It’s good for you and great for the environment. So, as millions of cyclists around the world mark Bike to Work Day, here’s why life on two wheels makes sense.
1. Cycle through the plastic waste
Cyclists in the Netherlands can ride on a pathway made from 500,000 recycled plastic bottle caps. It’s long-lasting and easy to build with and is a win-win for green transport and fighting waste plastic.
2. Free ice-cream for Italian cyclists
It’s just as well that it burns calories, because cycling in Bologna can earn you free ice-cream and beer. The Italian city hopes to curb pollution by encouraging people to leave their cars at home. More than 90% of the world’s population breathes dirty air, according to the World Health Organization, leading to health problems including lung disease, cancer and heart attacks. Cycling is good for you and those around you – just try not to overdo it on the gelato.
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3. There’s a cycling subway in the Netherlands
An underground bike park under the railway station in the city of Utrecht will hold 12,500 bikes, becoming the largest in the world: just one example of how much the Dutch love their bicycles.
4. Get paid to pedal
In fact, the Dutch love them so much, they have more than one each. On average, the Netherlands’ 17 million inhabitants own around 23 million bicycles between them. And now the government has introduced tax-breaks for cyclists worth $0.22 per kilometre. So bikes might become even more popular.
5. It’ll put a smile on your face
This scheme in Scotland gets people to take elderly neighbours for a ride. It brings people together, reduces loneliness, and helps promote cycling’s mental wellbeing benefits. Like all aerobic exercise, cycling helps promote the production of the feel-good chemicals endorphins in the brain. Even short amounts of time spent cycling can lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol, making it a one way to fight depressive illnesses.
6. Cycling can help emerging economies
By 2025, there could be as many as 364 million motor vehicles on India’s roads. That’s five times as many as in 2005. More cycling could reduce the resulting congestion and pollution. In South Africa, around 500,000 schoolchildren spend two or more hours walking to and from school each day. Bicycles could make a huge difference to their lives, giving them back several hours each week to study, play or simply make sure they have time to eat breakfast before leaving home.