May just happens to be National Bike Month, and this week it’s Bike to Work Week, and Bike to Work Day is Friday. So clearly the world is trying to tell you to get pedaling. If you’re anything like me, you admire people who bike to work. And if you live in a city anything like New York, you also probably think they’re pretty brave (there’s no way I would risk sharing the streets with NYC drivers).
But riding your bike to work is actually totally doable. According to Bolt Insurance Agency, over 750,000 Americans use bicycles as their primary means of commuting daily. Heck, according to new research from AHN, more professional women have been spotted riding their bikes to work in several cities in the U.S. … in their heels. If they can do it, then you can too! And the benefits you get from biking are amazing. Here are just a few:
1. You don’t need to go to the gym if you bike back and forth to work.
I mean, you absolutely can, but unless you live directly next to your office you’re probably getting a pretty decent workout. According to Women’s Health magazine, a 135-pound woman pedaling 12 to 14 miles an hour blasts 488 calories in 60 minutes. Boom! Plus, your legs will look fabulous. Just in time for summer.
2. You can do it in heels.
Yes, ideally you should do it in sneakers, but more and more women are biking to work in heels. Heels on bikes? That’s madness! But according to a number of women, heels are great for bike riding. Cyclists were encouraged and challenged to wear their “Sunday best” while biking to work. Lauren Gerrie told the Public Bikes Blog, “In fact, it makes wearing heels that much easier because your feet hurt less from not having to walk around. I put together my outfits based around the assumption that I will be riding my bike. This opens my world of options up tenfold. I tell you what, a girl cannot stand/walk around this city in four inch stilettos for that long, but she sure as hell can ride in them for hours on end.”
3. It boosts your energy for the day.
A study published in the journal Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics found that bike riding improved energy levels by 20 percent and decreased fatigue by 65 percent. If that isn’t a great way to start your day, I don’t know what it is!
4. It saves you dinero.
Initially, buying the bike may be a little expensive, but chances are you already own one. It costs just $308 per year to keep bikes in shape.This is about 30 times less than cars, according to the Sierra Club. Plus, you will be saving money if you bike ride instead of belonging to a gym.
5. Your commute won’t kill you or hurt the earth as much.
Riding a bike is much better for your physical and mental health than driving or even taking the bus or subway. According to a new study by the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, the longer people have to be in a car, train or bus to get to work, the more miserable they feel. Have you ever heard of anyone feeling miserable or cramped or had to smell a person’s morning breath after a bike ride? Swallowing the occasional bug is the most annoying thing you may have to deal with on a bike commute.
Plus think of all the cutbacks on fuel emissions. Everyone will be breathing better because of you!
6. The health benefits are especially good for women.
I know we keep going back to health, but according to all these studies, biking to work will literally turn you into Wonder Woman. According to Women’s Health, heart disease is the number-one killer of women in this country. The two top risk factors for that are high blood pressure and high LDL cholesterol. In one study, researchers had 32 women ride at a moderate to high intensity three times a week for at least half an hour. After a year, they’d lowered their blood pressure and LDL. Not too shabby.
Plus, researchers from a Swedish university found middle-aged women were less likely to sustain wrist fractures if they commuted by bike. Fend off that osteopersosis!
7. You get tax reimbursements if you bike.
Starting in January 2012, cyclist commuters have been entitled to a $20 per month tax-free reimbursement for bike-related expenses if they bike three or more days to work.
8. You can wear cute accessories!
Who says you have to look goofy when you bike? Just like every kind of exercise, accessories for this sport have had a rad makeover. You can get sleek helmets, fun baskets (some will even carry your dog if you work in a really cool office), a computer to tell you speed and time, a comfy seat cover, and even a wine rack!!
9. It actually may help you be better at your job.
Cycling raises productivity. Exercising before work raises an employee’s productivity by an average of 15 percent! Forget coffee, you’ve got a bike with a bell! And for you managers, you may want to think about installing some sort of bike support program. This could include easy and safe places for employees to store their bikes, allow employees to walk around in bike clothes, sponsor workshops, or get certified in becoming a Bike Friendly Workplace. Find out more information here.
10. It could motivate a major career change.
Biking to work may make you realize you are up for a career change like Olympic cyclist Evelyn Stevens. She was working as a Wall Street investment banker and started racing bicycles on the side. She ended up quitting her desk job and headed to the London Olympics to represent the U.S. You never know!
Do you bike to work now, or plan to in the future? Tell us in the comments!
Ask Nicholas Flanders, COO and CFO of Levo League, about his cycling habits!
Photo: UpperCut Images / Getty Images