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What Bike Commuting Will Do for Your Butt

January 5, 2010

I have a challenge for all of you:

Bike to work.

Winter might seem like an inappropriate time to be touting cycling as a viable transportation option, but I swear it’s more do-able than you think (and, truth be told, I’ll probably be touting it come summer too). If you live in, say, Fargo, then you might have a sound argument against me, but if not, you probably just a need a solid pair of gloves and a good bit of resolve.

Get on a real bike, why don'tcha?

Two work-outs a day might sound like a lot, but when you break it down, it’s really not so bad. If you can do 30 minutes on the stationary bike at the gym in front of closed-captioned repeating CNN reports, then I assure you that you can do two sets of 30 minutes with the wind in your hair and the scenery passing by and the knowledge that you’re killing two birds—your commute and your work-out—with one stone.

Before you know it, you’ll actually start enjoying your commute.

Your morning rides will wake you up with a fresh chill that makes you feel extra-deserving of your first cup of coffee. Your afternoon rides will signal the end of the work day and spark admiration from colleagues who see you on their drive home.

Meanwhile, your gluts will be toning so fast you’ll feel the urge to accuse your “Butts of Steel” aerobics instructor of false advertising. According to the American Heart Association (AHA), a 150-pound cyclist burns 410 calories while pedaling 12 miles in an hour, which is the caloric equivalent of a fast-food hamburger.

My bike commute when I lived in D.C. was about seven miles each way, and I’d ride that in about 30-40 minutes. With a 14-mile round-trip time of 60-80 minutes, I didn’t always reach the AHA’s recommended velocity. Still, I swear I have never been more in shape than when I was commuting to work by bike. And all of this is to say nothing of the psychological and emotional perks of vigorous exercise that actually has a purpose.

Still skeptical?

You CAN bike to work (if not every day, then most days) if:

  • You live within 15 miles of your place of employment.
  • Your area of residence experiences fewer than five snowfalls per winter.
  • You have a comfortable, well-fitted, well-maintained bicycle.
  • You seriously want a butt that could make Billy Banks jealous.

Need more info?

The League of American Bicyclists has tons of information on how to start being a cyclist.


10 Comments leave one →
  1. pawl permalink
    January 6, 2010 10:02 pm

    After living in Boulder, CO and in Portland, OR for a few years each, I was pretty proud of myself to finally say that I bike year round. Even biking to work when we had our epic snowfall in pdx,or (4+ft!), when the transit system was paralyzed.

    I went back to MN in February ’09, about a year ago, when MN is most frigid, only to have my ego struck down a notch when one of my old film school buddies told me he biked from his neighborhood in south Minneapolis to his job in north downtown year round.
    I also visited my friend in Fargo, ND (which perhaps even more frigid) that same trip who brought me down yet another notch, when he told me he rides a fixie (or single speed, can’t remember) that he converted from a bike I apparently gave him, to work, year round.

    What’s your excuse, again?

  2. avaerewyck permalink
    January 7, 2010 1:46 pm

    Wow, North Dakotans are inspiring! Thanks for confiscating our excuses, Pawl. However, I’ll excuse my readers if they’re not quite as hardy as your die-hard cyclist friends. The coldest temp I ever bike-commuted in was 17 degrees, and I sort of regretted it once my toes started to ache pretty badly. I think the current cold snap in the Midwest has temps sinking well below that – so you all be careful out there!


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