Bicycling as Recreation and Transport

Photo Credit: isayx3 via Compfight cc

Last night my husband and I discussed the possibility of snowboarding and buying equipment. Our conclusion was that at this moment its not worth it. We’ve been plugging away at our goal of a down payment for a house for so long, that now is not the time to go splurge. Both of us have been sacrificing and going without buying anything but necessities that it doesn’t make sense at this point. If we happen to be doing well we might end up going once or twice, but not spending the money on equipment.

Instead I’ll write a bit about biking! Something we both like to do as it gets us outside and is relaxing but gives us exercise at the same time. I personally think it’s one of the best modes of transportation out there. It’s human powered and its much faster than walking. Sometimes you’re even faster than cars! It’s a great feeling to zoom past cars that are stuck in traffic. Of course not so great a feeling when you’re the one in the car. The initial manufacturing will create some emissions, but if you take care of the bike it will last for years.

Why bike?

Biking is great exercise that’s fun to do. It’s also a great way to be more earth-friendly and save money on gas. Many people on the weekends in Los Angeles go biking with their family and friends. You also see the serious bicyclists with the slick road bikes and spandex outfits. These guys can go nearly as fast as cars!

There are generally a few groups when it comes to biking. First the serious bicyclists who do it as an extreme hobby. Their bikes cost thousands of dollars and they have the most streamlined outfits. They do 30 miles easily and its great exercise and practice for them if they participate in races. They do it for the challenge and the sport itself.

You’ve got the people who have fixies. Generally younger people who like this type of bike. You see them everyone in the city and you can easily tell by their different colored wheels. A lot of these people use bikes as transportation and as a style statement.

Other times you’ll see people on small bikes that look like a kid bike. If you notice some pegs on the back wheels then those are trick bikes! On some of the beaches are areas where a lot of people with trick bikes gather. You won’t see these people riding down the street so much though. It’s really fun watching them do jumps and spins!

Then we have people like me who do it for fun and light exercise. Don’t care too much about going really fast or getting in a lot of miles. It’s more for relaxing and something nice to do on the weekends.

There are tons of different ways you can enjoy riding a bike! It’s pretty cost effective since you don’t need much other than the bike and helmet.

Replacing driving with biking
I used to be able to bike to my work place at least once a week. It was about 4 miles each way so it was just short enough for me to be able to bike and just long enough to count as exercise. If you live close enough to work this is a great way to save money and get some exercise! You can also look at errands as another option to bike to. Of course if you’re going to Costco then I’d say take the car. See what trips you take with a car that you can replace with a bike. It’ll take longer, but you’ll get more enjoyment out of it.

Safety always a must
I know the bike helmet is extremely ugly. I hate wearing it. I don’t know why but when I bought it I thought white would look good. Now when I wear it I think I look like a mushroom. I’m still wearing it though no matter what because it is the only safety item you have when riding a bike. When driving a car you have airbags, the seat belt, and two tons of metal between you and another car. With a bike you have a helmet. Since the bike path sometimes runs on the street it’s extremely important to wear that helmet. Head injuries aren’t a joking matter. Neither is that car that might not see you biking.

For families everyone should wear a helmet too. There are many families that I see biking on the street. More than half the time the kids are wearing helmets while the parents do not. I’m not sure I understand the logic behind that. No matter how old you are if you fall then you could hit your head. Maybe its because kids are smaller and harder to see? The parents aren’t immune to danger just because they are older. In a way they are just letting their kids know that they don’t need to wear a helmet anymore when they get older.

Buying a bicycle
I could have done better in this area to save money and resources. My husband and I were so excited to buy bikes that we jumped into our car and headed to a good bike shop. We ended up paying a little under $400 for each bike after some discount. We did buy a good brand and both are made of aluminum though. An option we could have at least pursued is to look on Craigslist for used bikes first. Bikes are pretty sturdy and you can find a lot of them used and in good shape. Some people make money by getting older beat up bikes and fixing them up.

If you wanted to buy a road bike be careful to just get what you need. They can run up to the thousands! I haven’t done enough research to know what a low cost road bike would be, but these are definitely the real moneymakers at bike stores. Some stores have an inventory of mostly road bikes and only a small selection of normal consumer bikes. They know where the money is.

Are you a bicycle lover? What type of bike person are you?

4 thoughts on “Bicycling as Recreation and Transport

    1. I didn’t even want to delve into the safety factor of riding a bike in the city! An entirely whole post by itself! It’s definitely dangerous with all the bad drivers who either don’t see you or don’t care. I’ve had too many close incidents and have become more wary since then. Good point to bring up.

      Hopefully one day the streets will be safer for bicycles! It would be such a great thing.

    1. To do lists are always long no matter what! You strike off half the items, and then twice as many get added. It’s life. Go get that bike!

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