When it comes to making positive lifestyle changes, there really is no time like the present. We may already be well in to 2020, but it’s not too late to set yourself some small, achievable goals. If you want to start saving money, improving your physical and mental wellbeing, and looking after the environment, why not look at making the switch from car to bike? Electric mountain bike retailer Leisure Lake Bikes take a look at some of the best reasons to ditch the car and switch to cycling!
1. Improve Your Physical and Mental Health
The most obvious benefit of cycling is the improvement to your physical health. If you don’t have time to go to the gym, then cycling is a fantastic (and free) alternative that you can easily fit into your daily routine. According to a meta-analysis published by the British Journal of Sports Medicine cycling can dramatically reduce your risk of cardiovascular illnesses. The study accounted for both people who cycled for sport and people who used a bike for their daily commute. Not only did this analysis conclude that cyclists have a 22 % lower risk than non-cyclists for cardiovascular illnesses, but they also had a lower BMI on average.
Numerous scientific studies have also found that cycling has a positive impact on mental health. According to a study by Science Direct, aerobic exercise, of which running and cycling are great examples, can significantly reduce feelings of anxiety, potentially preventing anxiousness from developing into full-blown panic attacks or disorders. As well as the fact that cycling gets you outdoors, and allows you to release endorphins, this form of exercise has also been proven to drastically reduce stress.
2. Reduce Your Carbon Footprint
Taking care of the environment is more important than ever before in 2020. Unfortunately, driving is still most Europeans’ transport method of choice — at great cost to the environment. Not only do cars produce huge amounts of CO2, but the initial production of a car is far more environmentally damaging than that of a bike. According to calculations from ECF, the production of a car alone accounts for 42g of CO2 emissions per kilometre. When combining this output with the output CO2 from each kilometre actually driven, the total comes to around 271g CO2 per kilometre.
Compared to taking the car, biking is very eco-friendly. Contrary to popular belief though, a bike isn’t completely carbon neutral, as we have to take into account the energy used in production. However, this small output is minimal compared to that of a car. Taking production into account, a bike is accountable for 5g of CO2 per kilometre — miniscule in comparison!
3. Save Some Money
Losing a few pounds is probably one of the most common New Year’s resolutions – but how about saving some? Driving to work each day can be truly damaging to your bank account. Not only is there the initial price of the car, but the maintenance, road tax, and fuel costs all add up, resulting in a needlessly expensive method of commuting. Switching out your car for a bike can reduce these costs tenfold.
One cyclist that we interviewed reported savings of £6 per working day since switching over to cycling on a 15-mile round trip. So, on average he saves £30 a week and £1,150 a year! Even a few pounds saved each day can make a huge difference, and when you pair this with the health benefits and the environmental pros, the positive points really stack up.
When working out the overall savings, you need to factor in the purchase cost of the bike. Luckily, many employers engage with the “cycle to work” scheme which could save you a lot of money if you're looking to purchase a new road or mountain bike. As a result of making monthly salary sacrifices, this scheme will allow you to purchase a bike tax-free, saving up to 42 per cent of the overall value.
There’s no harm in giving cycling a try if you want to make some positive changes this year. It may be difficult to force yourself out of bed a little earlier for the sake of exercise, but your health, your wallet, and the environment will all benefit from it! Why not give it a try in 2020?