The ‘Big 3’ Benefits of Riding a Bike to Work

Meredith Joy
Meredith Joy founded Yay Bikes!, a Columbus-based nonprofit devoted to increasing trips by bicycle and reducing bicycle crashes in Central Ohio and beyond, and currently serves as its Program Director. Before kids, Meredith lived car-free in Columbus for several years, and still gets misty thinking about it. One day soon she'll be back in the saddle on the regular. In the meantime, she can be reached at meredith@yaybikes.com.

logoSo you’ve been “bike curious” for a while now, eh? Conveniently, May is National Bike Month, and Columbus celebrates Bike to Work Day on May 20! Now’s the time! But making the switch from car to bike well, from ‘how on earth do I carry all that stuff?’ to ‘sweat!’ to ‘ummmm cars, ack?!?!’, it’s understandably a confounding transition. Why bother?

There are lots of reasons: blah blah, being healthy, blah blah, being green, blah blah, being frugal, blah blah blah. Ha, just kidding! Of course there is all that. But really, why ride a bike to work when you could just as readily move to a yurt and live off the land? Forget the shoulds. Here are the real benefits of biking-not-driving:

Riding a bike makes you feel alive

Humans move, by design. When we don’t move, we sloooowly, so slowly we often don’t even realize it’s happening, begin to feel like something just ain’t right. And our new, sedentary normal is a recipe for feeling dead inside, not to mention actually dying (uh, not to put too fine a point on it). Luckily, we can choose to correct course! Unlike driving a car, riding a bicycle, even for a short time each day, profoundly revives our bodies and minds, making us happier, more productive and just overall more ‘on.’ Cyclists feel alive when arriving to their destinations, a la an energy jolt more powerful than any espresso.

Clearly this is a man living life to the fullest. Cyclist/Model: Ray George, Photo credit: Fulcrum Creatives

Clearly this is a man living life to the fullest.
Cyclist/Model: Ray George, Photo credit: Fulcrum Creatives

Riding a bike makes you feel connected

Humans don’t teleport, by design. As creatures forced to spend time in transit, we are bound by the laws of space and time. Luckily, we get to choose how we spend that time! And, unlike driving a car, riding a bicycle profoundly connects us to other people, to where we live and to our place in the world. Whether it’s noticing a local business for the first time, catching a whiff of baking bread or waving hello to a delightful stranger, cyclists embrace the opportunity to experience their travel rather than simply endure it.

Riding a bike makes you feel badass 

Humans strive, by design. But amidst the daily grind, who’s got hours and hours to cultivate their best self? Luckily, the simplest things can make the biggest impact on how we feel about ourselves. And the surest, quickest way to profoundly increase our self confidence is to succeed at something hard. Unlike driving a car, riding to work is a challenge that requires careful intentionality around everyday logistics, no doubt about it. But cyclists who pull it off are rightfully proud of themselves, and it’s infectious! Their newfound confidence spills into other areas of life, and suddenly they’re out there all adopting superhero alter egos taking on the world ‘n such.

So give it a shot and commit to feeling awesome about your life, about your surroundings and about yourself! With Yay Bikes!, you have all the support you need. Let’s ride, shall we?