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The Many CycleLogical Benefits of Riding a Bike

Before I begin, let me apologize to my non-American readers.  This Cyclelogical post uses statistics and numbers that are US-based.  That said, don’t let that take away from the overall message of this post which is this:  riding a bike is good for you in almost every conceivable way.


I’ve broken this post down into four main benefit buckets:

  1. Physical Health Benefits
  2. Environmental Benefits
  3. Mental Health Benefits
  4. Financial Benefits

I’m starting with what I think are the most obvious benefits, and ending with those which you might not otherwise think about. If I’ve missed anything, please let me know in the comment section!


The most obvious benefits that come from jumping back on your bike are the physical benefits.  It’s pretty intuitive for most people: ride a bike, get stronger muscles, lose weight, get into better shape.  It doesn’t take any mental gymnastics to grasp this.  But let’s run through some of the benefits anyway.

  • Heart Health
    • Riding a bike will increase your cardiovascular fitness. Cardiovascular means anything related to your heart and blood vessels. When someone does a “cardio workout” they are getting their heart rate up.  Increasing your heart rate has so many benefits outside of your heart health, including:
      • Stronger lungs
      • Increased bone density
      • Lower risk of some types of cancer
      • Better sleep
  • Trimmed Down Waistline & Self Confidence

    • Pumping those peddles on a regular basis will also decrease your body fat levels. Most people, when they begin to look better physically, also feel better about themselves and have increased self-confidence.
  • Improved Joints & Mobility
    • Joint pain can affect anybody, regardless of age. Sometimes that pain comes from arthritis, other times our joints suffer from being overweight or inactive.  Riding a bike is a great way to improve your joints and increase your mobility.
  • Muscle Strength
    • Perhaps the easiest benefit to recognize is the increased strength and flexibility that comes from stronger muscles. Your bike is powered by you.  In exchange for powering yourself around town, your body will begin to reward you with stronger muscles, which, in turn, makes powering your bike easier. It’s a beautiful cycle (pun intended).
  • Coordination
    • Getting back on the bike will also improve your posture and coordination.  Remember what your mother said about good posture!


I didn’t want this post to go all green, but there are so many environmental benefits that come from riding a bike that I have to include them here.

  • Zero Emissions
    • The average car emits about six tons of carbon dioxide per year (one gallon of gasoline produces about 20 pounds of CO2).  A bike produces zero.
    • There are currently about 250 million cars on the road in America and each one is producing, on average, six tons of CO2 annually.
    • More people biking means fewer cars on the roads, fewer gallons of gasoline and diesel fuel being burned, and a cleaner environment for everyone.
  • Less Congestion
    • Fewer cars on the road due to more people biking could lead to less road congestion for those times when driving your car is necessary.
  • More Green Space. Less Pavement
    • With fewer cars on the road, there would be less demand on our current infrastructure, which could lead to fewer roads being built and parking lots developed.  Inversely, that could lead to more parks and trails.
  • Natural Resources
    • If there were less demand for cars, then fewer minerals would need to be mined from the earth in order to build them. I can’t imagine the amount of energy that goes into mining the earth for the resources required to build a car, but it has got to be huge.  Yes, I’m aware that natural resources are required to produce a bicycle, but the amount required to create a full size Chevy pickup vs. your average 35 pound Diamond Back mountain bike isn’t even in the same ballpark.


Maybe a bit less obvious than the physical benefits you’ll get from riding a bike, are the mental benefits.  But once you start thinking about it, it’s easy to see that biking has many CycleLogical benefits as well!

  • Reduces stress, anxiety, and provides temporary relief from depression
    • One side effect of the physical benefits you’ll experience is reduced anxiety and temporary relief from depression. This is tied directly back to the cardiovascular benefits because exercising is kind of like fertilizer for your brain.  Riding a bike leads to an increased heart rate.  Increased heart rate leads to more blood flowing to your brain.  More oxygen to your brain is a good thing.  Scientists aren’t exactly sure why cycling increases the production of serotonin and dopamine (the happiness-inducing chemicals in your brain), but it does.  Additionally, biking for longer periods of time can also lead to increased production of the feel-good chemicals like endorphins and cannabinoids.  In short, biking makes you happy.
  • Better Sleep
    • Riding a bike is a physical activity that can wear you out, which can help you sleep better at the end of the day. And a better night’s rest can actually help to further reduce your stress levels, boost your memory, and may even help you live longer!


The first wealth is health, as they say, and we’ve just covered several reasons how and why riding your bike can improve your overall health, but it can also fatten your wallet.  A lot!

  • Up-front costs
    • The average cost of a new vehicle in the U.S. is currently $33,560 (and that number is climbing). The average cost of a bicycle is less than $500.  Sure you can spend up to $10,000 on killer bike, but that’s complete overkill for the vast majority of us.  Just like spending more than $50,000 on a vehicle is complete overkill for the majority of people.
  • Maintenance and Upkeep
    • Save money on gasoline & vehicle upkeep. In addition to the upfront cost of buying a car or truck, you’ve also got the cost of maintaining the vehicle.  Things like tires, oil changes, filters, spark plugs, belts, etc. quickly eat up your hard earned cash.
  • Less Taxes
    • No state safety and emissions testing. Your bike doesn’t need to have annual approval from the state to stay on the road but guess what does?  Your car.
    • No property tax. Your car is an “asset” and as such, you get to pay an annual property tax on that asset.  Not so with a bike.
    • No driver license required. No fees to pay for a driving class.
  • Gym Memberships
    • Quit paying for a gym membership. If you begin to ride your bike more than you drive your car, forget that gym membership.  You’ll quickly get into great shape (see the physical and mental benefits again for additional proof that a gym membership isn’t necessary when you ride your bike).
  • Investment Opportunities
    • Assume you take all of these savings and invest that money into an actual asset, like a Total Stock Market Index Fund. Your money will then grow at an average rate of 7% per year, after adjusting for inflation.  The true cost of owning and driving a vehicle is staggering when you take a moment to think about it.

#RidingABike is #goodForYou in almost every conceivable way, including #physically, #mentally, #environmentally, and #financially. It's all #cyclelogical!

Chime in!

So many benefits just from making the decision to ride a bike! I’m sure I’ve missed many others, so let me know what they are in the comment section below.  And as always, thank you for reading.

By Ty Roberts

Ty Roberts is the founder of Camp FIRE Finance, and a husband and father of four living in the Seattle area. He's a fan of the 4% rule, 80s movies and music, dad jokes and cast iron cooking.

25 replies on “The Many CycleLogical Benefits of Riding a Bike”

Great post Ty,
There are so many benefits to biking! I actually bought a bike last year, however, I haven’t really been using it much. It’s a great way to get around the city. And like you said, there are so many health benefits including a trimmed down waistline. When I was biking I really noticed this. I would go to the gym for weight lifting and biking was my cardio. Thanks for sharing the helpful reminder Ty!

I would love to be able to bike to work. Unfortunately, the suburbs are remarkable un-bikeable where we live. Our home backs up to miles of trails, though. They just connected some that would allow cyclists to travel all the way to Starved Rock (about an hour car ride away). Right now, I’m happy hiking, jogging, walking, and rollerblading for fun. Maybe I’ll get a bike one day.

Once, I tried to figure out a bus schedule. I love public transportation (what a weirdo!). I would love to a reverse commute out of Chicago into the burbs but my husband would probably divorce me (only 70% kidding). Unfortunately, I can drive myself to work in 15 minutes. There are no direct bus routes, so it would probably take a transfer and at least 30-40 minutes. So…driving and listening to podcasts it is!

I love biking! We used to ride quite a bit, but haven’t as much since the kids are now more into driving cars than riding bikes. I love going on the trails early in the morning – there is something about morning in nature that is so peaceful. We aren’t in a location where we can to bike to work/school yet. The school thing will likely never happen, considering they’re teens and, I guess, it’s just not cool to ride your bike to high school. But biking for errands and to work is very appealing. Thanks for sharing, Ty!

Biking to school and work isnt’ feasible for us right now either, but I do try and take my bike to the grocery store when we just have a few things to pick up. So yeah, even just getting on my bike to run some errands is better than not riding at all!

Riding a bike is often and I did it a lot when I lived in the city and we grew up on the various bike trails on the weekend. Now I live in hill country where they put ashpalt over the wagon trails with no bike shoulder. So, out of love for my wife and her concern for my safety, our biking consists of the two-mile backroad we live on and vacation. There are one or two diehard century riders that bike in our neck of the woods, but that’s about the extent of it.

I jsut sold my dream car this weekend and have $20,000 to spend on more important things than insurance and keeping a small fortune tied up in a depreciating asset. If I could I would ride my bike more often.

2012 Mustang GT 6-speed. It was fun, but children are more fun & car seats must’ve been an after thought for the sports car designers.

I felt old selling it because the boy I sold it to was 22 years old. I was 25 when I purchased it. I told him to enjoy it while he still could 😉

Nice list, Ty!

In that Mental Health Category, I think it’s fair to tuck in something about improved creativity. Exercise of any form helps in this regard, but being outside for stretches of physical activity and movement – whether walking, jogging or biking – has been linked to better creativity too. So, I guess you could say that riding your bike might be the best way to build a better mouse trap – which would be kind of a great investment opportunity…so maybe we should also add “better mouse trap” under the Financial Benefits category!

Thanks for the good read.

hey Libre – I’m still looking for that *thing* that will have the world beating a path to my door…maybe I need to think about it more while I’m biking instead of while I’m wallowing in self pity at my fill time job. 🙂

Seriously though, I wonder if having music blasting in my noggin as I bike/run dampens some of the benefits. My mind isn’t a free to wonder when I’m doing my one man karaoke show while I’m out biking. Next time I’ll try leaving the head phones behind and see what happens.

great pointers Ty. Riding a bike rules. I started biking to work and couldn’t believe how much it made a difference in both the start and finish to my day. I guess another cyclelogical benefit is that it makes you not have as much road rage and want to go Hulk style on people.

I’m sold! If only more people picked up on biking… That’s what runs through my mind as I zip along free and clear of rush hour traffic, crossing overpasses with cars clogging up the lanes below. I plan to sell my car in the near future and go bike only.

Cycling is a great way to help your workout and exercise. When you want to ride on daily cycle to reducing your extra calory you can take a top hybrid bike for your regular cycling exercise.

It’s not only road biking that has health benefits – but we are seeing so many people getting into mountain biking recently for its numerous health benefits, specifically increased cardio vascular benefits. Fresh mountain air is also a great benefit.
We’ve just added a few of our top tips on mountain biking over at our blog if your readers were interested in the mountain biking pursuit

Couldn’t agree more, Blake. I’m a wannabe mountain biker and just got back from a biking trip to Southern California where we ran into a group of guys over 60 years old that we’re ripping it up – awesome! Thanks for stopping by

I find it cool that you said that biking can help produce more serotonin and dopamine, which can reduce anxiety levels in persons. When you said that, it convinced me to plan a biking trip with my family this summer. My tip for those who want to start is to find a scenic biking trail. Finding one will help everyone learn to appreciate the beauty of nature and breathe fresh air while riding on bikes.

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