How Cycling Can Save You Money, Improve Your Health, and Help the Environment
The benefits of cycling are multifaceted. This sport can help you stay fit while fostering your social life, and it’s easier on your body than many other forms of exercise.
But pedaling does more than give you a social outlet for comfortable exercise. It can also bring big savings to your wallet, noticeable boosts to your health, and substantial benefits to the environment.
As a cyclist for more than 35 years, Coach Darryl MacKenzie has seen many of these benefits first-hand. Here are four of the biggest savings — personal and otherwise — he’s seen from pedaling for so long.
Cycling Lowers Your Commuting Costs
When it comes to weighing the costs of driving vs. pedaling, there’s simply no comparison. The more you make cycling your dominant form of commuting, the more you stand to save.
Consider a few of the average costs involved in owning a vehicle:
- Vehicle insurance: $1,575 per year or $131.25 per month
- Gas, other fuel and motor oil: $1,568 per year or $130.67 per month
- Maintenance and repairs: $879 per year or $73.25 per month
- Vehicle finance charges: $258 per year or $21.50 per month
- Annual depreciation: varies by type and age of vehicle
Meanwhile, a bicycle and any necessary equipment may run you around $1,000 out of pocket, plus a few hundred dollars per year in maintenance costs. Even if you can’t forego buying a vehicle, you’ll still benefit from saving on gas, vehicle maintenance and depreciation by pedaling more and driving less.
Some employers even offer monetary incentives for pedaling to work rather than driving a car. And, if you often drive during rush hour, riding a bike might even save you time by helping you avoid getting stuck in traffic.
Cycling Can Reduce Your Insurance and Health Care Costs
The monetary benefits of cycling go far beyond commuting costs to touch several other areas of your financial life.
We already noted how trading a car for a bike could eliminate auto insurance premiums for at least one vehicle you own. But, even if you don’t get rid of a car, you could still see your rates drop if you significantly reduce your annual mileage. Many insurers offer lower rates to drivers who drive less than 7,500 or 10,000 miles a year, for instance.
Cycling can save you even more, though. Thanks to the health benefits of pedaling, which we’ll explore below, you might even see reduced life insurance and health care costs. Numerous studies have pointed out that inactive people tend to spend more on health care than those who are active. Likewise, life insurance underwriting often involves a medical exam, and the healthier you are, the better your rates will be.
Another hidden cost benefit of cycling? You might be able to cut the gym membership out of your monthly budget.
Cycling Preserves Your Health
Cycling saves more than your wallet; it can also save your health. In Coach Darryl’s experience and research, he’s found numerous positive health outcomes associated with pedaling regularly:
- Increased cardiovascular fitness
- Reduced stress, anxiety and depression
- Improved posture and coordination
- Increased muscle strength and flexibility
- Enhanced joint mobility
- Lower body fat
All in all, these outcomes can lead to greater health and well-being. In many cases, they could increase your chances of staying mentally healthy and living longer.
Cycling Helps Save the Environment
It’s no secret that transportation is a major contributing factor in climate change and global warming. Carbon dioxide emissions are the primary culprit, and there is a global effort to reduce reliance on fossil fuels in order to bring down those emissions.
Cycling offers a tangible way for everyday people to contribute to these efforts without having to buy a fancy electric car right away. One U.K. study found that simply choosing a bike instead of a car for regular short trips could reduce one person’s emissions by 75%.
If more people chose pedaling for simple errands or short commutes to work, that 75% reduction could add up to a big environmental impact.
Start Saving by Cycling Today
Cycling offers a wide range of benefits that go beyond the immediately obvious ones. By choosing to pedal a little more every week, you could reduce expenses, boost your long-term health prospects, and join the fight against climate change.
Clearly, you have a lot to gain by cycling. The real question is, what have you got to lose?
When you start cycling more, you might worry about getting your bike stolen. But did you know that bike theft is often covered by your home or renters insurance policy? Learn more about how this works in our article on insurance questions for cyclists.
Check out Coach Darryl’s website for more of his insights.
Photo by Infrarate.com on Unsplash