If you need to lose some extra body fat or get in better cardiovascular shape, there’s an easy solution that will cause you to lose 1lb per week, that’s about 50lbs in a year, while simply commuting to work!*  The solution – ride your bike to work!  I realize this isn’t possible for everyone, but for many of us it is.  The benefits of riding a bike to work are numerous.  For one, cycling is one of the most efficient forms of transportation known to mankind.  Compared to commuting by automobile, riding a bike is far more economical and environmentally friendly.  Not only do automobile engines rely on unsustainable fuels and produce obscene amounts of pollution, they also tend to drain the pocketbook.  Bikes, by contrast are people-powered, and people are fueled by renewable food sources.  With just 100 calories of energy a cyclist can travel up to 3 miles!  With an equivalent amount of energy an automobile can only travel a few feet!

Moreover, with a little practice it’s not difficult to maintain speeds of 10 to 15 mph by bike without breaking much of a sweat.  If your place of work is between 3 to 6 miles away, at these speeds you’ll get there in about 30 minutes or less.  In my experience driving 3 to 6 miles by automobile can take from 10 to 20 minutes anyways, which means you’ll only spend a few extra minutes riding your bike to work while reaping significant benefits.

By riding your bicycle to work you’ll also have the opportunity to develop bike-riding camaraderie with co-workers and encourage others towards being healthy.  You’ll be surprised by how many conversations commuting by bike can spark and the positive reinforcement you’ll receive from co-workers.  Riding your bike is also a great way to wake up and prepare you mind for the rest of the work day or to unwind on the way home.

Sometimes there are even additional perks to riding a bike to work.  Many companies are starting to offer benefits to employees for riding their bikes to work, even reimbursing them for mileage.  Other businesses are giving discounts and incentives to cyclists through a new program called Bicycle Benefits.  Also, a growing number of communities are celebrating a “Ride your bike to work day,” with free giveaways and breakfast as part of the festivities.  If you’ve never rode you bike to work because it sounds difficult or time consuming, give it a try.  Commuting by bike isn’t all or nothing.  Start by riding to work one or two days per week – you’ll still reap great rewards, and you’ll be surprised at how enjoyable and addicting it is!  If you need a little extra encouragement, check out this previous blog.  Don’t have a bike? Get a great deal on a single-speed commuter bike here.

*There are about 3500 calories in a pound of body fat.  The more you weigh and the longer you ride, the more calories you’ll burn by cycling.  The 1 lb per week weight loss figure is based on burning 500 calories per day by cycling, which is about how much a 185lb person with a 20 minute bike commute would burn per day.  To estimate how many calories you would burn on your bike commute visit this link.

Originally posted 2011-08-17 06:29:00.


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