This is a guest post from Brittany of Bits of Bri. She’s a world traveler who has found bike riding to be the most cost-efficient and fun way to get around! Read on to find out more about her cycling experiences.
Do you want to live a healthier lifestyle that benefits both you and the planet while having tons of fun and saving even more tons of money? If so, then I have the perfect simple solution for you: ride a bike!
My favorite way to travel from one place to another is by bike. But this wasn’t always the case, especially when I lived in the United States where getting from one place to another can take hours, even by car!
It wasn’t really until I lived in France for a year, follow by about a year in Nepal, that I truly learned to appreciate how beneficial it is to ride a bike. Now it has become my favorite mode of transport! Some of my best memories living abroad or traveling around Europe and Southeast Asia actually involve riding a bike! Let me share with you why.
Ways Riding a Bike Saves You Money
Riding a bike instead of taking a car, scooter, or even public transportation, can save you so much money. Why?
1. No gas.
No more worrying about having a full tank because with a bike, you don’t need one! Instead of running on gas, with a bike you run on your own energy. It’s a sustainable way of living and a healthy one, too!
2. No costly repairs.
When a car breaks down or has a problem, it sometimes can take a huge chunk out of your bank account or even leave you in debt. In comparison, if your bike breaks, the cost to repair it will be very inexpensive. And for some repairs, you can even fix your bike yourself! Who knew you could be such a mechanic?
3. No more car insurance.
Though you should always be insured in some way, shape, or form, owning a bike means that you no longer have to buy into costly car insurance.
4. No parking fees (rarely).
It is totally possible that this occurs somewhere in the world (maybe where you live?), but it is rare to see any parking fees for bicycles. If any, I can’t imagine them soaring above $5 a day like parking garages for cars do.
5. No more inspections.
Remember those required car inspections you have to do periodically or every time you need to renew your tag? (Up-to-date tags are also yearly expenses!) Let’s just say with a bike, you are the inspector of your two-wheeler, and at no cost to you.
How Biking Provides Fun, Independence & Reliability
Going places via bicycle makes even the tiniest streets available to you. Not only does riding a bike give you independence to go explore as you like, it also can save you time by slipping through traffic jams.
I owned a bike when I lived in Lyon, France as a student. I either had the choice of taking the crowded metro that took an hour to get from my apartment to the university or I could ride my bike which only took me twenty-five minutes because I would cheat the traffic jams and cross the city via a huge park. It took less time, saved me money, and it was a great way to wake up so I would feel fresh and ready for my classes!
Also, while living in Nepal, we owned a bike. Paul (my French half) would drive and I would sit on a little cushion strapped on the back. We bought the bike for $150 right before the unexpected, nationwide “fuel crisis” which was due to India’s unofficial blockade during several long months. Kathmandu (the capital of Nepal) is usually covered with blaring traffic, so much so that it’s shocking, terrifying, and impressive all at once.
However, when the fuel crisis hit, there were hardly any more cars or even taxis on the roads, and the ones that were still there would charge five times the price due to the fact that getting fuel was so difficult to come by. Thousands of scooters, motorcycles, taxis, trucks, cars, etc., queued for gas which covered the sidewalks and half the road, and would be several miles long. People were forced to sit and wait for up to one week just to get a few liters of gas! Meanwhile, bicycle prices soared to several hundred dollars, even if it was secondhand, a price many Nepali families could not afford.
Paul and I received lots of stares, as sometimes we were the only ones going down the road on our trusty, reliable bike. Refilling the tires for air we would do on our own, but if we ever needed repairs done at a local shop, it would rarely cost us over .50 cents.
This all goes without mentioning that riding a bike, through parks or through crazy traffic, is so much fun! Owning a bike in both of these countries (and renting one while we travel) is invaluable, both in terms of memorable experiences and for our budget!
Related: 15 Tips for Traveling on a Budget
How Bicycling Allows You to Be Healthy
Last, but certainly not least, another reason why you should choose to ride a bike rather than drive a gas-guzzling car, is because it gives you plenty of fun exercise which keeps your heart healthy and your body fit!
Did you know that riding a bike has several incredible health benefits? Some include…
- Improved cardiovascular fitness
- Significantly increased muscle tone, strength, and stamina
- Improved mental health – decreases stress and boosts your mood!
- Weight maintenance
- “Low-impact” exercise meaning improved joint mobility and coordination
- ..and many more!
Related: How to Eat Healthy on a Budget
Though there are so many more reasons (like reducing your carbon footprint!) for why you should opt to ride a bike, I hope that this article has shed light on some of the wonderful benefits of what cycling can do for you!
Did you know that right now, there are about 20 people who are cycling around the world? We’ve actually met a few on our travels!
And how about you? Do you ride a bike daily? To where?
Brittany is a 22-year young wanderlust-stricken, small town girl who grew up to love the world (and animals). When not off globetrotting somewhere, she spends most of her time playing with her cat, Yoda; though sometimes he goes globetrotting, too.
You can find Brittany blogging over at Bits of Bri, where she writes about travel, cats, and shares delicious recipes that she’s learnt from living in both France and Nepal. She is currently having tons of fun backpacking Southeast Asia and would absolutely love for you to follow along on her adventures!