Last time we looked at: “Are bike commuters healthier than their non-cycling coworkers?” from the employer perspective. The ROI, cold hard economic case answer was a resounding Yes!

So what does health/healthier mean to the individual employee? Looking at any of the dozens of polls taken every year, living a healthy lifestyle means looking better, losing weight, more quality time with family, and having a comfortable lifestyle. As Americans, we often go back to the Declaration of Independence and speak of our inalienable rights to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” Interestingly, “for the framers of the Declaration of Independence “happiness meant that feeling of self-worth and dignity you acquire by contributing to your community and to its civic life.” In the context of the Declaration of Independence, happiness was about an individual’s contribution to society rather than pursuits of self-gratification.”

So how are bike commuters able to live a healthier lifestyle than their car enslaved compatriots? How do bike commuters get to look better, keep the weight off, get more family time, do better financially, and contribute to the good of the community?

The average American will burn 1000 calories each way biking to work for the average 16 mile commute that Americans have. that’s 2000 calories per day. Even if you only bike three days per week, that’s over one pound of fat per week that gets burned. Over the course of the year, that’s 50 pounds. Who wouldn’t look better 50 pounds lighter?

Many people go the gym route to fitness. However, over half won’t sign up because of the cost, approaching $800 per year. Since that is after-tax, the real cost for most is over $1000. But going to the gym does not guarantee fitness because people are inconsistent with attendance and activity. If they work out the same six hours the three-day per week bike commuter does, it typically takes 20 minutes to and from the club each way and a shower so that the total time is over 10 hours of free time spent just to maintain fitness. Bottom line: the non-commuter is spending almost 22 normal 24-hour days and over $1000 per year to stay fit rather than riding a bike three days a week.

The Center for Disease Control states that the most frequent principal illness-related reason for a doctor’s visit is a cough, the most commonly diagnosed condition is hypertension, and the average American goes to the doctor four times per year. The typical bike commuter rarely has a cough, does not suffer from hypertension and visits the doctor once a year for an annual physical. Question: who wants to sit an extra three times per year in the waiting room of their family doctor coughing?

So how about doing something for the good of the community? Based on the typical 10-mile commute, three days per week, the bike commuter is saving almost 2 tons of carbon dioxide per year rather than driving. If they bike every day, it approaches 5 tons annually. For small cycling program of 100 people, that’s over 460 tons of carbon dioxide that are not polluting the environment which is the same as planting over 2300 trees.

So you make the call. Bike three days a week, save $1000 a year, have an extra 22 days of time to spend with friends and family, not add 5 tons of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere and plant a small forest. Or you can sit in your car, stuck in traffic fuming at the idiot who just cut you off and worried about what the doctor is going to tell you at your next visit.

So are you ready for your own Declaration of Independence? Need help in making a commuter bike program happen at your company? Call us and we can help you to a healthy lifestyle that slims you down, saves you money, gives you an extra three weeks a year with family and friends and makes a difference for the environment.

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