Three months in, benefits of bike commuting are paying off

BQ3a_2OCYAAFjxE.jpg largeFor the past couple of years, I’ve made a commitment to bike instead of drive as often as I can, and it is paying off in many ways.

So far in 2017, I’m off to a great start, thanks in part to mild winter weather, better gear, and an understanding and encouraging work place.

In 2016, my first full year of bike commuting, I reached my goal by biking more than 4,000 miles, including more than 2,000 miles biked during my work commutes. I saved money and got in better shape. I even wrote about bike commuting for RichmondOutside.com.

I kept the same goals for 2017, but I’m way ahead of pace. In the first three months of this year, I biked more than 1,300 miles, including 851 on my 45 commutes (I have driven to work 17 times, so I’ve biked more than 70% of the time). I’ve burned more than 38,000 calories (according to Strava’s calculations). That does not factor in the more than 300 miles I’ve biked to work-related bike trips and my park sites for my revision of the hiking book 60 Hikes Within 60 Miles of Richmond.

That translated to more than 42 gallons of fuel saved, the equivalent of approximately $83.87 not paid at the pump. Using the IRS’s standard mileage reimbursement rate of $0.54, that translates to about $459.81. (That IRS figure was the 2016 optional standard mileage rate used by the Internal Revenue Service to calculate the deductible costs of operating an automobile for business, charitable, medical or moving purposes.)

Overall, I’ve made a greater commitment to have fun with my bike commutes, which has lead me to ride my mountain bike to work more often this year. Out of my 45 commutes in the first three months, 14 have been on my mountain bike (258 commute miles by mountain bike and 425 miles total for 2017). I can bike through at least three parks and the University of Richmond along the way, which makes for a safer and more scenic route than just the neighborhood streets and the Huguenot Bridge.

I don’t expect to keep up this pace. I’ve learned that I appreciate the winter months more for biking, since I tend to perspire so much. We’ll see as warmer weather approaches, but happy to have had such a good start.

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