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Benefits of Cycling Beyond Fitness | Most of us cycled as kids but as we became adults blame it on lack of time, lethargy or simply modern habits, we’ve forgotten about this childhood vehicle of choice. Many do rekindle their love for cycling in the later years, though it is more about fitness when the vehicle makes a come back into our adult lives. That there are way more benefits to cycling beyond fitness is already known. But let us do the job of reinforcing the benefits. Because, why not.


Nostalgia


image source: www.bicyclexp.com

Anyone who has cycled after a long time or for the first time in his or her adult life would claim to associate nostalgia as a part of this experience. To sense this you don’t have to ride everyday or even long distances. Even short rides to explore your old neighborhood, a new city on a holiday or simply to run errands will bring back a lot of good memories. I still fondly remember my pink ladybird cycle that was my companion for over a decade. 


Accessibility


Image source: Conde Nast traveller,March 2018

Cycles give us the freedom to move through winding lanes,congested areas and sometimes steep trails that would otherwise be inaccessible to cars. Coming from one of the most congested cities in India i.e Kolkata myself I know the joy of owning a cycle and meandering through by-lanes when the rest of the traffic is literally standing still. This gives one the opportunity to be a closer part of a city or town.In fact at Eccentrips we have daily cycling tours that traverse through the Worli fishing community, which still remains a very less explored area in the city.


Economic and social benefits

Several nations have a huge population that cycles to work and not only does it reduce individual expense it also benefits the nation’s economy. A study showed that if cycles were to substitute two and four wheelers for short trips in India, it could result in a benefit of INR 1.8 trillion or equivalent of 1.6% annual GDP for 2015-16.

Individually one need not spend on fuel and the maintenance cost of a cycle is far less than that of any motored vehicle. In addition to this several countries like The Netherlands, UK and Belgium. provide tax-free benefits or pay extra to people who cycle to work.

In rural India cyclists have ease of access to shops, fields and medical centers, increased attendance in schools over pedestrians this is both socially and economically beneficial too(source: International journal of applied engineering research).


Makes our daily life easy



Grocery needs sorted for a month! image source: sanrocycles

Many times we want to rush to the nearby market to get something but walking isn’t an easy option and using the car would mean struggling to find a parking spot, it is the cycle that comes to our rescue. Its use in covering small distances of 1-2km and the lack of need for a proper parking make it ideal for day to day use in cities like Mumbai. In fact in a crowded suburb like Andheri in Mumbai it’s no surprise that my partner uses the cycle most of the time for running errands.

Minimalistic lifestyle

All of Dhruv Bogra's bags for 400 days! image source: natgeotraveller

How many of us feel lost and really stressed thinking of all the things we need to pack before a trip?I am sure most of us do. Whether it is a 4 day, 2 day or a 1 day trip most times we end up wasting a lot of time dressing up, packing food and things we won’t even use.This is where cycling trips teach us some discipline by making sure we only pack the essentials. In the long run this brings a sense of minimalism in our lifestyle and we start applying this to our everyday living.

Environment friendly

The most obvious benefit of cycling is its zero dependence on fossil fuels and zero pollution. According to a research conducted by the Queensland government in Australia cycling 10 km each way to work would save 1500 kg of greenhouse gas emissions each year!

Imagine if more of us took to cycling for work we would breathe cleaner air, be less frustrated because of incessant honking and also parking would no longer be an issue. This in turn could also leave a lot of green spaces free from concrete development.

Self-development


Whether one is cycling a few kilometers for leisure or going on a short cycling tour for two days it requires a certain amount of strength and fitness. It makes us push our limits and challenge ourselves to achieve something. On longer cycling tours it helps us understand ourselves and our surroundings better. When cycling in a group it also inculcates companionship, as each member learns to look out for and encourage each other. In the long- term cycling results in adopting good lifestyle choices like less partying, sleeping early and waking up early.

I am sure a lot of you would take these benefits as inspiration and start including this wonderful habit in your lifestyle. One may consider investing in a good cycle as an added expenditure but the long-term benefits of cycling more than exceed the short-term cost of this investment. Moreover, you don’t really need a fancy cycle all you need is a bit of motivation and you’re ready to start the ride of your life!