The humble bicycle has been around for over 200 years – and it has been reliably getting people from Point A to Point B since its creation. Actually, biking is one of my all-time favorite vehicles to use (outside of investment vehicles, that is).
It’s reliable, relatively fast, and extremely low cost. What’s not to like?
Well, there are a few negative things about biking that I would love to fix. But sadly, I don’t think that is possible (yet… I’m looking at you and your driverless cars Elon).
Before you consider dusting off (or going out and buying) a bike to pedaling yourself from place to place, be sure to consider all of the pros and cons.
The Pros of Biking Everywhere
Low cost is an obvious, huge benefit of biking everywhere.
Bikes are way, way cheaper than cars. And, over time, they are usually cheaper than most forms of public transport as well.
Besides the up-front cost of purchasing a bike, which can range from $100 to insane amounts of money ($2,000+), there are pretty minimal expenses. You have to take it to the repair shop now and then, but I guarantee you your bill from the bike repair shop will be less than one from an auto mechanic!
Not to mention, when compared to a car, you can also avoid the car insurance premiums, gas to fill up your tank, costs to park, and more.
Oh, and if you’re in the market for a new bike, buying one on a premium credit card could help you cover some of the expense (in the form of a sign-up bonus).
Good Form of Exercise
Not only is biking cheap, but it’s great exercise! Who needs the gym when you can feel the wind against your face as you’re cruising around outside?
Biking is a superior form of exercise for a few reasons:
- It can replace the need for a gym membership – saving you even more money.
- It’s killing two birds with one stone – you can get a good workout in while also getting where you need to go!
I have to throw this one in there – biking is just fun.
It gets the adrenaline flowing and gets you outside. Enjoy it if you can!
Last, but certainly not least, biking is friendly on the environment.
A bike – believe it or not – is manually powered!
Oh, you knew that? Right. It is pretty obvious.
But this obvious fact is a huge pro for our environment. I’m no scientist, but I’m pretty sure less gas-guzzling cars on the road means less carbon emissions in our atmosphere. I think that’s a good thing…
The Cons of Biking Everywhere
Takes Some Effort
Ah, the double-edged sword of exercise: effort.
Yes, traditional biking does take effort. You have to move your feet and pedal. Going up a hill is harder. Going down a hill is easier. You know the drill.
Would it be great to be able to exercise without exerting effort? Sure. But for now, you have to sign up for the effort in order to get the reward of exercising.
Can Take a Toll on Personal Hygiene
Unfortunately, another side effect of effort and exercise is sweat.
Obviously, when you work out and sweat you can sometimes, uh, smell. Happens to everyone. Don’t sweat it.
When you’re on a leisurely bike ride in cool, 60-degree weather this might not be an issue. That said, if you’re traversing a few miles to work in 80-degree heat, it definitely will be.
That is why biking usually takes a little more planning and most people like the option to shower when they reach their destination.
There is no AC on a bike, the windows are always down.
It Can Be Dangerous
Wear a helmet while biking!
Alright, with that public safety announcement out of the way, I’m bringing it back to Elon Musk. Driverless cars would solve a lot of problems. For drivers and also for bikers. In theory, the risk of getting hit while biking on the side of the road could decrease dramatically when driverless cars become mainstream.
Until then, there are human drivers in those cars. Human drivers make mistakes, and those mistakes can (severely) impact nearby bikers in some circumstances.
If your only option is to bike on busy roads, the danger of that prospect might be big enough to outweigh all the benefits of biking.
Summary: The Pros and Cons of Biking Everywhere
Obviously, biking everywhere is not possible for everyone all the time. But it does have some great benefits to consider.
It’s cheap, a good form of exercise, fun, and good for the environment. If those pros outweigh the cons (effort, hygiene, and danger), then biking could be a great option for you.
Kevin runs the personal finance website Just Start Investing, where he focuses on making investing easy. Just Start Investing has been featured on Business Insider, Forbes, and US News & World Report, among other major publications for his easy-to-follow writing. Check out Just Start Investing to learn the simple strategies to start investing today, as well as ways to optimize your credit cards, banking, and budget.