We can’t stop posting about why people should get on their bikes and ride, but it’s not completely irrational: Swapping your car for a bike does the environment big favors. We like. But a recent article from Rodale.com reminded us of another big reason we’re fans of getting around town on two wheels: It’s great for your health and even improves your mood.
The article encourages us to act like we’re Danish; they’ve got the bike commute down pat. Over a third of Copenhagen’s population rides their bikes to work, and Danes enjoy low obesity rates and good physical fitness. They also happen to rank highly on world surveys of life satisfaction. On the other hand, less than 1% of Americans ride their bikes to work, and we all know that the U.S. population isn’t known for stellar fitness and low obesity.
One of the problems is logistics: Copenhagen has 300 kilometers of bike lanes and free city bikes for residents to borrow, with government plans to increase cycling in the city to make it carbon neutral by 2025. In the U.S., there’s less structural support for bicycle commuting, but we also just have a different attitude: Although plenty of Americans own bikes, hardly any use them to commute, seeing it as a leisure activity instead of a legitimate way to get around.
If you want some extra motivation to get on your bike like a Dane, try committing to the Clif 2 Mile Challenge, or just go get on your bike instead of hopping in the car tomorrow. You mood and health will thank you.