Biking to work is good for your mind, body and wallet. And it's fun. How easy is it to make the transition?

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Biking to work is good for your mind, body and wallet. And it’s fun!

One of  the most obvious reasons to bike is, of course, money savings. You might need to carry along some extra snacks, but the cost of snacks doesn’t compare to the price of a full tank of gas. Chances are, you already have clothes for layering, so costs for “gear” shouldn’t add up to much. And clothing lasts longer than gas anyway, that windbreaker will still be useful next year, unlike last week’s gas.

Depending on where you live, cycling to work might require a slight change in schedule. If I drive to work (about 7 miles) I can leave 15-20 minutes before work in our rural area. If I bike to work, I usually leave home 25-30 minutes before work. Obviously, this varies by person and route, but it shouldn’t require a massive rearrangement.  Or, if it does, the time outside, and exercise, could make the longer ride worth it. You may save time by cycling instead of taking public transport, but public transport provides an excellent back-up on days with especially bad weather.

A lot of potential bike commuters fear that they don’t have enough “gear” to ride to work, or that you will get sweaty and disheveled. As for the gear, you can ride in your normal clothes. On hot days, maybe bring a spare shirt to change into. If it’s raining, fenders and a raincoat will do the trick. It’s not about racing, it’s about functionality. A spare comb or brush in your purse or panniers, or at your office, will take care of any helmet hair issues. Some cities are more bike friendly than others, but the more people riding bikes, the better for all.

There are many resources online to get started commuting and running errands by bicycle. It is a change of habit, but once you get the hang of new habits, it becomes natural.

Instead of worrying about “working out,” you can take care of your commute and exercise in one pass. There is plenty of evidence that biking to work can offset our sedentary lifestyle  and helps to keep us healthy. Many workplaces are beginning to encourage biking to work, for this very reason.

It feels good to ride to work and get the day started and finished with some activity. Even if work requires a good deal of sitting relatively still, a bike ride in the morning can wake you up better than coffee alone.