What are the main reasons why people commute to work on their bikes? Because not using a car reduces emissions and regular physical exercise has many health benefits, right? Wrong. Ask your colleagues why they commute and you might be surprised about the answers you get. Or better yet, ask yourself why you do it or what would it take for you to start commuting.
But the numbers are so convincing!
Studies consistently show notable health benefits of regular cycling. The latest one suggests that it cuts the risk of cancer by 45 %, the risk of heart disease by 45%, and the risk of death from any other health-related cause by 41%. That’s impressive for such a simple thing as riding a bike. Will this be enough for you to actually change your habits?
How about this: the average person commuting 6,4 km (4 mi) by car to work every day would save 0,5 tonnes of CO2 from their carbon footprint every year, by switching to cycling. Doesn’t that sound like a lot? Unfortunately, there are two problems: humans are wired to conserve energy (by not moving their body, for example) and make decision based on personal not societal benefit. So, while these numbers might make a change for the very conscientious, most will just shrug them off.
So why do we do it?
If you ask your friends or look on the internet, most of the reasons to commute via a bike have very little to do with pollution and disease. These are some of the most frequent ones.
I get to listen to two hours of my favourite music every day
It’s safer than anti-depressants and it elevates mood even better
There’s no idling in traffic or road rage, unless everyone starts doing it
I get strong and fit without having to go to the gym
I save money by not buying gas
It’s my lifestyle
For me it has always been pretty clear. Riding my bike in Prague is faster than public transport plus I own two bikes and zero cars. How about you, what’s your reason?