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


English: Capital Bikeshare pick up near Pentag...

English: Capital Bikeshare pick up near Pentagon City Metro St, Pentagon City, Arlington, VA (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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.


See Biking for Beginners: 10 ways to overcome fears of cycling in the city


See Biking for Beginners: Selecting the Right Bike


2.             Start cycling on the weekend, map out a route


Homepage in Chicago Bike Map app, v0.5

Homepage in Chicago Bike Map app, v0.5 (Photo credit: Steven Vance)

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


English: Looking northwest towards Broadway at...

English: Looking northwest towards Broadway at bike parking structure on north side of East 17th Street, Manhattan on a sunny midday (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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


Errand Ride

Errand Ride (Photo credit: russteaches)

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


'This one runs on fat & saves you money' by Pe...

‘This one runs on fat & saves you money’ by Peter Drew of Adelaide (Photo credit: carltonreid)

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.