Gaining time by cycling for work

Yesterday highlighted the time that I keep gaining by cycling for work. By riding my bikes for work (so far 1225 miles ridden for work in 2011) I gain time in all kinds of ways. Here are a few of them:

  1. As I move more slowly than when driving (although the difference is never as big as I imagine) I tend to plan my trips out a bit more. So rather than just jumping in the car to go somewhere I gain time by being a little more organised and connecting things together.
  2. I never have to queue for car parks or junctions or road works or overall congestion. This saves significant lengths of time when moving around a city with very slow moving traffic like Leicester. Also I tend to visit several city hospitals a week and the queues to park at them are frequently 45 minutes long.
  3. I get my exercise by riding my bike to get to places so I don’t need to spend time at (and travelling to/from) a gym. This saves several hours per week (far more than any increased travel time compared to driving).
  4. As I am exercising more and getting somewhat fitter I find I can do more in a day without getting so tired. Yesterday was a good example. Holy Week (the week between Palm Sunday and Easter Day) is generally a busy one for ministers and comes straight after Lent which also tends to be a busy time. So yesterday I was leading two services, attended another and also supported a children and families event. In the past after a busy couple of months that would have left me to tired to do much else. Yet the cycling I have been doing has made such a difference that I did that work, cycled 12 miles and still was able to assemble a shed in the afternoon. It is as if I have gained hours in each day for doing things. This morning I saw another result as I reached a new low weight, making more progress on my diet. As I gain time through feeling less tired I also find it easier to burn off calories by being more active which contributes to a positive spiral.
  5. Cycling for work also has huge benefits in my work through being more visible and more approachable (getting out from a tin box makes you appear so much more friendly, for me that is helped by not wearing a bike helmet which tends to again reduce visibility and approachability). So I gain time by meeting people more easily and by more easily becoming part of the community. That has all kinds of knock on positive effects which make work easier and a nice side effect is saving time.
  6.  Possibly the largest gain is within our family. As I cycle for work and as Jane uses her bike for many errands (and where possible for work) we have reduced our dependence on cars. We have only one and we use it as little as possible. This is a huge cost saving and indirectly saves us as a family a lot of time as we don’t have to earn as much money or save as much money in other areas of our lives. One of the many opportunity costs of car ownership is reduced time for life. Sadly it is one of the costs of driving that is so often ignored. The irony is that cars are so often sold as ways of gaining time (through freedom, through increased performance etc) whereas the reality is quite different.
  7. There is plenty of research to suggest that cyclists live longer, I would certainly expect that having moved out of obesity and gradually heading for a “normal” weight that there will be a chance of long term health benefits. The chance is there of significantly gaining quality time over the long term. Though as a Christian I am not worried about this  and am not making living a long time a great target, eternity is going to be good enough for me 🙂
It has often been said that in our busy lives time is one of the most scarce and most valuable of our resources. I am very grateful that I find cycling for work a means to gain more (and better quality) time. What is especially great is that I would be willing to pay quite a lot for all this extra time yet cycling for work achieves all this and gives me loads of pleasure at the same time while costing peanuts.
Cycling for work is the greatest bargain ever!
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