“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.” – Albert Einstein
I’ve always loved biking ever since I taught myself how to ride without training wheels at the age of 4. I’d always enjoyed biking as a hobby, but I didn’t really start to embrace the lifestyle until I started college in NYC and began commuting to school. Here are 5 main reasons why I am a huge fan of cycling and why I think everyone should consider investing in a bicycle:
- Exercise – We have all learned how important it is to get at least 30 minutes of physical activity everyday. Think you don’t have the time to exercise? Then turn your commute into a workout. Instead of taking public transportation to school or work (or wherever) for 30+ minutes, use that time to cycle your way there instead. A decent amount of released endorphins will be sure to have you starting your day as fresh as can be. This will increase your focus, concentration, and awareness throughout the long work day ahead. Cycling is also safer on your joints, allowing for much less impact on them than running, and it also allows for a nice variety of your muscles to be used all at the same time. Do I even need to mention how many calories you’re burning?
- Save $ (and time!) – If you turn your commute into a workout, you will be blown away at how much money you can save on MetroCards and gas. Building the bank account all while building muscle–sounds like a win/win to me! I also like to think of it as free therapy. Cycling also saves you tons of time. In a big city like NYC where traffic is atrocious, you might find it more convenient to find bike paths that will get you safely to where you need to go. Luckily, many cities have been increasingly adapting to cyclists, becoming more bike-friendly by implementing designated car-free paths to get around.
- Environment – Not only are you doing your body and your finances good, but also the environment! By cycling, you are NOT polluting the air with harmful gases or fumes, and you are consequently helping your fellow city dwellers to breathe good air. Bicycles are also not as much of a threat to other cyclists on the road as cars can be. They take up less space in the narrow city streets, and we all know cars can also be a weapon to the road so the more bicycles in the streets, the better!
- Explore – Since I’ve started cycling, I’ve seen more of this city and everywhere else than I could have otherwise. If you want to get up close and personal, or witness some of the most majestic views your city has to offer, get on a bike! Satisfy your curiosities, conquer your fears of the unknown, learn more about your home so you can properly entertain your tourist friends, and fall in love with your surroundings over and over again! There is ALWAYS something you haven’t seen before. It is also pretty fascinating to see where and how far your own two legs can take you.
- Community – I cannot stress enough how lovely it is to meet people with as much passion as you do and who also share the same hobbies. More shared activities with others lead to more enhanced human connections. More enhanced human connections lead to healthier and happier mental states, which then lead to more fulfilled lives! There are also plenty of fundraising bike rides out there you can help contribute to: I recently completed a 300 mile, 3 day charity bike ride from Boston to NYC where I was able to raise $3000 to support the end of the dual crises of homelessness and HIV/AIDS. Doing so, I’ve been introduced to so many friendly people with similar interests all while working together for a good cause.
© Alaina Blay 2014
George Washington Bridge, New York, NY, 2014