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The Environmental Benefits of Cycling

Since we benefit so much from Mother Nature, we ought to give back too.

Cycling is the new green.

In this era, a number of factors can contribute to the increased consumption of fuel such as high car demand. With the exception of climate and weather, all of these influences can be attributed directly to the driver.

While the government is working toward higher fuel economy, the US remains to be one of the leading consumers of fuel. In an analysis by the International Council on Clean Transportation, light trucks have higher sales in the American market, almost twice the number of the European Union, as Americans opt to buy bigger cars like sports utility vehicles (SUVs).

And that’s just for fuel consumption! The amounts of scrap metal and plastic waste haven’t been accounted for yet. While automobile manufacturers are encouraged to comply with better fuel efficiency standards, the mere manufacture of cars already produces 1.2 billion cubic yards of polluted air and millions of tons of solid waste yearly.

Traveling via bicycle is the cleanest form of commute, aside from walking. A bike uses no fuel and, compared to a car, it needs less energy and materials to form.

Not convinced yet? Here are the top six reasons you should join the bike revolution:

Fighting climate change

Yet the most prominent environmental advantage of cycling over other modes of transportation is the lack of an engine.

Burning fuel in the process known as combustion produces carbon dioxide, a well-known greenhouse gas. You may recall from your grade school science class that greenhouse gases trap heat in the atmosphere, raising the temperature of our planet.

Global warming (or “climate change”) causes ice in the poles to melt, which then result to higher sea levels and depletion of resources for animals that inhabit the glaciers.

Since a bike has no engine and is powered solely by pedaling, the only sources of CO2 emission is human respiration. A passenger car produces approximately 0.96 lb per mile traveled, while a bike produces only 0.074 lb. That’s roughly a tenth!

Quieter streets

Air and waste pollution are not the only types of pollution that disrupt the quality of life. We may be used to the din of electrical appliances and traffic, but sometimes it becomes too much to bear. Noise pollution comprises whatever exceeds the level of noise you are used to, such as the insistent honking of a car horn or a loud argument in the street below your apartment. Most of the time, noise pollution in urban places arises from traffic because of poor urban planning and too many cars on the road.

Bikes are quieter alternatives to cars (plus, they don’t use boisterous horns!) that don’t crowd the street.

Less traffic

Some of the most progressive cities in the world have dedicated bike lanes in their highways to encourage citizens to ride bikes, as well as to ensure their safety. When people demand wider roads and more flyovers,  this only prods people to buy more cars.

Eventually, these structures won’t be able to handle the new increase in the number of cars, and the cycle repeats. The best way to solve the traffic problem is to introduce well-designed bike lanes and to improve public transportation systems.

More space

By space, we mean land that needs to be cleared to make way for parking lots. More cars means more parking space. And this leads to the destruction of the environment. Chopping down trees is just one of its detrimental consequences.

On the other hand, bikes need only small spaces for parking, which can even be conveniently integrated into sidewalks, provided there is enough space.

Better for short trips

Some people are not aware that short car trips actually waste fuel. Apparently, according to a study by the University of North Carolina Highway Safety Research Center, sixty percent of the pollutants emitted by cars were produced during the first few miles of travel.

Bikes are perfect for short-distance transit. With the bikeshare system, people have another option for public transportation that is much more environmental-friendly.

Countless health benefits

We believe that a healthy environment is constituted by healthy people. While we have mentioned many times that cycling is great for improving your physical fitness, it also does wonders for emotional and mental health.

Cycling helps improve posture and balance, cardiovascular endurance, strength, flexibility, and overall mood.

It also keeps your wallet healthy, especially with today’s increasing gas prices.

Many of our choices have direct effects on the environment; our mode of travel is one of them. Since we benefit so much from Mother Nature, we ought to give back too.

Happy biking!

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