By Seth Strickland
Biking to work is fun. It's also great for all your muscles (including your heart!), it'll drive you to make better diet choices, and it'll give you a good chance to take a break from the ol' automobile.
Citi bike has grown steadily more popular, as well as various bike sharing programs, so it's easier than ever worldwide to get your hands on a bike without having to actually buy one. But, chances are, there's a yard sale down the street, a recently-unexplored garage, or Craigslist, whereat a lonely bicycle is waiting, like a puppy, for you and only you.
Where to begin riding? Think about your work commute. Is it feasible for you to bike to work? Look for perhaps previously undiscovered bike paths in your community - chances are, if you live in a bicycle-friendly community or an urban environment, there are bike trails all around you. Get in contact with your local bike commission for a bicycling map.
I'm not advocating, though, that you pick up a bike tomorrow and set off on your 18-mile commute. Unless you do this already, I'm telling you that you're probably not going to make it. Plus, if you do make it, you might, through your tears, wish that you hadn't ever laid eyes on a bicycle nor been born or something foolish like that. But, if you have a commute of three miles or less (or more if you want to!), think about taking a day or two next week and biking to work. See how it feels.
Think also about the quick run to the store. That store, unless you are suburb-bound, is probably not far away. A backpack and a bike can make that secret exercise.
Why to begin riding? Your muscles are something like 50 times more efficient, on average, per calorie, than your car. And, since every gallon of gas you burn releases a pound of carbon dioxide, your pedaling is more efficient and releases next to no carbon dioxide. Plus, there are all those healthy reasons I told you about before. You'll do your body and your surroundings a lot of good.
This week, dust off the old Schwinn, buy a used road bike from your Local Bike Shop (LBS), or teach your kid to ride. This week, pedal deliberately. And wear a helmet.