I’m sure there must be hundreds of posts on the internet about this subject. I wouldn’t know; I’m not obsessive enough about cycling to search them out.
However, having just got back from picking my bike up from the shop, it seems an appropriate time to mention my reasons for cycling.
Yes, speed. Especially in city traffic, bicycles are often faster than driving. I would never claim that they are faster over long distances, but for day-to-day use, the bicycle wins.
Most people assume that cars are very convenient. You can go where you want, when you want, in any weather, without waiting for busses or relying on someone else’s schedule.
What people forget to take into account is the side issues.
If you have a car you need to find somewhere to park it – and around my house that might mean parking several streets away from your destination.
My bike lives in the house. There are bike racks basically everywhere I would ever need to go.
If you have a car you have to stop and refuel, which means you need to keep an eye on where all the petrol stations are, and how far down your tank is.
My bike never runs out of fuel.
Oh, the biggie. I mentioned that I’d just picked my bike up from the shop. The air intake valve on one of the tyres had sprung a leak, and one of the brake cables was a little rusty. I could have done it myself, but it would take me longer than it was worth.
Here’s what I spent:
- New inner tube: £5.99
- New brake cable: £2.50
The approximate equivalent prices for a Ford Fiesta, based on five minutes with google and no knowledge of car mechanics:
- New tyre: £50-60
- New brake cable: £20
I also spent about £16 on new brake pads this year – equivalent car price £60.
So, including labour costs (which I could have avoided if I could be bothered), I’ve spent around £40 on my bike since January. The same things on a car would have cost around £130 plus labour. And then there is the petrol, tax, insurance, MOT…
I don’t ever go to the gym to exercise (Kempo happens in a gym, but I’m talking about using running machines and so on).
I commute to work on my bike, and that keeps me active. It’s a good job, too, because I don’t have time to go to the gym!
5. Environmentally Friendly
I shouldn’t have to explain this one.
Yes, the bike has to be manufactured, which means it’s worse than walking, but anyone who won’t agree that cycling is better than using a car needs to learn a little more about how the internal combustion engine works.
I’m not claiming that riding a bike is all sunshine and roses. There are days when I would like some kind of invisible force field to protect me from the weather, and there is the danger of being run over (which, fortunately, is not a large danger as long as you pay attention to the world around you).
But, overall, bikes definitely win.
Where do you fall in the great car vs bike debate?