Are you looking for a community of like-minded people or a way to feel more connected to your local neighborhood?
You’re not alone. These days it feels like many of us are still looking for ways to connect with others or a way to make a difference without completely changing our lifestyles.
The great news is, there is an easy way to engage with your local community and make a difference: ride a bike. Simple as it sounds, this easy activity that most of us learn to do as children (and probably stop as we grow into adults) is a great way to find a community and feel better – physically and mentally.
Perhaps you already bike to work occasionally. Maybe your bike is collecting dust in the garage, or it has been a while since you’ve even owned a bike. No matter where in your cycling journey you are, we encourage you to look at your two-wheel transport in a new light.
Here are seven awesome reasons why you should rescue your commuter bike from storage or buy a cruiser and start your urban cycling lifestyle.
1. Cycling is a Great Way to be a Part of Your Local Community
Perhaps you’ve seen small groups of people chatting while cruising on their bikes. Or, maybe your local community has a regular summer evening social ride that you’ve seen slowly roll past with people laughing and bopping their heads to music.
Cycling can be a very social activity, and there are so many ways to find someone to ride with.
Ask a friend to go on a casual bike ride to the local brewery (or two). Pedal to the farmers’ market with your spouse. Swap your carpool once a week for a group bike commute or ask a colleague to cruise with you to the local deli for lunch.
If those don’t work, lots of communities have social rides to breweries, farmers’ markets, or parks. Some even end with a concert or have a specific costume theme.
Even on your own, bike riding is a great way to see the neighborhood. Chances are, if you start riding around your local area, you will discover all sorts of interesting parks, shops, and people that you don’t notice when driving past in your car. You might even see the same people regularly and start to wave at each other. Before you know it, you’ll have made a new friend.
Cycling around your neighborhood helps the area feel more friendly, whether you have just moved in or have lived there for years.
2. Cycling Helps You Support Local Businesses
When you ride through your local area, you are more likely to try your local bike shop, check out local stores, and visit local cafes and restaurants. The more money you spend at these local businesses, the more money their owners spend at other local companies to keep things running.
There is probably even a local grocer or specialty food store closer to your home than your nearest national chain grocery store. (You might not know where it is yet, but once you start cycling around town, you will find it.) And, local grocers often have fresher, higher-quality products than the major chains. They are also more likely to source their products from local suppliers and be able to help you find a specialty product.
So, the next time you need a few groceries (or that one item you annoyingly forgot) hop on your bike instead of getting into your car. You won’t have to fight for a car park when you get to the local store.
3. Cycling is Good for the Environment
It’s no secret that cycling is better for the environment than driving. When you ride instead of drive, you are reducing your carbon footprint and helping to combat climate change. Plus, cycling can help reduce air pollution in large cities, which can have a positive impact on public health and make your local area a more enjoyable place to live.
And, when you ride your bike to your local farmers’ market you are reducing your carbon footprint even more. Local produce travels a shorter distance by vehicle to your market, lowering the carbon footprint of your food.
4. Commuting by Bike is Great Exercise
If you are like most people, you are short on time. A bike commute helps you kill two birds with one stone: exercise and transport. You’ll be surprised by the impact that swapping your drive to a bike ride, even a few times a week, will have.
Cycling is a great form of exercise; it can help strengthen your heart, build muscle, and improve your overall fitness. Improved fitness can increase your confidence and your metabolism. So, riding your bike to work can help you nail that big presentation or land that big deal you’ve been stressing over.
Plus, if you ride to the café, you know you can order that delicious-looking slice of cake (and eat it too).
5. Cycling Gets You Outdoors, which is Good for Your Health
Getting outdoors is excellent for your mental health and well-being. Studies have shown that spending just two hours outside each week can strengthen your immune system, improve your sleep, and reduce stress and anxiety. There have even been studies that suggest the outdoors can boost your mood and protect your eyes from short-sightedness.
The benefits don’t stop there. Outdoor activity, like riding your bike, can improve your focus, increase your self-esteem and boost your creativity.
In other words, cycling around town can help you be happier, more productive, and more successful.
6. Riding Your Bike Will Save You Money
Let’s be honest, gas is really expensive these days. It’s pretty simple, the more you ride your bike, the less you spend on gas. Plus, you won’t have to pay for parking when you get to your destination.
7. Cycling Will Save You Time
How many times have you driven a few miles just to drive around the parking lot for 20 minutes to find a parking spot? If you cycle to the shops, you can easily find a spot to lock up your bike (and it’s usually right near the door).
Also, cycling to work can sometimes be faster than driving or taking public transport. Bikes can navigate past bumper-to-bumper traffic and take shortcuts or routes not accessible to cars or buses.
With so many great reasons to get on your bike, we hope you will create your very own urban cycling lifestyle. We look forward to seeing you out there on the road!
If you have already started, we would love to hear what you enjoy or how you benefit from your cycling lifestyle. Please drop us a comment below.