Riding a bike is good for you and good for the environment.

Ready to Try Commuting by Bike? Here’s How

Did you know that May is National Bike Month? And next week, May 13-19, is National Bike to Work Week, when cyclists all over the country take to the streets for a two-wheeled commute. Across most of the country, National Bike to Work Day will be May 17, though here in San Francisco, the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition is holding Bike to Work Day May 9th, 2019.

If you’ve wanted to try commuting by bike, this is the perfect time to do so, when streets will be filled with cyclists and there will be patrols out to control traffic.

Here’s why commuting by bike is a good idea, and how to do it safely.

1. Biking Is Heart-Healthy. As an excellent form of cardio exercise, cycling is good for your heart and entire cardiovascular system. In fact, a study by the American Heart Association found that people who biked regularly had 15 percent fewer heart attacks than non-cyclists.

2.Biking Is Good for Your Joints. Because cycling is lower impact than many other forms of exercise, you’re less likely to experience knee pain, inflammation, and injury.

3. Biking Burns Calories. How many calories you burn on a particular ride depends how fast you ride and how level your route, but the average person burns 450 to 750 per hour while cycling. That’s a lot!

4. Biking Is Good for the Environment. Of course you’ve already thought about this, but it doesn’t help to remind yourself that every trip by car contributes to climate change. Travel to work self-powered, and you’re helping reduce your carbon footprint one day at a time.

6. Biking is Fun. Sign up for group rides to make weekend trips more fun.

7. There Are Many Ways to Bike. A traditional two-wheeled bicycle is not the only type of bike that’s good for you. Alternative cycling options include tandem bikes, recumbent bikes, and three wheelers as well. If your commute is too far or too difficult to do by bike alone, electric-assist bikes are a popular option.

Melanie Haiken writes about health, wellness and fitness for national magazines and websites. She specializes in discovering and reporting the latest research on diet, nutrition, fitness, weight loss and other health-related topics. Her award-winning stories have appeared in Fitness, Shape, Health, Forbes, and other respected magazines. She also contributes health stories to numerous Kaiser Permanente newsletters and other publications.