Imagine this: you are riding your bike, the sun gently shines on your back, there’s a refreshing breeze blowing your hair and what’s even better is you are passing a line of cars stuck at the traffic lights.
This scenario is not a work of fiction – it’s happening all over the world – and it could be you.
There are so many benefits to bike riding rather than driving.
They are not all monetary: benefits include the environment and your physical and mental health.
Below are eight reasons as to why you should consider taking the bike when out and about.
No Need To Buy A Car
Without a doubt owning a car will cost you money:
- Registration & licensing (fines!)
- Maintenance costs & servicing
- Car loan costs
A bicycle will also cost you money but nowhere near the amount of money a car guzzles up.
The RACV has a neat Car Running Costs Calculator which estimates the weekly cost of running a car.
Using the calculator, my small car, a Mazda 3, comes to $170 per week.
Yes, I have car, yet ride a bike whenever practical.
If you don’t already have a bicycle, check out your local waste transfer station or Facebook marketplace advertisements. You may find a bike for free or for sale at a very low price.
You Don’t Need To Buy Fuel
Argh, fuel. Even though I use the GasBuddy App to find the cheapest fuel near me, it still costs a fair whack of money.
The cost of fuel includes not just the fuel price but also a 10% GST cost and an Australian fuel excise tax set at $0.418 per litre for unleaded petrol (regular or premium grades) .
For automotive LPG the price you pay includes excise of $0.137 per litre.
Bikes, however, only require the muscle powered fuel input from your legs.
Hmmm, empty wallet or strong healthy legs – tough choice.
Car Insurance Is A Thing From The Past
It seems insurance costs are always going up, even when getting a new customer discount of 15% every year.
Car insurance costs factor in driving age, where you live and where a car is parked, how expensive your car is to fix, car modifications, kilometres driven, natural disasters…
If you are keen to arrange insurance for a bicycle, consider adding it to your Home and Contents insurance policy.
No More Car Servicing Or Repair Costs
Another big cost: car servicing and repairs.
Tyres, oil, belts, breakdowns, the list goes on and on.
Let’s face it, to have a safe roadworthy vehicle, you have to spend money on your car.
According to AutoGuru the top 10 car troubles most likely to cause issues are the alternator, battery, brakes, engine problems, tyres, overheating, poor fuel performance, starter motor, steering and to top it off – faulty warning lights!
Paid Parking No More
You know what’s it’s like. First it’s difficult to find a park and then you have to pay for it.
It’s even worse if you live somewhere with paid permit parking, or if you have to pay for car parking as part of getting to your place of employment, or if you are shopping and only paid parking is available.
Did you know that Australia has the most expensive daily parking fees in the world. Yes, you read that right, THE WORLD.
With a bicycle, simply park anywhere you can securely attach your bike, for free.
If you need to cart shopping, be like Mr Money Mustache and tow a bike trailer – even in the snow!
Avoid Traffic Congestion
No one enjoys wasting the precious hours of their life stuck in a traffic jam.
In Australia, the average daily commute is 66 minutes per day. With workers from Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth having consistently longer commute times.
Whilst there are bigger factors in play here such as the distance between housing and employment and a lack of public transport, there are still opportunities where taking the bike gets you there faster.
For example, when I work 5 km or less from home, I take the bike. It is quicker for me to ride than drive. The same scenario falls into place when taking the kids to swimming lessons – the bike is faster, even at an eight year old’s pace.
Better For The Planet
Let me count thee ways a bicycle is better for the planet than a car.
No fuel, no oil, no antifreeze, no vehicle emissions, no smog, no noise pollution; no need to build, service or dispose of cars, no road damage…
Cleaner air, more space for trees and cleaner waterways. This sounds like it could be the start of a song!
You Get Free Exercise
Why pay for expensive gym memberships when you can exercise for free?
You could ride to work, school, the shops or the park and save money by not taking the car whilst improving your health at the same time.
Riding a bike has so many health benefits:
- improved cardiovascular health
- better muscle and bone strength
- less body fat and easier weight control
- increased immunity (all that fresh air and exercise)
- reduced stress, anxiety and depression
It’s also easy to do; you can go at your own pace; and, is low impact.
According to Harvard Health, you only need to exercise for 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week, to see improvements in your health.
Time To Get On Ya Bike
Do you have a journey of 5 km or less coming up? Seriously consider opting for riding a bicycle.
You’ll save money by not taking the car; it will be better for the environment; plus, your body will love you for it.
What’s there not to love about bike riding?
Please share your favourite bike riding hacks below in the comments.