In this article, Zoe Price explores the reasons why owning a bicycle can help the environment and enrich your life.
Electric cars may one day enable us to use motorised transport without having to worry about our carbon footprint. However, with most of our electricity still coming from non-renewable sources, electric cars are not the magic bullet some would like them to be.
That’s why many environmentally-conscious individuals are seeking better ways to help the environment. One of the best ways to reduce your emissions, while still getting around faster than on foot, is to cycle. If you want to minimise your emissions and contribute to a greener earth, a second-hand bicycle is a great investment.
Reduce Air Pollution
Cars are responsible for a significant portion of global air pollution, and making the switch from driving a car to riding a bicycle is a fantastic way of reducing your contributions to this issue. Even if you’re only using your car to make short journeys, all those journeys add up: every second that your car’s engine is running, it’s polluting the air around it.
The fewer cars there are on the road, the better it is for the environment. Reducing your mileage by riding your bike instead of driving your car means that there is one less car stuck in traffic and causing pollution.
The only fuel that a bike requires is your own strength and energy. There may be some environmental costs of producing the bike itself, which is why shopping second-hand is always a good idea. However, there are no subsequent emissions from burning fuel like there are with cars, even if you opt for a brand new bike.
Save Yourself Money
Not needing to buy fuel means that most people will save quite a lot of money by switching to riding a bicycle. Even an expensive bicycle is likely to be only a fraction of the cost of a car. Both your upfront costs and your ongoing maintenance costs are significantly lower for a bicycle, from standard servicing to insurance – bicycle insurance protects you financially if your bike is stolen or damaged, and is much cheaper than insuring a car.
As well as fuel, you’ll also save money on parking and MOTs, as well as maintenance costs. You can usually maintain your bicycle yourself and get the tools and parts you need cheaply online. If you’re not good with your hands, then your local bike shop should be able to help for much less than the cost of maintaining and keeping a car.
Bikes usually last for a long time, and they also hold their value well when compared to cars, which depreciate as soon as they’re driven off the forecourt. That means when you do want to sell your bicycle for an upgrade, you’re likely to get a better return on your original spend than if you were trading in a used car.
Improve Your Personal Health
A bicycle is an excellent tool for reducing your environmental footprint, but you should not overlook the health benefits of riding a bicycle. Whether you are riding for fun or riding to work every day, a bicycle will rapidly improve your health and fitness, helping with everything from cardio to keeping off excess weight.
Cycling is better for your joints than running, so you can get all of the benefits of regular exercise without risking your joint health. Cycling is also great for helping you to exercise and get fit without the need to set aside dedicated exercise time in your week, as you’ll be able to get where you need to go at the same time as raising your heartrate and doing that cardio.
As well as physical benefits, regular exercise and fresh air also help to improve your mental wellbeing. Exercise offers many benefits for your mental health, including improving your self-esteem and boosting your mood. So just like walking wherever you can, cycling will help you to improve your overall wellbeing.
Get in Touch with Nature
If you live in the UK, you can take advantage of an ever-evolving network of cycling routes. Dedicated cycling routes across the country enable you to travel by bicycle while avoiding busy and congested roads.
In using scenic cycling routes, you will encounter areas of the country that you might otherwise never see. As you’re moving slowly, you’ll be able to see the wildlife and scenery that you would miss if you were driving a car. If you enjoy being out in nature and seeing everything that it has to offer, a bicycle is a worthwhile investment!
Anyone serious about minimising their environmental impact should seriously consider investing in a bike. Not only will you reduce your emissions, but you will also improve your physical health, reduce your outgoings, and more, in the process.
Thanks to Zoe for contributing this piece!
For more ideas on how to be more eco-friendly, check out these eco-friendly gardening tips, natural alternatives to household cleaning products, and how to make your everyday lifestyle greener.