We are all aware that many people love to use bikes instead of public transport or their own cars for their daily commute. Who wouldn’t, right? Considering the many health and green benefits a biking habit promotes, it’s a great option when making your way around the city.
Biking is not easy. But do you ever wonder how people manage to keep up with their biking habit? And why many can’t seem to last for a week?
In this article, we are going to teach you some surefire ways on how you can develop a biking habit.
But before that…
What’s stopping you from riding a bike?
There are several reasons why many Americans refuse to continue riding their bikes to work, school or any other places they go to. According to several surveys, people refuse to ride their bikes due to the fear caused by traffic.
Braving the heavy traffic is not easy. The probability of getting hit or caught in a vehicular accident is the top reason why people are losing their biking habit. A survey derived from Portland City, where 60% of the 16,000 participants admitted that they would want to ride a bike but are afraid to do so due to the fact that they might get hit by cars or trucks, proves that this is the biggest obstacle in maintaining biking habits — totally factual, right? Safety is still a major factor for everyone, of course.
Another reason why people break their biking habits is the unavailability of functioning bikes. Only 52% of Americans reported that they have functioning and sturdy bikes available at home. And there’s really no significant push from the government that promotes the biking lifestyle.
On the other hand, biking is highly encouraged in Japan, Korea, and France. They have lots of areas where you will find bikes for rent. These are locked and can be accessed by using debit/cash cards or inserting money in a POS. Quite convenient, especially if you are just new to the community and would want to explore the place.
Lastly, biking is popularly deemed as a means for recreational, social, and leisure activities. Because of this point of view, many only use their bikes to run errands. Buying at the nearest convenience store, or traveling within the neighborhood to visit a house or a park once in a while rarely forms a lasting biking habit. Biking as a form of everyday commute just comes third, according to a survey.
Combining these facts, it’s easy to see why many people find it hard to develop a biking habit.
How will you keep yourself on the tracks with your bike?
Everyone have their own issues with keeping up with something — either dieting, sleeping early, avoiding anxiety, overworking and so on. Yep, that’s why New Year resolutions never work! Fortunately, every single one of these issues had their own solutions too!
If you find it hard to develop a lasting biking habit, we have a solution. And it’s not rocket science. Everyone can do this as long as they are willing to put in the time and effort.
You can start by taking it slow. Every habit needs to start in a gradual manner. Riding a bike since you are a kid, don’t give you an excuse to ride like a maniac when riding your bike to work! Start your day with riding your bike at a nice, manageable pace — feel the air, enjoy the scenery while rolling down the hill, and chill. Relaxing while riding can help you focus more, enhancing your senses and reflexes while on the road.
Another solution is staying safe by following traffic rules and having the right bike accessories like lights and a bike helmet. being careful and focused decreases your probability of getting into accidents.
A good solution to the safety issue is the addition of bike lanes on our major roads. We can spare the expressways, but major roads must not just be accessible to bikers, they must also be friendly and safe. Adding stoplights in small streets can also greatly help. Let’s hope the government will eventually catch up on putting up the necessary infrastructures for safe biking.
Plan your routine.
They say it takes 21 days to form a habit. Biking for 21 straight days sounds tiring, isn’t it? It is. That’s why you have to start slow as we have talked about previously.
Here’s a good routine that you can try:
Start with a free route tour after work, pretty much like a warm-up, for at least 30-60 minutes in light gear. Then, try to relax the next day.
Keep doing the above routine for a week. When you start getting comfortable, try riding to and from work. Make sure to enjoy the scenery, the cool breeze, and the hype of moving forward uphill and downhill. Feel the rush! Use at least one to two days of your week to do leg exercises including swimming, running, jogging or just basic leg exercises if you don’t feel like leaving home to condition your legs. And then relax — always take a break during the week to avoid burn out.
Consistency, not speed, is key to developing a lasting biking habit.
Why start developing your biking habits now?
In a world where everyone craves for innovation — unmanned vehicles, hands-free driving (looking at you Tesla), etc. — riding a bike is one thing it can never throw away. Why? Because biking will give you lots of health benefits such as losing weight, better blood pressure, and release of body toxins through sweat. Biking is also carbon-free, making our environment safer. Biking contributes a lot to the well-being of the society we live in.
Imagine saving your money while getting fitter because you chose to ride your bike instead of Uber?
Imagine the places you have been missing because you are too busy texting or Facebooking while riding the subway or bus?
Developing a biking habit that lasts can be hard at first but with the right mindset and routine, you can definitely ride your bike more often than usual. And benefit a lot from it — physically, mentally and financially!
Additional resource: International Bicycle Fund – a nonprofit that promotes bicycle transportation, responsible tourism and understanding worldwide.