The Low Road


Urban cycling 11

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Part XI: Fringe Benefits

Here’s more about the benefits of cycling:

* A half-hour each-way bike commute at a brisk 10 mph can burn more than 450 calories, the equivalent of a double cheeseburger from McDonald’s. It’s also good aerobic exercise that can help lower blood pressure and reduce the likelihood of heart disease.

* According to an EPA estimate, for every mile traveled, a typical passenger car emits 2.8 grams of polluting hydrocarbons, 20.9 grams of carbon monoxide and 0.9 pounds of carbon dioxide. Bicycles, of course, emit none of those pollutants. Cycling also contributes nothing to noise pollution.

* With gas at $3 a gallon, even a short, 5-mile commute can cost a lot — nearly $400 a year in a vehicle that gets 20 miles per gallon. And that doesn’t include the costs of maintenance, operation and depreciation. AAA estimates the total cost to operate a car this year is 52.2 cents a mile, bringing the annual cost of that 5-mile commute up to $1,278.90.

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