Raise your hand if you just love sitting in traffic. No hands? Thought so. We all know the terrible feeling of banging your head against the steering wheel during rush hour.
Now, imagine replacing a tiresome, expensive drive with something cheaper, healthier, and fun! What is this amazing form of transportation and recreation that’s also ideal for physical distancing? Turns out, it’s been around for more than a century: It’s the bicycle.
There’s never been a better time for Canadian guys to take up cycling. For one thing, a solo ride is a safe and healthy way to get around, get fit, and get some fresh air during the COVID-19 pandemic. For another, cities and towns across the country are spending millions of dollars a year on adding bike lanes and other cycling infrastructure, which leads to faster, safer excursions and commutes. The equipment is becoming more accessible and economical too — gone are the days of having to choose between a Tour de France speed machine and something grandma would ride. Find the type of bike that suits you best.
Need more reasons why cycling is good? Keep reading…
Calories Burned While Biking
A leisurely bike ride burns more calories than walking, 280 versus 175 per hour, give or take, and typically gets you where you’re going more than five times faster. Pedal more quickly or climb a hill, and the fitness benefits only increase. Besides, cycling gets your legs and heart pumping without pounding your joints. This reduces the risk of injury, and as a result, cycling becomes a lifelong activity. Those are just a few of the many reasons why cycling is good for you!
Save Money AND the Environment
Not including the value of the vehicle, driving costs around 50 cents per kilometre when you factor in gas, insurance, maintenance and other fees. So if you live within biking distance of somewhere you would usually reach by car — your workplace, the grocery store, your favourite patio or coffee shop, etc. — let’s do the math. Cycling 10 km instead of driving twice a week saves around $520 worth of gasoline per year and prevents about 400 kilograms of carbon dioxide from polluting the atmosphere.
Improved fitness may save you, and every Canadian, even more in the long run if this Canadian Men’s Health Foundation study is anything to go by.
Stress, Cycling, and COVID
Any form of exercise reduces stress — including the COVID-induced kind — but cycling is especially beneficial. A recent New Economics Foundation study revealed that bike commuters report lower stress levels than drivers and transit-takers. A 2006 report by the Victoria Transport Policy Institute found that a much higher rate of bike commuters say they like their commute, compared with those using other vehicles.
So, let’s follow the lead of Freddie Mercury when the Queen frontman sings, “I want to ride my bicycle!”
Know of any other healthy, money-saving activities? Share the scoop in the comments below!
This article was originally published on July 21, 2016.
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Adam Bisby is a Toronto-based freelance journalist and father of two. His award-winning stories have appeared in The Globe and Mail, Toronto Star and National Post newspapers, in magazines like Explore, Reader’s Digest, International Traveller and Canadian Family, and on websites including MSN, MSN Canada, and DontChangeMuch.ca. Visit Adam’s website for more details on his award winning work.