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February 27, 2019

Want to Make a Difference? Ride a Bike!

There Are Many Ways that Using a Bicycle Can Make a Huge Impact on the World Around Us

There’s no doubt about it. Cars are convenient. However, life is about so much more than simple convenience. Sometimes it’s worth the time and effort to invest in leading better, healthier lives that positively impact ourselves and the world around us as much as possible.

One of the best ways to make a major impact quickly is to consider switching your primary mode of transportation from a car to a bicycle. Now, this doesn’t mean you need to stop using your car entirely (although if you can, that’s great!). However, if you can condition yourself to reach for those handlebars before you think of reaching for that steering wheel, it can make a huge difference in more ways than you might realize.

Personal Benefits

One of the most obvious ways that riding a bike can make a difference is with yourself. Not only will you have a lighter frame of mind knowing that you’re doing your part to keep our world sustainable, but the added exercise of riding a bike on a regular basis is an ideal way to work a regular fitness regimen into our constantly crowded schedules.

What’s more, if you’re the kind of person who likes to measure your progress on a regular basis, more and more technology is being produced to effortlessly track those miles without having to wear uncomfortable harnesses or other gadgets that get in the way. For example, there are many apps on the market that track your distance, as well as your heart rate, muscle activity, and how many calories you burned.

Of course, apart from the natural fitness benefits that come with biking as your primary source of transportation, the plain fact that you don’t have to pay for gas, repairs, maintenance, or a vehicle itself is going to quickly make a favorable impression on your bank account, too.

Benefits to Others

While the benefits to yourself may be readily apparent, there’s nothing like a bike to help you get up close and personal with the world around you. This naturally exposes you to opportunities to help your neighbors and overall community.

For example, in the U.S. it only takes a short amount of time spent trying to use our crumbling infrastructure to understand that it is an issue that needs attention. According to Norwich University, over 56,000 bridges in the U.S. are structurally deficient. Even worse, according to the same report, when a committee of 28 civil engineers graded the condition of our highways and public transportation, it gave them an abysmal D and D-, respectively.

Rather than continuing to spend loads of cash on things like the largely failed war on drugs, perhaps we should focus more of our government’s dollars on things like improving infrastructure. And, of course, every cause needs a champion, someone to voice the need in both local and larger government arenas. Biking can help you get up close and personal with those needs, inspiring you to get in on the action.

Benefits to the Earth

Finally, we come to the big inspiration that spurs so many of us to make the change and start riding that bicycle: the earth itself. Remember, virtually every decision we make impacts everyone and everything around us.

With that said, there are many different ways that ditching that car and choosing to ride a bike on a regular basis can make a world of a difference on, well, the world!

By choosing to pedal instead of cruise, we immediately impact the earth by reducing our carbon footprint and improving air quality through the lack of emissions associated with our new form of transportation. We also help reduce dependence on things like fossil fuels.

But the list goes even further. For instance, a bicycle does exponentially less wear and tear to the roads themselves and can go places where new roads would otherwise need to be paved. And don’t forget the simple fact that, at the end of the day, cars represent a much larger amount of garbage in a dump than a small pile of well-worn bicycle parts.

All of this helps, either directly or indirectly, to preserve the earth, its climate, landscapes, wildlife, and more.

Some Closing Advice

While it’s easy for urban residents to ditch and switch from a car to a bike, if you live in the suburbs you may feel like the change is simply out of reach. However, before you throw up your hands and move on, you may want to consider getting a velomobile!

While they are currently very underutilized, the brilliance of a velomobile is hard to understate. It combines the more reclined and comfortable design (as well as the benefits that come with it) of a car seat with the man-driven power of a bicycle. Their enclosed nature along with the fact that they come equipped with a dashboard with things like turn signals makes them ideal for longer distances, which can be reasonably traversed in rain or shine.

As one final point, if you make the switch to a bike, make sure that you know your rights on the road if you have a run-in with a car. In most states, a bicycle is given the same status as any other “vehicle” and needs to follow the same rules on the road. However, it can be worth your time to do a little extra research and look up if there are any other rules specific to your state or local community.

Happy trails!

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