Chapter 1 REASONS FOR COMMUTING BY BIKE
BIKE TO WORK
...it’s low-impact exercise, it’s green, clean, quiet and quick. (And you’ll live longer)
sing a bike to get to work is easy, independent, convenient, door-to-door, healthy, and fun. Do it right and it’s safe. It can be fast, it can be slow. Bikes are quicker than cars in cities but, when the fancy takes you, you can tootle along at snail’s pace, admiring the view on a cycle path or down by the river, taking the scenic route to work. Cycling reduces pollution, congestion, road danger and transport expenditure. It also firms your gluteal muscles: regular bike riding is good for your buns. Higher levels of cycling civilises cities, and produces a healthier population. With nicer legs. Cycling is a lot less expensive than taking public transit or driving but it’s also a massive time saver: people on bikes know exactly how long a journey will take them, door to door. There are no traffic snarl-ups to delay you, no parking spaces to find, no parking attendants to dodge. Cycling is a whole tub full of new experiences. Addictive, too. Regular exercise stimulates the pleasure centers of your brain so the more you cycle, the more you’ll want to cycle. Dr Kevin Sykes, a professor of occupational health and fitness at the University of Chester in the UK, identifies two crucial chemicals in the brain – oxytocin and serotonin – which are released when we exercise. He said: “These are neuro-transmitters that promote a feeling of well-being. Their levels are raised by regular exercise. When they are released, they make you feel relaxed, free the mind and reduce anxiety and stress. “What we find is that people who do regular exercise sleep better and are better able to solve mental problems.” Going to the gym once or twice a week won’t cut it; cycling to work each day is exercise and transport rolled into one. Whether your bike commute is long or short, you’ll arrive at your destination alert and motivated. You’ll be better at your job.
PEDALLING HEALTH One of the biggest and best studies about the health benefits of cycling to work was carried out by the Copenhagen Center for Prospective Population Studies. Over a number of years, researchers studied 13,375 women and 17,265 men. Many died during the study period and their ages were logged. Those who regularly cycled to work were found to live longer. Report author Lars Bo Andersen said: “The major findings of this large-scale... study were that in both sexes and in all age groups... those who used the bicycle as transportation to work experienced a lower mortality rate even after adjustment for leisure time physical activity...Those who did not cycle to work experienced a 39 percent higher mortality rate than those who did.”
50 pages of bicycling to work goodness, presented by Momentum Magazine.