Bodacious Bicycling Benefits
Bicycling benefits your environment. A bicycle requires far fewer resources to produce than a car, so its impact on the environment is less right from the get-go. And bicycling produces no emissions, leading to cleaner air. It's been shown that 40% of automobile trips are within two miles of home, and that 60% of pollution from emissions happens in the first few minutes, when the engine is cold. In fact, a four-mile trip by bicycle avoids 15 pounds of pollutants.
Bicycling benefits your economy. Obviously, a bicycle costs much less than a car to buy and maintain, and there is no gas to buy -- an expense that just keeps going up with a car. Bicycling can cut health care costs, as the exercise leads to greater fitness. A study has shown that an obese person averages up to $1500 more in medical costs per year than a fit person. Fitness also reduces the need for Medicare and Medicaid payments, thus saving taxpayer dollars.
Bicycling benefits your health. In 2000, 16.6% of all deaths were due to obesity, a figure roughly equal to those caused by cigarette smoking. Bicycling helps you lose weight and improve cardiovascular fitness, reducing the risk of heart disease and stroke. The improved circulation reduces aches and pains, and the joint movement (without the pounding produced by running) reduces the risk of arthritis. You'll develop a stronger immune system to fight off illness. And bicycling reduces the blood level of cortisol, which has been associated with the mysterious Syndrome X -- a cluster of conditions and symptoms including heart disease, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, insulin resistance, and diabetes.