Bikes are amazing: they can be sporty speed machines, beasts of burden, efficient commuters, or style statements. Just like there is a difference between car racing and everyday driving (well, preferably… ) There is also a clear distinction between biking for sport and the ordinary, everyday kind of biking. Sometimes called utility biking, transport biking, or everyday biking. It’s the kind you do in ordinary clothes, in order to complete ordinary activities, like visiting friends, shopping, errands, etc. When I was at high school, one of our teachers commuted by bike. She was generally regarded as pretty weird. Back then anyone who chose to ‘bike instead’ was regarded with suspicion as some kind of peculiar sub-culture with questionable personal hygiene habits. Thankfully that is changing – plenty of people are embracing everyday biking, and plenty more would like to, given the right conditions. Why? What’s so great about it?
There are tonnes of reasons why it is great, but let’s look at 8 biggies.
Physical activity = good for me. Inactivity = bad for me. Need I say more? Sadly most adults and many children do not get sufficient physical activity to stay healthy. Mostly we put it down to not having enough time…. more on that to come.
When you travel by car you are a canned human, separated from other people by metal and glass. On a bike you connect with people, have conversations, get to know your neighbours. It is a friendly kind of thing. And having people out and about it our streets makes our neighbourhoods more vibrant and safer.
Cars pollute. Fossil fuels. Noise. Visual pollution. Congestion. Space taken up with roading and parking. Bikes are clean and green, take up little space, and are quiet.
Even if there is no decent bike parking, it is still easier to park my bike than my car. Because it takes up little space and is portable. And there is nothing quite like zipping past a traffic jam on my bike. On a bike I can make use of shortcuts, and walk my bike through pedestrian only routes, making it easier to travel efficiently. The availability of electric bikes and cargo bikes makes it even easier. And you’ll save money: on parking, petrol, gym fees etc.
Time / Multi-tasking
I have to chuckle at the number of people who will sit in their cars in the gyms car park, waiting for a handy-to-the-door carpark to become available. Could they park further away and count the walk as a warm up? Or even better cycle instead? When we ride to the places we normally go to (instead of driving) we kill two birds with one stone: getting from A to B and getting exercise. And when you factor in traffic congestion and time taken to find a car-park, biking can take less time than driving.
Have you heard about ‘green prescriptions’? That is where the doctor prescribes an exercise regime as an alternative to (or complimentary to) taking medication. Exercise and getting outdoors are both good at reducing stress and anxiety, thus improving our mental health. That’s another way of saying ‘it feels good’.
Feel Good Factor
It’s hard not to smile on a bike. If you don’t know why, try riding one.
If gorgeousness is your thing, then bikes offer you a whole world of possibilities. Finally New Zealand is getting some great Bike Retailers who specialize in everyday biking, and beautiful bikes that are just right for the job. Biking is taking off, (or making a come back), it is a timeless classic that will never go out of style. Bike Junction in Wellington, Blend in Auckland, Action Bicycle Club in Christchurch…. and more. Check out our Facebook page where new finds are given a shout out.
Celebrate the Gorgeousness
I was going to use these points to create a beautiful infographic. But why do that when there are so many awesome ones out there already. Check out some of my favourites on pinterest.
Here’s a wee taster….