Wednesday, March 16, 2011

31 Flavors to ride a bike

Who doesn’t like ice cream? The thing about ice cream is that everyone likes it, but for different reasons. Some like it in a sugar cone while others prefer it in a dish.  Chocolate lovers might like it with a big dollop of hot fudge while purists don’t want anything to get between them and their vanilla bean. Well, biking is the same way.
Yes, biking!
            You might love to bike alone. You might love biking with a spouse, your friends or your children. You might be into racing, complete with a riding suit. Or, you might prefer a quiet ride while you roll through the countryside on a warm, summer evening. Whatever your personal preferences are, you stand to benefit from using the pedals on your bike instead of the ones in your car.
            One of those benefits is a fatter wallet. You might think that the only people who make money on their bicycle are those who ride in the Tour de France or Ironman competitions. You would be wrong.
Although it might not seem like much, every time you decide to bike to work, to the store, or to a friend’s house you save money by leaving your car parked. Whenever you choose to spend an evening on a bike ride instead of driving to the mall or the movies, you save gas money, maybe enough to afford that tub of movie-theater popcorn.
It may appear to be petty change, but even small amounts can add up. For example, if your car gets 20 miles per gallon, and if you live two miles from work, it only would take riding your bike for one week to save a gallon of gas. But that’s just the start. Where I live, parking doesn’t come free. By biking to the grocery store, I don’t just save money on gas; I save money because I don’t buy junk food (because I don’t want to lug it all back home!). And, I must admit, when I drive to work, I stop at a drive-thru about two mornings every week. In fact, most of my impulse purchases happen because my car is my biggest enabler; if I’m bored on a Saturday, I often drive to my favorite store or snack place. Ditching the shopping for my Schwinn means I get to keep my money. Going car-free for one week can easily help me save $30. Even if I were to bike every other day, I still could save $60 every month. Now that’s serious change. If you’re interested in finding out how much you could save, start by using this simple cost calculator:
            Biking has other cost-saving aspects that might not initially come to mind. Rather than pay $60 a month for a gym membership, burn calories by going for an evening ride a couple times during the week and a couple of times on the weekend. Neighborhood or community riding groups are a great idea, too, to build your confidence and social network. You can even get out a map of your area and mark off the places you’ve explored. has great, free tools to help keep track of where you’ve gone and where you’d like to go. It also has a way to see where other people in your area like to ride. Make it fun and give yourself a goal to have the map filled by summer’s end.
            No, riding your bike probably won’t make you rich, but it can put a little money in your pocket, and it definitely can be a great way to create quality time for yourself or with others.
I don’t know if I would go so far as to say that it’s better than a bowl of mint chocolate, but bicycling does have ice cream beat on at least one thing - While I can’t squeeze more than a triple-scoop cone in my stomach, I can never get too much time on my bike.By Kurt Woock.

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