When you think about how you’re going to get from one place to another, what do you think of? Do you imagine climbing in your car and zipping down the street? Maybe you walk everywhere and occasionally use public transportation. How many of you think about riding your bike as part of your commute?
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, only 0.6% of Americans commute to work by bicycle. As someone who’s lived in Albany, New York for most of her life, it’s easy for me to see why the number is so low. The biggest reason? The winters are brutal. The average temperature is only 22 degrees Fahrenheit, and on average, the city sees about 18 inches of snow. I certainly don’t want to ride my bike through that.
However, with the arrival of warmer temperatures, biking to work seems to be a much more logical choice. So much so that earlier this week, I actually decided to try it. Luckily, I only live about a mile from my job, and so the ride seemed like it would be easy. It turns out that the land I thought was flat is actually slightly uphill. I made it to work, only slightly out of breath. Of course, what goes up, must come down, and so the ride home was much easier.
My co-workers were supportive, but looked at me as if I were crazy. They’re supportive because they know that there’s plenty of benefits of biking to work. These include physical health benefits such as helping with cardiovascular and aerobic fitness, as well as mental health benefits such as reducing anxiety and alleviating depression.
They probably think I’m crazy because they worry about my safety. However, only 2% of the total people killed and injured in vehicle accidents in 2015 were cyclists. There’s even a 2008 study from the University of New South Wales that claims that if more people commute by bicycle, less cyclists will be injured, as motorists will become more mindful of sharing the road.
Overall, I enjoyed riding my bike to work and hope to do it again. I even hope that some of you may choose to join me.