These days when someone encourages you to give up driving in favor of riding a bicycle, they usually bathe their argument in rhetoric about breaking dependence on foreign oil and stopping global climate change.
Worthy arguments. Unfortunately, people are rarely motivated by moralistic calls to action. Plus, your individual choice not to drive a car has about zero effect on global climate change or our dependence on oil.
Does that mean that any attempt to talk a driver into riding a bike is futile? Not at all.
Odds are, if you commute to school or work in a car, you spend maybe $100 a month on gasoline. For those of us who are just scraping by, this is $100 that could be spent on weaning ourselves off a Ramen noodle diet and onto something more nutritious.
Even if you’re not scraping by, this is money that could be saved or spent on recreational activities. This is money you could spend on seeing that special place you’ve read about in books but never seen in person.
This doesn’t even include the $80 you would save by not having to purchase a parking pass.
Have you ever given yourself plenty of time to make it to your first lecture of the day only to stroll into class late because an overflowing parking lot stood between you and a short leisurely walk to English class? Bicycle commuters are blissfully free of the anxiety caused by looking for a parking spot. In fact, bicycle commuters are the royalty of the parking world. They ride right through the parking lot and stop for free only a couple paces from the doors of the building.
Of course, car commuters are thinking that this is all too good to be true. Bicycle commuting must be a really draining experience reserved for social deviants with too many DUI’s. Bicycle commuters know better.
Riding your bike to work and school is not only good for your wallet, it’s also good for your physical and psychological well being. If you don’t have time for the gym you can convert the time you would spend stuck in traffic muttering profanities at the SUV driver in front of you and listening to some awful radio show into a healthful workout. You can invigorate your body and mind with some good old-fashioned man-powered locomotion.
While riding in winter poses some challenges, they are not as big of a deal as you’d think. All you need are some good tires, warm clothes and gloves; the heat your body generates while pedaling will take care of the rest.
So hop on a bike, wake up your body and give your wallet a rest. You’ll feel much better. It’s time to put those bicycle lanes surrounding UVU to good use.