I have been year-round bike commuting in Canada for just shy of 3 years, and fair-weather commuting for a couple years before that. I decided to take the leap after someone totaled my car and have been nothing but happy with the choice. Here are my top 10 reasons for bike commuting:

  1. Free fitness – You have to get to work, school, or stores one way or another, so why not throw in some physical activity while you’re at it? My commute is only 7km each direction, which seems like not much riding, but that’s 70km a week and 3,500km over a 50 week work year. For most cyclists, that’s around 50% of their total annual volume.
  2. See the city – Traveling through the city a cycling speed you notice a lot more around you. You see a newly planted garden, a new store you want to check out later, you get to recognize the various dog-walkers, you discover more efficient routes, and if your commute is on a bike path you see all kinds of urban wildlife. I feel a lot more connected to my city when I’m moving slower and not closed in my car.
  3. Save money – Car payments, insurance, gas, maintenance…cars are expensive! So, if you can either eliminate one or use it a lot less you will see significant savings. Even with bike maintenance and equipment costs, I’m saving thousands a year by getting on the bike.
  4. Fresh air and sunshine – Research has shown that being in the open air is good for your health, physically and mentally. Driving with you windows down simply doesn’t compare to being in the fresh air. And my commute varies in temperature from about 34 celsius to -25 celsius so I’m not just talking about the fair weather days, even the hottest and coldest days offer fresh air and often sunshine.
  5. Consistent travel times – Being on bike, particularly if you can access multi-use or bike specific trails, gets you out of a lot of the traffic jams that you face if commuting at the popular morning and afternoon times. I find my commute times, although of course slower overall, are at least far more predictable than when I’m in a car. I see around 5% variability based on traffic versus 50% when in a car.
  6. Set the trend – In many communities, other than the largest urban areas or the most bike-friendly countries, bike commuters are very much in the minority. Because of this, drivers may still see them as a rare nuisance rather than an integrated part of the transportation fabric. The more cyclists we have on the road, the more communities will be pushed to ensure they are bike commuter friendly. Developing a critical mass of cyclists will only enhance the biking experience for all.
  7. Be awesome – When friends, relatives, or co-workers find out that you bike commute the response will be universally positive. They will be impressed. In fact, many people I talk to express the desire to bike commute as well. To be the one doing what many others wish they could do is to be awesome.
  8. Free parking everywhere – I never pay for parking anymore. Ever.
  9. It’s fun – You love to ride your bike so why not ride it every day? I often stop to take photos of how beautiful things look when you’re on two wheels. When it snows and I’m plowing a new path with the studded tires I often laugh out loud. When drivers honk at each other and fight for position, I just smile and cruise unencumbered down the bike lane. This is a hobby I never get tired of, and the same cannot be said for driving my car.
  10. Save the planet – We should all be doing our part to reduce pollution and cutting down your gas mileage is an easy way to do it. Many environmental conversions, such as solar panels or environmentally friendly cleaning produces, cost you more money, this one is good for the planet and good for your wallet.

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