Fast, Cheap, and on Two Wheels – A Philly Guy Talks Bike Love

If you know anything about me, then you know I bike everywhere — to work, to the store, to school. Everywhere, every day, no matter the season. All told, I probably log about 50 miles a week in the saddle.

Before you call me nuts, let me explain why I ride. (And even if you did call me nuts, don’t worry. I’ve been called a lot worse by Philly drivers, so I can take it.)

Even though I have a car and a driver’s license, I get on my bike every day because it’s fun, it’s great exercise, and it’s good for the environment. Most importantly I love doing it.

There are also three other pretty good reasons why cycling works for me: First, I’m cheap. Second, I’m impatient. Third, I like to eat.

Cheap or cost-conscious? Either works for me

Hey, if the shoe fits. All I know is that I like saving money, and biking helps me do that. For me, there are no parking issues, no trips to the gas station, and no annual inspection or emissions test. (According to an article in Time magazine, bike commuters may be saving as much as $5,000 a year.)

And while some people get hung up on expensive gear, I’m not one of them. My ride, a Miyata 12-speed that’s older than The Cosby Show, happens to be a hand-me-down. It’s not anything you’d see in the Tour de France, but with over 10,000 miles logged on it, my little Miyata has been there, done that. And it was free.

Even if you don’t have a generous cousin with a spare bike, you don’t have to break the bank to get a quality used frame or even a new bike for less than you may pay in monthly parking now.

Jams should be on toast, not roads

Because I’m impatient, I have two versions of hell. The first is sitting in stand-still traffic on the Schuylkill. The second is having my perfectly crisp dollar bill spit back at me for the hundredth time by the SEPTA machine while my train leaves the station.

Commuting by bike helps me avoid both. If there’s a jam-up ahead, I zip on down a side street and get to work in less time than it would have taken if I’d driven. And my crisp dollar bills stay in my wallet.

That to me is a little slice of heaven.

Seconds? Well, if you insist

I’m just going to say it: I love food.

Where I live in South Philadelphia is an area known to locals as Cheesesteak Gardens, and just because I happen to not eat steak (I’m a pescatarian) there are enough artery-clogging temptations to challenge even my firmest resolve. Thai, Italian, Mexican, Sushi — name the tasty cuisine, and I bet it’s a stone’s throw from my house. Resistance is futile.

But knowing that I biked for a half-an-hour means I don’t quite feel as guilty when I sit down for a three-course linguini feast because I’ve had a nice workout simply getting to and from work.

Enough about me. What about you?

Are you thinking about kicking your health resolution into higher gear? Is there a healthy routine you manage to fit in every day? Tell me all about it. I’d love to hear from you.

Until my next blog, check out this cool calculator that lets you figure out how much you could be saving by biking to work.