Summer Revelation: Cyclists are badass.

I try very hard, despite student budget constraints, to lead an eco-friendly lifestyle.  But of course like everyone else, I’m not perfect. We all have our guilty pleasures.

One of my favorite things to do is drive. Just drive a car. Anywhere. Whether it’s a short trip or a long commute, the experience is a therapeutic one and it always made me feel better.

I haven’t had my car on the road over the past two years because university sucks away all my money and obviously gas prices have spiked too.

When my financial situation dropped to an all-time low this summer, I was left with no other choice but to purchase a bicycle for my daily commute to work. Considering I grew up in a region where owning a car was necessary to get anywhere in life, it was a tough enough transition just making the decision to purchase the damn thing.

It turned out to be an awesome idea. I own the crappiest bicycle on Earth, but boy, does it make me happy. I got it off Craigslist from a dude who thought I was way too excited about the piece of crap he was getting rid of. I learned how to tune it myself (thanks YouTube!), painted the fenders, got a basket and now it is the MOST ADORABLE LIL’ GUY EVER!

Despite the fact that over 70 percent of Toronto commuters travel by car, the city is relatively safe for cycling. Follow the rules of the road, pay attention, and you should be good to go! Here are the top 3 reasons why cycling turned out to be the best decision for me:

1. I saved $500 in transit fees over the past 4 months. My tuition fund is happy.

2. I get about an hour’s worth of exercise from cycling each day. I have killer legs. Yee.

3. It’s faster than transit. In fact some days when the TTC is EXTRA awful, I can walk home faster than the streetcar. Forty-five minute transit trip or 10 minute bike ride?

There are obviously plenty of other benefits to choosing cycling over driving or taking transit. These infographics featured on Fast Company illustrate these benefits well. It blows my mind that 70% of American car trips are on average less than 2 miles. That can be done so easily on a bike!! Just goes to show how our personal and environmental health would benefit so much from a higher percentage of commuters on two wheels.

Not only are we gradually seeing more accommodating infrastructure for cyclists in North American cities, but cycling itself is getting sexier. I’m still no cycling fanatic, but it’s hard to ignore some of the gorgeous bicycles (and people on them ;)) rolling around the city.

If you’re still not convinced, I want to leave you with some wicked innovations that are changing this method of transport for the better in terms of efficiency, sustainability and style.

Swedish designer duo Anna and Terese have invented the invisible bicycle helmet. It’s gorgeous, functional and revolutionary for a helmet. They have already raised 10 million dollars in venture capital and I’m sure they will do very, very well with the concept:

Cycling enthusiast and inventor Izhar Gafni has created a fully-functioning bicycle out of $9 worth of recycled cardboard and a thin plastic coating. Durability and safety are a bit concerning to me, but it’s a pretty cool feat regardless!

 

And if you really can’t beat ’em… get a hover bike.

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