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11 Benefits to City Cycling: For You & Your Community

When I started cycling in the city, I knew about the advantages to my environment and physical health, but I didn’t really appreciate the indirect benefits, like the difference it made to my mental health and home life.

Let’s take a look at 10 benefits of cycling in the city that can help change your entire life’s quality and the quality of your community. So if you do decide to take it up, you know exactly how good to feel about it!

#1: City Biking Reduces Traffic Congestion

The more individuals in cities who choose to bike to their 9-5 will help to reduce the amount of traffic on the roads. This can lead to a decrease in traffic congestion during before and after work hours, where traffic is usually at a high level.

This can make not only your experience better when traveling to work but will also help those who may not have the option to bike to their job because of how far outside the city they live.

This is especially true for suburban commuters who live outside the city and cannot commute by bike. And cities adapting their roads to include reserved lanes for bicyclists also helps reduce the build up of congestion in urban areas.

#2: Cycling Could Make your City Safer

With reduced traffic around cities, there is also a correlation between reduced traffic accidents. If not as many people are on the roads, and there isn’t the same stress involved in daily commuting, drivers tend to make better decisions and have fewer accidents.

The amount of traffic incidents can be reduced even more so when the cities invests in specific bicycle lanes, which they are more likely to do if there are more cyclists!

#3: Fewer Cars on The Road Equals Cleaner Air

Bigger cities have some of the worst air pollution in all of the U.S. This is largely due to the number of emissions given off from cars and transportation methods. 

When riding your bike instead of driving a vehicle to work, you are helping to reduce the number of emissions that are spread daily.

Passenger vehicles, on average emit about 4.6 tons of carbon dioxide every single year. Although this isn’t the leading cause of greenhouse effects on our atmosphere, it’s still a large contributor.

These types of emissions contribute to global warming and extreme weather conditions. This can lead to more natural disasters from an imbalance in global temperatures.

Riding your bike every day helps lower these potential dangers for future generations. It can also lead to an increase in the quality of the air you breathe and a healthier respiratory system.

#4: Biking Helps you Keep Fit

When you bike every day instead of driving, it should be reasonably obvious that you’re receiving more exercise for your body and increasing blood flow. The more consistent cycling practice you have, the more long-term benefits it can have for your body.

Some of those benefits are:

  • weight loss
  • better cardiovascular fitness
  • better mental health
  • building/maintaining muscle strength

It’s important to note that if you are leisurely biking at a slow pace this will help your mental health, but not necessarily help to reduce weight as much as if you are pushing your intensity in cycling.

The faster you are cycling, the more calories you will burn during that time which will lead to losing weight at a faster rate.

When you cycle you are increasing your metabolism and building muscle in your body, which is going to lead to burning more calories even while you are at a rest state. 

Overall, your body is going to thank you for a consistent routine cycling around your city.

How To Let Your Body Recover After Cycling

Losing weight doesn’t mean that you need to push yourself to unhealthy levels or reduce your eating. After a long ride make sure you are consuming healthy foods and protein to allow your body to recover.

Otherwise, you will go through weak spells and could also be more susceptible to illnesses. And not every cycling session needs to be high intensity because your body will need time to recover.

Alternate between having very intense cycling with long, slower-paced sessions to get the full benefits of your city cycling.

#5: Cycling Increases Quality Of Life

Many people don’t take the time to improve their quality of life while they have the opportunity. They wait until they get older when their body is already in the later stages of depreciation or illness. 

Cycling helps our bodies become healthier, which will make them more resistant to contracting a sickness or illness. 

When this practice of exercise becomes consistent over a long period you are giving your body a chance to live a longer, and healthier life.

On top of losing weight, your body will experience several benefits from consistent cycling in urban areas.

Cycling brings benefits to your mental and physical well being
  • Increased Life expectancy
  • Cardiovascular fitness
  • Musculoskeletal fitness
  • Healthy Body Composition
  • Bone strength
  • Sleep quality
  • Independent physical mobility
  • Cognitive function

In a time where modern medicine treats symptoms instead of prevents illnesses, cycling can be your way to make sure you live the long and happy life you’ve always dreamed of.

See the different ailments and illnesses that cycling can help prevent.

  • Cardio-vascular disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Blood clots
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Breast and colon cancer
  • Depression
  • Fall accidents
  • Dementia

As you get older these types of benefits are going to be much more apparent, and cycling in your city becomes a larger priority for your health.

By starting to city cycle as much as possible today, you are putting yourself in a better position to enjoy these benefits for a more extended period. And your family and community will be much more grateful to have you at your best for as long as possible.

#6: Cycling Saves Money In Different Areas Of Life

When you choose to consistently cycle as a mode of transportation or just for exercise you are making a conscious decision to save money.

When driving a car, there are always expenses being incurred for several reasons including

  • Gas 
  • Registration and inspection fees
  • Tire maintenance
  • Engine maintenance
  • Cosmetic damage incurred

If you own a bike, you might need to take it for a tuneup or to fix a broken chain but the overall costs are significantly less than driving a vehicle

Check out my article “How Much Money do You Save When Cycling to Work”, for a more detailed idea of how much money you could really save.

And the associated savings with cycling isn’t just about saving car expenses. You can also save a significant amount of money in medical expenses and prescription drug fees from increasing your quality of life.

Preventing major illnesses or diseases instead of treating symptoms is one of the best ways to extend the quality of your life. This helps to save potential costs on future medical bills or medical prescriptions.

You can also save on different devices that are intended to relieve pain but do not work on strengthening your body to prevent the pain from incurring.

Cycling can also replace exercise equipment that costs hundreds, if not thousands of dollars and takes up much less space in your home.

By saving this money it can be spent in areas of your life to improve your career or to take that vacation you always wanted. You can put away a rainy day fund or start a retirement fund with the extra savings you incur.

#7: A Bike Takes Up Less Space

Compared to a vehicle your bike takes up a fraction of the space in a city. If your apartment building doesn’t come with a garage for your vehicle you will have to find an open space in your neighborhood.

Big cities earn a lot of money from parking violations because there are often too many cars compared to the number of parking spaces available. 

But when you take up cycling there are often bike racks located right next to the entrance of a building. You can lock up your bike for safekeeping and never go through the anxiety of finding a parking spot in the city.

You can also avoid the high fees of using public parking in garages or dedicated lots and remove any of the parking fines associated with a violation. 

You also don’t have to leave your meetings or appointments to feed the parking meter with more change so that your parking spot is still considered legal.

If you live in an apartment in the city you may have a dedicated garage or spot for your vehicle, but oftentimes you are left to figure this out on your own.

With a bike, you can easily park it as close to your front door as you want as long as there’s a way to lock it up. Another option is to bring your bike up to your apartment so you can store it safely inside.

Check out my recommended gear section for indoor and outdoor bike solutions.

How Cities Can Use More Space

In growing cities, there is often a need to turn abandoned lots into entire spaces dedicated to parking. This also happens with older buildings that are no longer in service. Owners will tear it down to build parking garages with multiple levels.

If more individuals changed their mode of transportation to cycling you could see a huge difference in the way our cities are being built and what we are choosing to fill the spaces with.

Instead of large parking garages, we could build more public service buildings that help drive and enrich the communities.

Cities could also use these spaces to create more natural spaces for the community, like public parks. More natural space in urban areas increases the air quality and provides places for individuals to relax in the middle of a city.

#8: Cycling can Help you Discover Your City’s Beauty

Discover hidden beauties within your cities by taking up cycling instead of driving

There are a lot of advantages to cycling for your mental and physical health as well as saving money and the environment. 

But one of the lesser-known advantages is being able to learn and love your city a little deeper.

When you are driving in your city, it is incredibly important to keep your eyes on the road at all times and be aware of your surroundings. And the speed at which we drive can cause us to zoom by all surrounding structures and nature.

But when you cycle, you have the opportunity to slow down and enjoy every little detail your city has to offer. You can smell the bakery from down the street or hear a crowd of tourists laughing and enjoying your city.

You will often notice several businesses you have never even seen before or side streets that you didn’t know existed.

This can lead to curiosity about everything your city has to offer, and it can also show you your new favorite restaurant or date night spot.

By taking alternate routes while cycling compared to driving you can begin to find places and organizations you’ve never heard of before. This is a great way to learn more about your city and become more connected with the community.

#9: Cycling can Bring Local Communities Together

When cycling instead of driving, you tend to stay more local and make use of the local shops, amenities, restaurants and bars rather than going further out.

This actually brings the local community together in a way that wouldn’t have been possible through driving everywhere.

There are also cycling groups that will often gather on specific days of the week to cycle through the city and they even stop by local establishments to help support the business community.

Cycling is a great way to stay more connected to your local community and to build a network of other like-minded cyclists.

#10: Cycling Can Reduce Stress and Anxiety

The grind of working every day and providing for yourself or your family can feel overwhelming at times. This is especially true if you are locked into a job that you don’t enjoy or a boss that gets under your skin.

There is scientific data that suggests cycling helps to reduce stress and anxiety in the body. 

When you bike your body actually reduces the levels of cortisol in the body. Cortisol is a hormone in your body that is associated with causing stress. 

The reduction of these will cause you to feel less stressed in everyday life. Routine cycling can have more long-term effects on the reduction of your cortisol levels.

This can lead to better attitudes at work or dealing with family and friends. It can also help you get a better night’s rest. 

You are also experiencing an increase in serotonin and dopamine after a good long cycle. These are endorphins that when released into the body give you an ecstatic sensation and are associated with what cyclists call a “cycling high.” 

#11: Cycling Can Help You Sleep Better

There are medications that also help to release serotonin and dopamine in the body for people who have high stress and anxiety. They also help with depression but instead of taking medications, cycling is a way to naturally create this for your body. 

By reducing your stress and anxiety, you can improve your performance at work, which can possibly lead to promotions and an increase in pay. Or it can lead to a better understanding of how to improve your situation because your mind isn’t clouded to make bad decisions.

With less stress and anxiety, you can enjoy a more relaxed home atmosphere and have a healthier partnership with your significant other.

Is It Good to Bike Ride Every Day?

Riding your bike every day can lead to drastic improvements in both your physical and mental health. As you get older, these benefits become incredibly important in sustaining a long, and healthy, lifestyle.

If you are just starting out, it may be a good idea to cycle alternate days rather than everyday to begin with in order to give your body a chance to recover. This is especially important if you are not used to exercise.

After a while, you’ll find that cycling becomes easier, and your body gets used to the new routine, at which point, you can increase the challenge and start to cycle more.

What About Safety for the Cyclist in a City?

As you read through this article, you’ll find out all the advantages of city cycling but that doesn’t mean that riding a bike every day comes without any risks or dangers.

Riding a bike in the city is especially dangerous because of the surrounding traffic. In fact, 70% of all fatal bike accidents happen in U.S. cities. 

Dedicated cycle lanes make cycling around the city much safer

Cities have been trying to make this mode of transportation safer by adding designated bike lanes where cars cannot enter. In some cases, cities are adding bike paths throughout natural areas of the city where bicyclists don’t have to worry about vehicles darting around them.

The best way to stay safe is to make sure you know the rules of the road where you are cycling, wear a cycle helmet, and make sure you have the correct safety gear for city cycling. You might find my article here interesting, as it discusses cycling against traffic vs alongside traffic.

You can check out my recommended gear section for a detailed guide on the things you need to have to ensure a safe ride.

Some Things to Bear in Mind…

Besides the risk of city traffic, bicyclists will need to consider the physical toll that biking can have on someone’s body. If you experience pain in your joints or you have pain in your back, biking can actually inflame your issues. 

It’s important that when you are thinking of taking city biking seriously that you start with smaller trails and paths to allow your body to adjust. And if possible, consult your doctor before starting to see if biking would cause any harm to pre-existing injuries.

City cycling can help you improve your physical and mental health, bringing you closer to the best version of yourself you can be, and extending the quality of your life. It can also contribute to improving your community as a whole by lowering the amount of traffic congestion and air pollution. 

Not to mention the amount of savings you can incur from switching to cycling as a major method of transportation. Use these advantages to help yourself, your family, and your community become more of what the world needs. 

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