From fatter wallets to smaller waistlines, more Americans than ever are discovering the benefits of cycling to work: According to the League of American Bicyclists, bike commuting in the U.S. increased 44 percent from 2000 to 2009.
#1 Bike commuting keeps you sharp
Forget the dumb jock stereotype–biking to work is exactly the aerobic exercise your brain needs. Activities that require balance, quick reactions and decision-making skills–such as cycling–have been shown to control ADHD in children, and a Vanderbilt University study suggests that these activities may help adults with focus and concentration too. Also, a University of Illinois and University of Pittsburgh joint study found that physically fit participants performed 40 percent better on memory tests.
#2 Riding burns off workday stress
Research has shown that vigorous exercise – such as biking to work – is so effective at quelling anxiety and depression that some patients have been able to reduce or eliminate the use of anti-depressant medications. In a study at the University of Southern Mississippi, participants who suffered from generalized anxiety disorder and exercised at 60 to 90 percent of their maximum heart rates for three 20-minute sessions per week saw significant decreases in anxiety sensitivity and fear after just two workouts.
#3 You’ll arrive at your desk happier
A German study discovered something that cyclists have known for a long time: cycling gets us high. Exercise increases your body’s production of endorphins–and sends them to the same parts of the brain that are activated when we fall in love.
Plus, other studies have shown that exposure to plants and the outdoors has been linked to reduced aggression in inner-city residents.
#4 Riding for transportation is real cycling
If you’re looking to become a stronger cyclist or get more fit – and who isn’t? – biking to work will add real miles to your training log, helping to build fitness and lose weight. And if your commute is long enough to serve as your training ride, you’ve just added more free hours to your day.
#5 If your trip is less than 5 miles, riding trumps driving
It could take you just as long to drive to your destination and find a parking spot as it does to ride.
#6 “There’s no shower at work” is no excuse
In a survey of hundreds of bike commuters in North America, Dave Glowacz, author of Urban Bikers’ Tips and Tricks, found that 85 percent don’t bother to shower after reaching their destination. Change your clothes, and keep a stash of baby wipes in your desk drawer for quick clean-ups.
#7 Any bike can be a commuter bike
The best bike depends on the distance and terrain you cover, and whether or not you’ll have to lock it outside. It could be the rusty mountain bike or cruiser in your garage, your regular road bike or a dedicated commuter bike.
#8 Ride like you drive
Cyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as motorists, so follow all traffic laws, signal where you’re going and ride predictably. Rural commutes aren’t much different from recreational rides. In urban areas, traffic will be heavier, but also slower, so you may be able to take the whole lane.
#9 It’s not always fastest to ride fast
The need for sudden stops can hijack momentum. Commuting becomes almost a zen art, and a hell of a lot of fun, if you go with the flow of timed lights and traffic.
#10 You don’t have to go all the way
Bring a few changes of clothes to the office when you drive there on Monday morning. Commute back and forth by bike Monday evening through Friday morning. Drive home Friday after work. Or, drive partway (preferably beyond that dangerous stretch of highway), park your car and ride the remaining distance to work. You can also drive in and ride home one day, then ride in and drive home the next. Even commuting by bike just once a week helps keep the air – and you – healthier.
Original post with PICTURES at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/05/19/bike-to-work-2011-commuting-tips_n_864307.html#s280855&title=Tip_1_Bike