Did you know that around 80% of New Years resolutions are given up on by February? And here we are, it’s mid-February, it’s cold, and we’re probably not feeling great about letting our resolutions slide (don’t worry – you are not alone!). If I had to guess what your resolutions are, I’d say they’re probably the same as mine: get fit, shed a few inches, and save money. How close did I get? What a lot of us seem to forget is that New Years resolutions are for the new year – they don’t just happen overnight. In the same way that Rome wasn’t built in a day, your resolutions should
take you a little bit longer to achieve. You’ve got a whole year, after all.
In hopes of re-inspiring you to achieve your goals, here are some ideas to consider about getting back on track to improve your health, your physique, and your savings account with the most beautiful and simple workout machine: the bicycle.
Cycling is an excellent form of exercise. Cycling has got your cardio, endurance, and strength training all-in-one. Your largest muscles, your glutes and quads, do most of the work, and your core and arms still get a workout by keeping you upright and balanced. Even at a light, easy pace, cycling is a great way to get your heart rate up and your joints moving. Cycling is a great low-impact form of exercise for individuals with joint or muscle pain.
If you have a bike but have never really been ‘into it’, you could challenge yourself by making time to go for a short bike ride around your neighborhood. Even if you don’t have a destination other than home, you may find that you are more inclined to take your bike out for a spin on the next sunny day. Hopefully your initial ride is enough positive reinforcement to assist you on your journey to being more active and fit this year.
Once you’re more comfortable riding your bike around for fun and exercise, why not start making your bike work a little harder for you? Instead of always driving to that grocery store 5 minutes down the road, could you bike it? 95% of all car trips made in North America are less than 30km away. While this may be a herculean bike ride for a beginner, it’s not unreasonable to suggest making the smaller trips (between 1 and 10km) with your bike. This way, you get your workout in during your commute to the store or work, making it a double duty task! That’s what we like to call efficiency.
You’ve started riding your bike, and you’re feeling like it’s not as scary as it used to be. You’re getting more confident in your abilities, maybe you’ve biked to the store a few times already, and you’re probably already reaping the benefits of a more active lifestyle, but have you considered what other benefits a bicycle can bring to your life? While you’re likely not looking to swap your car for your bike just yet, it may be a good time to consider your other resolution: saving money. By swapping just a few trips in your car for a trip on your bike, the stress on your wallet and the environment is decreased.
Some food for thought: owning a car in Canada in 2023 costs, on average, around $1,077/month. This figure includes gas, maintenance, insurance, and parking costs, but also includes the costs that don’t normally get taken into account, like value depreciation. If you already own a bicycle, the only costs you’ll need to account for is maintenance and parts. You probably already own an air pump and (hopefully) a helmet, so your initial costs of cycling is virtually $0. Bikes do still need maintenance though, usually a tune up in the springtime after sitting for the winter is a good time to do so. Maintenance by a professional bike mechanic can cost anywhere from $50 to $200 depending on the work to be done. This once- or twice-yearly cost in comparison to the cost of owning a car is barely comparable. It’s even cheaper if you learn how to do it yourself.
Using your bicycle for the smaller trips, like to pick up a few things at the grocery store or meet friends at the coffee shop, limits the number of things you can bring back with you, meaning you will have to be more conscientious about what you are purchasing and how you’re going to transport it back. If you had taken your car, you may be more tempted to purchase that case of soda since you can’t bike back with it. This is true even if you are using a trailer or panniers. Investing in pannier bags or a bicycle trailer may not be on your to-do list if you are just starting to get used to biking, but they will make your life a lot easier once you start incorporating your bike into other parts of your life. Cycling with bulky or heavy items is not fun, especially when you didn’t expect to.
In the same vein, challenging yourself to take the shorter trips with your bike may cause you to re-evaluate if you need to make the trip at all anymore – aka is the ride there worth the reward? Are you craving a snack, and hopping in the car is just easier? Setting small little rules or challenges for yourself, like: “I can only go get ice cream if I bike there” or “I can take the car on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and weekends only”, can not only help you save money, but you’re also making your fitness and weight loss goals a breeze!
Incorporating this type of change into your life will take time. Remember: you’ve got a whole year to pull off your resolutions! Take the time to ensure that your goals are achievable and realistic. If you’ve gone from not biking at all to attempting to bike 20+ kilometers, you are more likely to get discouraged. Keep your goals small and you will likely find yourself crossing them off the list in no time. The more small goals you can reach, the more motivated you will be to continue! You will find that biking, with or without cargo, gets easier over time, and a 5km bike ride will feel like a breeze before you know it! The sum of your efforts will pay off, in the best ways: you’ll be healthier, richer, and contributing way less pollution to the environment we all live in. We hope you will also find an extended or refreshed sense of freedom, and a new appreciation for the greenspaces you live near.
Hopefully now that you’ve gotten to this point in this article, you’re wondering why you didn’t start riding your bike sooner and are feeling re-inspired to tackle your resolutions. If you’re not quite there yet, we hope you at least learned more about cycling as a means of transportation, fitness, and saving money. WIKE has dedicated our company to supporting the active transportation movement, and we are here to help you on your journey to a healthier future. Reach out to our customer service team today for questions about incorporating a bicycle or a bicycle trailer into your daily life.
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