5 easy ways to integrate cycling into your daily life
Given cycling’s health, environmental, and economic advantages, many people would like to adopt cycling as a daily activity. While it may seem impossible at first, believe me if I did it, anybody can. Read my personal story of how my bike changed my life.
Following are a few of the tips that helped me reach my goal of making my bike—and not my car—my primary mode of transportation.
1. Become a member if your city has a bikeshare program
A growing number of cities are establishing bikeshare programs. If your city has one, it is often inexpensive or free to join. If you do not own a bicycle, bikeshares are a great way to get used to cycling before you spend a lot of money on a new or used bike. You may find that you love cycling—as I did—or realize that it is not for you before you make a significant investment.
2. Start cycling on the weekend, map out a route
Weekends and less busy times are great ways to scout new routes. Whether you plan to ride to work a few times a week or ride to mass transit, it is a good idea to ride the routes a couple of times on the weekends first. This will increase your comfort level and allow you to focus on traffic and other riders on the weekdays. There are several websites and free apps that show you bike routes, maps, etc. to help map out the best way to get to and from your destination.
3. Ride your bike to the subway or bus station once or twice per week
Cycling all the way to work may not be realistic or even possible for a beginner, given your particular circumstances. A good idea is to start slow, by riding your bicycle to a bus stop or subway station close to home and then riding mass transit to work. You can ride to stations further from home and closer to work as you get more comfortable.
4. Run two errands on your bike every week
If riding to work is not realistic, or if you want to add an extra challenge, run two errands close to home on your bike every week. Go to the bank; get pet food; run for coffee; go to the gym. The more you ride, the more confident you will feel and the more you will want to ride.
5. Keep track of the money you save and reward yourself when you reach a goal
Cycling saves money in gas, parking, mass transit fares, and taxis. You can keep track of the money you save every month by cycling and use it when you accomplish a goal like riding to work 10 times. Make sure not reward yourself with a Montecristo and a brownie; opt for a healthy reward like a massage, cycling gear, skinny clothes, or a manicure.