Friday, May 18th is Bike to Work Day and thousands of DC area commuters will join the celebration in support of biking as a clean, fun and healthy way to get to work. From cost savings to improved fitness, biking to work can offer many benefits to commuters and the environment. Here's our list of the top five.
1. Cost Savings
Biking to work can save you a lot of money. In 2017, it cost the average American driver about $8,500 annually to own and maintain a standard sedan. When owning and operating a vehicle, you should take all costs into consideration: depreciation, gas, insurance, maintenance and repair. On the other hand, owning and maintaining a bike is estimated to cost about $350 a year. The only costs associated with cycling to work is the actual cost of the bike and minimal maintenance. By choosing to cycle to work instead of driving, you could save big on annual commuter expenses.
2. Improved Fitness
Cycling is a great physical activity and switching from a non-active commute (such as driving) to an active commute like cycling can help you achieve daily fitness needs and guidelines. While the level of exertion will vary by route and person, most people claim it is a great way to control weight and even aid in weight loss. In a recent study, it was found that cycling to and from work was as effective in supporting weight loss as going to the gym. The additional increase in physical activity is also widely known to have health benefits such as reducing the chances of cardiovascular diseases.
3. Increased Happiness
Exercising and physical activity are commonly known to reduce stress and anxiety as well as act as a natural anti-depressant. Working exercise into your daily routine and lifestyle could have a positive impact on your mood and increase self-esteem. And what better way to add exercise into your routine than on your way to work! Also, cycling to work can eliminate the stress that can come with driving and heavy traffic, which can influence your happiness and mental health before even stepping foot into the office.
4. Reduced Carbon Footprint
Biking to work reduces transportation emissions and traffic congestion. It has been reported that 60% of pollutants from cars are created in the first few minutes of the trip, as the car warms up. In fact, driving only four miles can cause as much pollution as a long journey. So even if you have a short commute, trading in the car for a bike can make a difference. Plus with fewer cars on the road, the reduction of traffic congestion has many benefits both on the environment and individuals in terms of vehicle mileage, cost, stress and more.
5. Added Convenience
Fortunately, living and working in an area like metro Washington, DC offers many conveniences for folks who bike to work. From protected bike lanes on city streets to fantastic bike trails throughout the area, cyclists have a variety of options for their daily commute. Plus, with Capital Bikeshare stations throughout the area, you don't even need to own a bike! Commuters can grab a bike as needed and drop off at a station close to work.
For more information on cycling in the DC area, visit the Washington Area Bicyclist Association (WABA) website.