Written by Colton Lowry, ESLLC 2015-2016
As kids we all remember going on those weekend camping trips to the mountains, right? The cool breeze fluttered through the aspen and pine trees as we sat on the edge of the lake exploring nature with our siblings. The reflection of the mountain tops glistened off of the rich green water, but if you looked hard enough you could see the fish playing underneath the surface. Mountain lakes like this are in danger of deteriorating; you can help by reducing your carbon dioxide footprint.
Transportation is the second largest CO2 producing factor for families. Whether we are zipping around town on a Sunday afternoon or stuck in a traffic jam on I-25 that car is working to produce 27% of your household’s carbon-dioxide emissions. As more carbon dioxide emissions are released into the atmosphere, the earth slowly becomes warmer which affects the small ecosystems of those mountain lakes that we all want to take our future kids to.
I’m not saying that it is practical for everyone to sell their car and buy a road bike, but buying a bicycle as a second mode of transportation is a great way to decrease your CO2 footprint. You don’t have to bike everywhere, but you can bike to work every day or to the store when you forget that gallon of milk
Bikes can help save you money. Cars require a monthly insurance bill and car payment. With that one month’s payment put towards owning a car you are able to buy a bike, and most bikes last just as long if not longer than cars. The maintenance cost of a car for a single oil change is most likely enough money to maintain a bike for a whole year. Even though gas prices have decreased since last year I would personally love to have an extra $360 in my pocket every month. The only maintenance that a bicycle requires is the additional tune-up which could easily be reduced in price when you learn how to do it yourself, and the ever so often tube ($5) and tire ($30). You could also fit numerous bikes in the same lot of space designated for a car. This means paying little to no parking for your car while you commute on your way to work. If the whole city also commuted on a bike taxes would be likely to decrease since a 30 pound bike does a lot less damage to the road than a 2000 pound hunk of rolling metal. There are studies on studies which show that your emotional well-being is correlated to your monetary income and when you have more money that is not obligated towards bills.
There are many other benefits to riding bikes as well, one of which we can all enjoy. Most bike commuters report losing between 15 and 20 pounds without changing their regular diet in the first year after switching to a healthier mode of transportation. In one hour of brisk bicycling you can easily burn up to 600 calories.
Additionally, no one has enough time. Depending on the traffic and where you are located compared to your work, biking may end up saving you time. This means you can wake up later and get more sleep, or you can start making an attempt to eat that morning breakfast that you know you should.
Most commuters who use bicycles as their mode of transport also tend to spend their money in local businesses when buying parts for their bikes. This benefits the local economy because for every $100 spent locally $48 is recirculated versus only $13.80 when spent in non-local businesses. The increase in money put into local economy is great for cities and is a far better option than ordering online parts from manufactures across the ocean. Not only are you benefitting yourself but also your local community.
As well as being more physically fit bicycle commuters tend to be healthier, get sick less often, and are more productive than their car traveling counterparts. That means that your boss at work will start to like you more and start considering you for that raise. Don’t forget that with all of those sick days that you aren’t taking you can make extra time to make it up to the mountain lake with all of your friends next weekend. So get out there and buy yourself a bicycle and start making yourself better while saving the world at the same time.