“Cycling is a sport of the open road and spectators are lining that road.“
Lance Armstrong, Athlete
Advantages & Disadvantages of Cycling
Cycling (also often referred to as biking or bicycling) can be defined as the use of bicycles for all areas of our daily life, including exercise, recreation and transportation purposes.
Biking has become quite popular over the past decade.
However, there are also some issues related to cycling.
In this article, the pros and cons of bicycling are discussed.
Advantages of Cycling
- Using your bike increases your fitness level
- Suitable substitute for the gym
- Cycling can improve your overall health level
- Suitable for stress reduction
- Mitigation of mental issues
- You don’t need a parking ticket
- Rather cheap alternative to get around
- You will not get stuck in traffic jams
- May be faster than a car for short distances
- Biking is easy to learn
- Fun for family trips
- Good alternative to cars if you lost your driver’s license
- Less emissions and particle pollution
- Improvements in air quality
- Less greenhouse gas emissions
- Preservation of our natural resources
- Good sport for losing weight
- Biking as a socializing activity
Using your bike increases your fitness level
One crucial advantage of cycling is that you can significantly improve your overall fitness level by going by bike.
Cycling can be rather exhausting, especially if you go quite fast.
However, it is great to build up some muscles. If you start bicycling right now, you will soon notice that you will be much fitter than before.
In turn, an increased fitness level often also translates into improvements in all parts of our daily life since you will have more power to accomplish things in your life.
Suitable substitute for the gym
Since biking can improve your overall fitness level, there might also no need for you anymore to attend the gym.
Although many people go to the gym on a regular basis, there are only quite a few people who actually enjoy going there. The majority of us actually hate going to the gym.
Therefore, if you are one of those people who do not want to go to the gym at all, cycling may be a great alternative to maintain a high fitness level without the need of working out at the gym.
Cycling can improve your overall health level
Another advantage of biking is that it can also significantly improve our health levels.
Exercising of all sorts is beneficial for our body and our brain and far too many people do not exercise enough.
Thus, they often develop overweight or other issues over time.
By using your bike more often, you can reduce the risk for those kinds of health issues significantly and therefore, your overall health will be much better compared to someone who is not exercising at all.
Suitable for stress reduction
In our nowadays society, many people complain about stress at work or at home.
Especially if you work in a demanding job for quite long hours and also have a family, you might suffer from extremely high stress levels, which may translate into serious health issues in the long run.
Therefore, it is crucial that you reduce this stress somehow.
Many studies have shown that physical exercise can significantly reduce stress levels.
This is also true for cycling. If you feel stressed, try to use your bike more often and chances are that you will feel much better and less stressed in the long run.
Mitigation of mental issues
Many people also suffer from mental health issues.
Due to stress or genetic factors, people are often overwhelmed in their daily lives.
Also the information overload that comes along with our smartphones provides an additional source for stress and mental problems.
However, although our daily life can be quite stressful, there are things you can do to reduce your mental stress levels.
Cycling in a forest or in a park can be one suitable measure since you might be able to disconnect from all the things that annoy you and can free your mind.
You don’t need a parking ticket
Another benefit of bicycling is that you do not need a parking ticket for your bike.
When you have arrived at your destination, you can just park at many nearby locations.
Compared to going by car, this is a huge advantage since you might have to search for a parking spot for a quite long time and you might also have to pay significant amounts of money.
Therefore, bikes can definitely be preferred over cars when it comes to parking.
Rather cheap alternative to get around
Going by bike is also quite cheap.
In fact, apart from the initial purchase prices, there are not too many costs related to bicycling.
Yes, you need maintenance from time to time, but the amount of money you have to spend on those inspections is rather low.
You also do not have to spend any money on fuels.
Therefore, you can save many thousands of dollars a year by going by bike instead of using your car.
You will not get stuck in traffic jams
Traffic jams are a significant problem, especially in big cities.
Many people spend plenty of time to get to work and back to their home every day.
However, by commuting by bike to work, you could just skip traffic jams.
Thus, by going by bike, you can not only exercise and increase your fitness level, you may even be able to save plenty of time while your colleagues may be stuck in traffic.
May be faster than a car for short distances
For short distances, bikes are a great alternative to cars and you will often be much faster using your bike.
This is especially true during rush hour or if you live in the inner city.
Hence, you can not only save plenty of money on fuel in the long run, you may also save time which you can spend on other enjoyable activities instead.
Biking is easy to learn
It is also quite easy to learn to go by bicycle.
If you learn cycling at a young age, you will be able to master it quite fast.
In fact, biking is one of the easiest sports to learn and compared to going by car, you don’t need a driver’s license.
Therefore, bikes are especially favorable for teenagers who are still too young to drive or for kids who want to get to school or back.
Fun for family trips
If you have kids, a bicycle trip might be quite much fun for all of you.
Especially if you live close to the mountains or to national parks, you have perfect conditions to make those kinds of trips.
For you and your spouse, those biking trips will be quite beneficial since you can reduce your stress from work.
For your kids, it might also be quite adventurous.
Thus, every family member will likely enjoy such a trip, which may also improve your connection with your kids.
Good alternative to cars if you lost your driver’s license
Some people may also lose their driver’s license due to various reasons.
Hence, if you are one of those people, going by bike may be a great alternative for you until you get your driver’s license back.
This is especially true if you live in a region where public transport is quite bad and unreliable and you need an alternative to conventional transportation methods.
Less emissions and particle pollution
By leaving your car at home and going by bike, you can also significantly reduce your emissions.
In turn, also the level of particle pollution can be lowered.
This in turn may improve the overall health level of people since there are many adverse health effects related to particle pollution, including serious pulmonary diseases like asthma or lung cancer.
Improvements in air quality
Going by bike also improves the overall air quality in a city.
Especially during rush hour, many people use their cars and the air quality is often quite poor.
In some big cities, significant smog forms during those times of the day.
Therefore, in order to improve the air quality in cities, it is crucial that we find alternatives to using our cars.
Bicycling is one of those eco-friendly alternatives since it implies zero emissions.
Less greenhouse gas emissions
Cycling can also reduce our overall greenhouse gas emissions.
We all know that our greenhouse emissions are a main driver for global warming and that climate change is one of the biggest environmental problems humanity faces today.
Therefore, it is crucial that we take action in order to mitigate our greenhouse gas emissions.
One way to do so is to go by bike instead of using your car since you will not emit any greenhouse gases related to the burning of fossil fuels at all.
Preservation of our natural resources
Our natural resources are quite precious goods which we have to protect as best as we possibly can.
This is especially true when it comes to our fossil resources since they are non-renewable and will be depleted sooner or later.
Good sport for losing weight
Also if you are overweight, bicycling may be a great sport for you to lose weight consistently.
If you suffer from serious obesity, you might not be able to do many sports due to your physical condition.
However, even people who are heavily overweight are often able to use their bikes to a certain extent.
Thus, if you plan to lose weight, apart from an appropriate diet, cycling can significantly support your efforts.
Biking as a socializing activity
It is on you to decide whether you want to bike alone or to make a biking trip with your friends or your colleagues.
If you choose the second option, you will have plenty of opportunities to socialize, to get to know your colleagues better and to meet new people.
Therefore, biking can also be a great socializing opportunity.
Disadvantages of Biking
- Biking accidents
- You might overestimate your abilities
- Cycling can be exhausting
- Not suitable for handicapped persons
- May not be suitable for the older generation
- Some cities lack a good bike infrastructure
- Bicycles can be expensive
- Your bike might get stolen
- Problems with your insurance company
- May not be suitable for longer distances
- Fun factor of cycling is dependent on the weather
Apart from the many advantages of bicycling, there are also some problems related to it.
One disadvantage of cycling is that it puts you at risk for serious accidents.
While it is true that you can also get involved in an accident when using your car, you will have far less protection when going by bike and chances for deadly accidents therefore much higher.
Thus, if you want to go by bike, make sure that you wear a helmet and to pay attention to the traffic in order to minimize your risk of getting hit by a car.
You might overestimate your abilities
Especially for children or young adults, overestimating their abilities also puts them at great risk for serious accidents.
This can include traffic accidents, but also accidents related to activities like mountain biking.
Hence, if you plan to go for those activities with your kids, make sure to educate them about the dangers in order to minimize the risks for serious accidents.
Cycling can be exhausting
Also using your bicycle is quite good for improving your fitness level, cycling can also be quite exhausting and many people may lose the motivation to go by bike sooner or later since it is much more convenient to just sit down in a car and go without having to move too much.
Therefore, the consistent use of bicycles also requires a significant level of motivation and many people might not have this kind of perseverance.
Not suitable for handicapped persons
Cycling may also not be suitable for disabled persons due to their physical handicap.
Those people have to rely on public transport or other means of transportation instead since they are simply not able to move a bike due to their physical condition.
May not be suitable for the older generation
Also for the older generation, going by bike may not be the best idea since they are often not able to pay close attention to the traffic anymore and therefore, their risk to get involved in serious traffic accidents is much higher compared to a middle-aged person.
Thus, if you are already at a rather old age, you should think about going by public transport instead of using your bike if you feel insecure regarding the safe navigation in traffic.
Some cities lack a good bike infrastructure
Some cities are also much more bike-friendly than others.
Many cities still lack an appropriate infrastructure to make it attractive to go by bike.
For instance, introducing bike lanes might be one of the most important tasks in order to protect bikers from collisions with cars.
Therefore, in order to make cycling even more attractive, many cities have to improve their cycling infrastructure significantly.
Bicycles can be expensive
Another downside of bicycles is that they can be quite expensive.
If you want to buy a high-quality bike, you might spend well over 1,000 USD.
However, compared to the use of cars, the price of a bike is rather low.
Thus, if you live in a region where your bike can be a real substitute for going by car, it might still be worth it to invest in a good bike since you can save plenty of money on fuel by doing so.
Your bike might get stolen
Especially if you own a high-quality bike, you might also be at great risk that your bicycle gets stolen sooner or later.
Thieves know exactly which bikes are valuable and will focus on those high-quality ones.
Therefore, always keep in mind that your bike might get stolen.
Thus, it may be a good idea to get proper bike insurance in order to financially protect yourself against those thefts.
Problems with your insurance company
In some countries, you might also get into trouble with your insurance company when it comes to insurance against accidents that are related to the use of your bicycle.
Thus, before using your bike, make sure that you are insured properly in order to avoid any unpleasant financial obligations in case of an accident.
May not be suitable for longer distances
Another issue with going by bike is that bicycles are usually not suitable for longer distances.
Yes, in theory, you could drive many miles.
However, in practice, it will be rather annoying to use your bike for long distances and you will likely lose your motivation to do so sooner or later.
Therefore, for most people, bikes are a good alternative for short distances, while using a car has its advantages for longer distances.
Fun factor of cycling is dependent on the weather
If the weather is quite bad, chances are that you will not have too much fun by using your bike.
Especially if you commute to work, you don’t want to arrive there soaked with rainwater.
Thus, the suitability of bikes crucially depends on the outside weather conditions, which may confine your level of flexibility.
Top 10 Cycling Pros & Cons – Summary List
|Cycling Pros||Cycling Cons|
|Improvements in overall health level||Overestimation of own capacities|
|Cycling for weight loss||Bikes can be expensive|
|Reduction of stress levels||Your bike might get stolen|
|Nice for family trips||Can be exhausting|
|Easy to learn||Some cities lack proper infrastructure for biking|
|Alternative to cars for short distances||Insurance issues|
|Good in case you lost your driver’s license||Not suitable for long distances|
|Mitigation of global warming||Weather dependence|
|Less pollution||Not suitable for handicapped persons|
We can conclude from the previous analysis that bicycling has many upsides.
However, there are also some disadvantages of going by bike. It depends on your individual circumstances whether you want to use your bike or not.
At least, you should give it a try since you will only know whether biking is a suitable hobby for you or not if you have experienced it in a sufficient manner.
About the author
My name is Andreas and my mission is to educate people of all ages about our environmental problems and how everyone can make a contribution to mitigate these issues.
As I went to university and got my Master’s degree in Economics, I did plenty of research in the field of Development Economics.
After finishing university, I traveled around the world. From this time on, I wanted to make a contribution to ensure a livable future for the next generations in every part of our beautiful planet.
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