether rich or poor, anyone can cycle. In many cases, the very poor can only afford a bicycle, so it breaks down some economic and social stratifications. Additionally, bicycling can also encourage a sense of community. Rarely are cyclists prone to road rage (like one sees when driving a care) and are more likely to look out for each other and support each other’s causes. Cyclists who do it as a sport often train together and many families will bike together as well.
Whether you ride mountain bikes (accounting for almost a quarter of bike sales) or a road bike (the third most popular type of bike) to get to work and school, you’re helping foster a new way of transportation that’s greener, healthier, and more social. Pop into your local bike shop to see about purchasing a bike if you don’t own one.