With New Year’s Eve just around the corner, you might be starting to think about fitness as one of your 2020 resolutions. Swapping out your car for the bike will make a huge difference to your physical and mental wellbeing. Cycling is also a cheap form of exercise which will save you time while making you feel great. If you’re still looking for more motivation to swap your four wheels for two, the environmental impact of cycling is almost non-existent when compared to CO2-heavy cars. Mountain bike retailers Leisure Lakes Bikes take a closer look at some of the reasons why you should say goodbye to the car in 2020.
1. Health benefits
The physical benefits of cycling in comparison to driving to work probably won’t surprise you. If you don’t have time to go to the gym, then cycling is a fantastic (and free) alternative that you can easily fit into your daily routine. According to a meta-analysis published by the British Journal of Sports Medicine cycling can dramatically reduce your risk of cardiovascular diseases. The study accounted for both people who cycled for sport and people who used a bike for their daily commute. Not only did this analysis conclude that cyclists have a 22 per cent lower risk than non-cyclists for cardiovascular disease, but they also had a lower BMI on average.
In addition to this, cycling is beneficial to your mental wellbeing. As well as the fact that cycling gets you outdoors, and allows you to release endorphins, this form of exercise has also been proven to drastically reduce stress.
2. Financial benefits
If you’re keen on getting fit and active, why not do it in a cost-effective way? Driving to work each day can be truly damaging to your bank account. Not only is there the initial price of the car, but the maintenance, road tax, and fuel costs all add up, resulting in a needlessly expensive method of commuting. Switching out your car for a bike can reduce these costs tenfold.
One keen cyclist told us that he has saved £6 per day on fuel costs since switching to cycling for his 30-mile round commute. So, on average he saves £30 a week and £1,150 a year! Even a few pounds saved a day can make a huge difference, and when you pair this with the health benefits and the environmental pros, the positive points really stack up.
Of course, there is the initial cost of a bike to consider. Luckily, many employers engage with the “cycle to work” scheme which could save you a lot of money if your looking to purchase a new bike. As a result of making monthly salary sacrifices, this scheme will allow you to purchase a bike tax-free, saving up to 42 per cent of the over all value.
3. Environmental Benefits
Over the past decade, people have started to pay more attention to environmental concerns. Whether you’re recycling your plastics, drinking from a reusable coffee cup, or have started to grow your own veg, every little bit of effort can make a difference. Leaving the car at home is one of the best things you can do to reduce your carbon footprint.
Unfortunately, driving is still most Europeans’ transport method of choice — at great cost to the environment. Not only do cars produce huge amounts of CO2, but the initial production of a car is far more environmentally damaging than that of a bike. According to calculations from ECF, the production of a car alone accounts for 42g of CO2 emissions per kilometre driven. When combining this output with the output CO2 from each kilometre actually driven, the total comes to around 271g CO2 per kilometre.
On the other hand, we have the eco-friendly bike. Contrary to popular belief, a bike isn’t completely carbon neutral, as we have to take the energy used in production into account. However, this small output is minimal compared to that of a car. Taking production into account, a bike is accountable for 5g of CO2 per kilometre — miniscule in comparison!
Overall, it is clear that the benefits of cycling dwarf those of driving. It may be difficult to force yourself out of bed a little earlier for the sake of exercise, but your health, your wallet, and the environment will all benefit from it! Why not give it a try in 2020?
My name is Colin Baird and I want to see all of Scotland by bicycle.