Often relegated to the months when the weather is a bit more predictable, biking to work has become a growing, even year-round trend. This is due in part to a shaky economy that has gas prices consistently rising, and broader concerns over increased health risks thanks to growing inactivity.
Here’s the gist of what’s great and what’s questionable about biking to work:
- Compared to driving, it saves a ton of money and if you’re driving in traffic, it could save a huge amount of time
- It’s a free workout to and from the workplace
- You’ll inhale fewer automotive fumes and will be less likely to pick up a communicable illness from others in the tight confines found aboard public transportation
- Riding your bike to work is dangerous, even with protective gear
- If the weather is terrible, riding to work might not be a viable solution
- You don’t want to arrive at work needing to take a shower
- Your office doesn’t have a place to store your bike
You can’t beat the savings from riding your bike to work but it may not be the best mode of transport all year, or even all week.
But should you?
It all depends on what you’re comfortable with.
You should bike to work if you’re concerned about your health and your finances. Especially, considering that since January 2012 people who commute to work by bike at least three days a week can receive $20-a-month tax-free reimbursement for bike related expenses, it even pays.
Why you shouldn’t remains entirely a factor of comfort and appearance. If you’re concerned with getting sweaty and needing to change clothes, or if traversing busy intersections is not to your liking, consider avoiding this commute alternative altogether.
For those biking or considering biking in New York City there will be another alternative available March 2013 called CitiBike. Beginning in March, you can choose to rent bikes from hundreds of stations throughout Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens. You can purchase 24 hours, 7 day, or annual access, ride for select times (or risk incurring a minimal fee), and park your CitiBike at any of the racks closest to your destination. At $95 for annual access, your rides are free under 45 minutes—which is less than most commutes—and really can’t be beat.
For those who already own bikes and commute to work, keep in mind that you can store your bike for a nominal fee at most parking garages, especially Edison ParkFast.