The advantages and disadvantages of cycling

I’ve been without a car for a couple of weeks now and can’t say I’ve really missed it. Today I had to pick up a spare part for our boiler from the local plumbers merchants. It’s about 2 miles away so I hopped on the bike and was there and back in 20 minutes. This is the exact sort of journey I would have previously taken in the car – apparently 70% of all car journeys in this country are less than 5 miles so I was obviously not alone. I live at the top of a big hill, so the return journey was hard work. However, a year ago I couldn’t cycle up the hill without stopping (twice) to catch my breath – today I flew up it. This made me think – what are the advantages and disadvantages of cycling over other forms of transport.

Advantages:

1. Great for exercise, evidenced by my new ability to conquer the steep hill home

2. Low cost (provided you can keep control over the urge to acquire new cycling-accessories)

3. Does not pollute the environment.

4. Faster than walking and no slower than a car in cities. Today I averaged 12mph while running errands.

5. No need to hunt for a parking space – this is a big plus where we live as spaces are scarce.

Eloquently put

Disadvantages:

1. Difficult to move large or multiple items. I will be borrowing my wife’s car tomorrow to deliver all my tools to my new place of work.

2. Not quick over long distances – however it can still be used to travel quickly to a local train station.

3. Safety – not all road users are generous towards the vulnerable cyclist

4. It can leave the rider dirty and smelly after a long ride. Showers at work, combined with cycle-specific clothing may be necessary. Although my new tactic of wearing old football socks seems to work well in keeping my right leg clean!

A clean leg and a filthy bike

These are the main advantages and disadvantages which seem to affect me, but feel free to add more …

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16 thoughts on “The advantages and disadvantages of cycling

  1. stevenfrancisco says:

    that first graphic is good – and totally true. I think you hit the nail on the head with the advantages and disadvantages! Maybe the only other disadvantage (or perhaps an advantage) is that your coworkers will think you’re nuts.

  2. tuckamoredew says:

    You can do a lot without a car. If you’re not afraid of looking a bit peculiar you can even move lots of cargo in various ways as there is an increasing variety of options for the carless to tackle utility tasks. Trailers, long-tail bikes, cycle trucks and cargo trikes some of the best examples.

  3. roshiro says:

    Such a good comparative! I’d like to add one point to each side.
    One another advantage is that after cycle, you feel alive and healthier. The more tiring is the cycling, the more alive you feel.
    The other disadvantage is that I’m not comfortable in leaving my bike parked in streets because of the thieves.
    Anyway, I still go for the bikes instead of cars 🙂

    • jerzak80 says:

      Just got back from a 50 mile ride so I’m totally with you on the first point – I feel shattered but satisfied!
      And I know what you mean about leaving it padlocked. A bike does seem more susceptible to theft than a car. I chose the black version of my bike rather than yellow as it seemed less ‘flashy’ and hopefully won’t catch the eye of a thief.
      Thanks for the feedback!

  4. Spokes and the City says:

    If you’ve ever travelled in Asia, you’ll realise that there are a lot more ways to cycle and carry things than we have tried! We have two small children so it’s just not practical, or safe, to travel in many ways on the bikes. In Sydney, Australia, were we live, we’re slowly getting better facilities but there are many, many gaps in cycleways that make it unsafe to take longer trips on many roads. Cars here are very hostile to cyclists so it’s genuinely scarey at times. We have been lobbying for a local greenway, a cycling and walking corridor, that would provide an important like within the inner-west that would allow commuters to come from further afield into the inner-west, into the city and across the city but the new state government in its eternal wisdom has ‘indefinitely delayed’ it while putting money to widening the roads and proposing more motorways and tunnels. Sigh…

    • bikevcar says:

      Yeah I wouldn’t fancy cycling with 5 on a bike and also carrying your weekly shopping plus a couple of goats. Might affect my average speed slightly!

    • Ed Lyne says:

      You should tell your city to look at Copenhagen as an example of a well-functioning bike city. Many initiatives to encourage bike use – and it works : )

  5. Eileen says:

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  6. rourou mg says:

    The world is looking toward becoming healthier, smarter and faster. More people are looking to be fit as a fiddle, and as a result, they are looking at various ways to lose weight, and make the world a better place to live in by controlling pollution. One of the most popular ways to have a healthy lifestyle and curb pollution is cycling. While cycling was supposed to be something that only the rural crowd would do a few years ago, more people from the urban part of the world are taking up cycling, not just as a hobby but also as a means of transport. Here are some advantages and disadvantages of taking up cycling as transport.

    The main advantage of taking up cycling is that you do not have to pay money consistently for transport. You do away with the expense of gas, as well as the one that you would spend on the bus or the train ticket, or even the cab fare. Secondly, you do your bit for nature by not polluting it by using fuels. And of course, the main advantage is that your body and constitution will thank you for taking up such a healthy hobby. Once you start cycling your way to work, you will find that you yourself are not prone to smoke or even have an after work drink, because you need to be razor sharp while riding a bicycle on road. Cycling not just amends your lifestyle for the better, but it is the best exercise that your body will ever get – and that too at a price much lesser than buying the gym equipment, or even signing up with a gym.

    There are some disadvantages of cycling too. The first disadvantage is that you cannot rely on cycling for a really long journey, like something that would be more than ten miles. Unless you are trained enough, you will face an energy drain while cycling this distance and your coming to work would be quite useless.

    Secondly, cycling as a means of transport is still a fledgling idea, and therefore very expensive. Buying a good cycle that can take the wear and tear of daily use on the roads, and give you the right riding experience would be half the cost of a starter scooter. Add to that some of the compulsory props you would need, and the bill will be more or less that of a starter scooter. You need to consider whether you want to spend so much on a cycle, when there are several scooters that are ecology friendly as well as economic. The props and accessories required by a cyclist who would be travelling to work can cost quite a lot too, making the entire exercise a bit more expensive that they would like. Also, cycling is a strenuous job, and you will need to strengthen yourself to consider cycling as a daily habit.

    These are some of the advantages and disadvantages of cycling. However, more people are turning towards cycling as an option to travelling to work, and you could too, if your workplace is close enough and you are ready to bring about some changes in your lifestyle.

    Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/7411641

  7. rourou mg says:

    The world is looking toward becoming healthier, smarter and faster. More people are looking to be fit as a fiddle, and as a result, they are looking at various ways to lose weight, and make the world a better place to live in by controlling pollution. One of the most popular ways to have a healthy lifestyle and curb pollution is cycling. While cycling was supposed to be something that only the rural crowd would do a few years ago, more people from the urban part of the world are taking up cycling, not just as a hobby but also as a means of transport. Here are some advantages and disadvantages of taking up cycling as transport.

    The main advantage of taking up cycling is that you do not have to pay money consistently for transport. You do away with the expense of gas, as well as the one that you would spend on the bus or the train ticket, or even the cab fare. Secondly, you do your bit for nature by not polluting it by using fuels. And of course, the main advantage is that your body and constitution will thank you for taking up such a healthy hobby. Once you start cycling your way to work, you will find that you yourself are not prone to smoke or even have an after work drink, because you need to be razor sharp while riding a bicycle on road. Cycling not just amends your lifestyle for the better, but it is the best exercise that your body will ever get – and that too at a price much lesser than buying the gym equipment, or even signing up with a gym.

    There are some disadvantages of cycling too. The first disadvantage is that you cannot rely on cycling for a really long journey, like something that would be more than ten miles. Unless you are trained enough, you will face an energy drain while cycling this distance and your coming to work would be quite useless.

    Secondly, cycling as a means of transport is still a fledgling idea, and therefore very expensive. Buying a good cycle that can take the wear and tear of daily use on the roads, and give you the right riding experience would be half the cost of a starter scooter. Add to that some of the compulsory props you would need, and the bill will be more or less that of a starter scooter. You need to consider whether you want to spend so much on a cycle, when there are several scooters that are ecology friendly as well as economic. The props and accessories required by a cyclist who would be travelling to work can cost quite a lot too, making the entire exercise a bit more expensive that they would like. Also, cycling is a strenuous job, and you will need to strengthen yourself to consider cycling as a daily habit.

    These are some of the advantages and disadvantages of cycling. However, more people are turning towards cycling as an option to travelling to work, and you could too, if your workplace is close enough and you are ready to bring about some changes in your lifestyle.

  8. lovemybicycle says:

    I live in a small town and work in the downtown area. We don’t lack for parking, but EVERYONE drives even if it is only 3-4 blocks. My boss won’t walk because he says it makes him sweat during the summer. He has to wear a suit. We don’t have showers, but we have sinks and they work well enough to clean up. Everyone knows me as the one who is always walking or biking. They all think I am crazy, but I think they secretly wish they could do the same. I know this from some of their comments. I use a BOB bicycle trailer when I want to carry bigger items. Keep it up, you WILL get known for doing it.

  9. Vishwas K V says:

    I have car and also I have cab to commute. But still, I am using bicycle because to challenge myself and also to have fun. My To & fro distance would be 40 km. but the health benefits we would get will be long lasting. Though my wife thinks I am crazy, atleast 4 days in week, I usually take my bicycle to office. Though it is slow, the movement entirely depends on your strength, hence when you reach some place within your planned time (don’t compare to car), you will be proud of yourself. And yes, risk is always there. Even if you go by motorcycle, there is no guarantee that you will reach home safely. And you mentioned it is expensive. It is initial investment. Maintenance is really cheaper than the motorcycle. Plus, you need to fill petrol, so that also you are saving. So, except that, it is slower, cycling is advantageous only.

    Vishwas K V

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