Bike riders not the only ones who benefit
Bike riders not the only ones who benefit

At first glance it might not be all that obvious who benefits from people riding bikes.

Sure, the person riding the bike receives a lot of direct benefits but when you consider the far-reaching impact that bike riding can have, you might just want to think about dusting off the old bike in the shed and giving it a go.

We are always being told to be more active and cycling is an easy and affordable way to do just that.

The very real health gains that cycling provides includes improved fitness levels, weight reduction, reduced risk of heart disease and some cancers, improved mental health and a reduction in the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

But this is only just the beginning.

You save money because it's the perfect way to beat rising fuel prices and you don't have to pay for public transport or parking.

Maintenance and servicing costs are next to nothing and there are no registration or licence fees.

An entry level commuter bike will set you back under $500 and it will pay for itself in no time at all.

Not enough time in the day?

People often complain that they are time-poor and too busy to ride but when you consider that the majority of shorter bike trips of under 10km into the Perth CBD are quicker than by car or public transport then cycling to work can actually save you time.

Also there is no need to visit the gym when you get home because you have already done your exercise for the day.

Bike riding makes sense for the Government, too, because a healthier community means less pressure on the public hospital system.

One more bike means one less car, resulting in reduced congestion and pollution.

The cost of creating cycle lanes and paths is significantly less than building more roads or providing additional train carriages.

In fact, every dollar spent by governments in improving bicycle infrastructure and encouraging more people on to bikes results in a net cost saving to the economy in areas such as health, environment and transport.

Oh, and your boss wins too - research shows people who regularly ride a bike to work take less sick days, are more productive and have lower levels of workplace stress.

Bicycling Western Australia is a community based not-for-profit group working to improve the health of the community through cycling.

They represent the interests of all bike riders and work to improve riding conditions for West Australians by campaigning to the State Government and councils for improved cycling facilities and infrastructure.

If you haven't ridden a bike in a while, then visit the Bicycling WA website (bwa.org.au) to find a load of great tips on how to get started.

With Ride2Work Day just around the corner, now is the time to make the change and give riding a bike a go.

The great thing about riding to work is that anyone can do it, it's not a race and there's no need for a fancy bike.

So get on your bike, take your time and enjoy the ride. You'll be glad you did.

Jeremey Murray is chief executive of Bicycling Western Australia.

The West Australian

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