Today, as I rode through Watermead Park on my way back from Leicester I noticed more people out running than normal. It felt like quite a contrast between the positive impact of integration caused by riding a bike for transport compared to the segregation and fragmentation of life typified by going out for a run.
When you ride a bike for transport it integrates a whole range of things:
- Cost savings through cheap transport. See Americans Work 3.84 Minutes Each Day To Pay For Their Bicycles and Americans Work 2 Hours Each Day To Pay For Their Cars. Note that if you can claim expenses for riding your bike for work it can work out to be completely free, as it would for me if I did have such expensive tastes in bikes
- A happier life. It is far more enjoyable to ride a bike than be stuck in traffic in a car. You get to use quieter roads, you can ride by canals and rivers and through parks.
- A healthier life. Instead of becoming less healthy by sitting in a stressful environment (a car) you get beneficial exercise while getting from a-b. The statisticians seem to think you will now live longer.
- More time. You gain time as you need to work fewer hours to pay for your transport (alternatively you can work the same hours and keep the extra money). You also gain time by not needing to take exercise separately from your transport (so the runners this evening have a triple loss – time stuck in a car, time spent running & time lost to earning to the cost of exercise and transport).
- A higher quality of life for all. By riding a bike you have done a significant amount to reduce your negative impact on the lives of others (less pollution, less congestion, less oil used, less CO2 emissions). It would be expensive to find ways to achieve all these benefits for others if you had driven to work.
On the other hand driving for transport segregates and fragments your life:
- Your transport time is wasted. It can give no side benefits, it is all cost to you
- Your car means you have to work longer to get the same standard of living as you have to pay for the car, fuel etc
- Your transport does not contribute to your well-being and happiness. You will need to spend other time making up for the lost happiness.
- Your transport makes you less healthy so you will need to invest time and money just to stay still in fitness.
- Your transport actively damages the quality of life for others.