Who needs a car when you’ve got a bike? Gas prices are climbing and they’re expected to reach $5 per gallon or more. That’s just crazy. And I’m sure you’ve heard of another little thing that’s going around called global warming. What’s going on with our environment is just crazy too. So lock up your cars and do some stretches. You’re about to be schooled in how you can change your life by simply busting out your trusty bicycle.

You’ve most likely seen someone on campus biking or skateboarding around (heck, I live in the snowiest city of the US and I still see kids biking in blizzards). Maybe you’ve made fun of them for taking up the road or for having a goofy looking bike. Perhaps you’ve mocked their helmet hair or saw them get almost hit by a bus and had a mini heart attack—and don’t let this turn you off to bike riding; only the bikers not paying attention get in the way of a bus (crazies!). Laugh all you want because those foot pedalers are saving green in more ways than one.

Bike riding is good for you and the environment. You’ve likely heard all this before. Oh, I can build some muscles if I ride my bike for half an hour today. I won’t pollute the earth if I leave behind my car for this shopping trip. You think you can’t really make a difference. You think biking won’t really make a difference in your life. Err, wrong!

For starters, riding a bike can make a test day tolerable. By cycling to class on a fine morning, your stress will noticeably diminish. And if you keep this up every day for the week, your anxiety and any depression you feel will greatly reduce. It gives you time to take in nature—or, you know, all the buildings between your apartment and campus—clear your head, take in fresh air and relax. So, really, a bike ride is like taking a mini mental health day.

By riding your bike to class, you will actually make time to exercise. It can be hard to find time to go to the gym or sign up for a workout type elective. Between homework, internships or jobs, poor campus food and a lot of your day spent sitting behind a desk, those pounds will add on without you even noticing. Biking will give you a chance to tone up your legs, get in the cardio, increase your mobility, and just make you feel better about yourself.

If you’re concerned about leaving a carbon footprint, bike riding can haul that worry away. Not only will your car not be sputtering out harmful pollutants, you’ll also use less gas overall, which is a definite benefit with the world’s problems right now. With a four mile trip, you save us all 15 pounds of pollutants. Imagine if you and everyone you knew contributed to that! Also, instead of needing new roads and driving routes, you can take a scenic route and stick to the sidewalk, helping to save materials and keep nature as it should be—without a highway cutting through it. Plus, supplies for bikes don’t require the deforestation necessary for rubber plants and bio-fuels used in other transportation methods (aka the car).

Biking can also become a great way to meet new people and enhance existing relationships. Some people don’t like to drive to a store alone. So get them to bike with you instead. Believe it or not, just seeing you bike ride every day will inspire your neighbors and others to lower their environmental impact and work out on their way to work or school. You’ll be like a modern day gang…without the bandanas and violence.

And if that wasn’t enough to convince you, think of all the traffic you can avoid, alternate routes you can take, animals you can save (especially if you’re not a good driver), and the excuse to wear tight biking shorts without feeling like a total weirdo.

Oh, yeah, and it’s the third most popular activity in England, so if you want to pick up a cute Brit, biking could break the ice!


I’m reading A History of Western Art