Something I knew all along turns out to have some evidence to back it up: cycling to work makes you happier. Urban Studies Ph.D candidate Oliver Smith surveyed 828 commuters in Portland Oregon to determine commuter well-being among different modes of transport including cycling, walking, bus, rail and car. Here’s what he found.
I am currently zipping around York on my bakfiets which I ride multiple times every day. It’s an understatement to say that I’m loving it. I have had to ask myself what it is specifically that I love so much about cycling and I think there are many things. The most obvious is that it’s exercise and exercise, especially the sort that doesn’t leave you keeling over with exhaustion, is nature’s morphine. It gets the blood flowing, endorphins are released and it makes you feel great.
Another thing to love about cycling is that it’s fun. The best way to describe this is that it’s not unlike a fast fun-fair ride. Although I should add here that when both kids are in the bakfiets and I’m cycling on a slight incline, I’m not particularly fast. In fact, I once had a jogger overtake me. How embarrassing is that?!
There’s also much to be said for feeling the outdoors – fresh air, wind, even rain – and smelling the smells that you don’t get when sitting inside a vehicle. Cycling is an entertaining activity in itself. Many people cycle purely for leisure because it is fun.
What else? It’s congestion-free, it doesn’t cost anything, it’s never late unless you choose to be and it gives you a toned bum and legs without having to do anything painful or spend any money.
Cycling makes me happy.