The global pandemic forced many countries to adapt to curb the spread of the virus. Lockdowns and travel restrictions brought their fair share of challenges for every city, and society, at large, had no choice but to face the repercussions.
No matter the country, there have been common denominators that have affected individuals regardless of location. Aside from the physical effects of the virus, there’s been a growing concern regarding another epidemic on the rise: mental health.
However, despite the negative implications of COVID-19, there’s no denying the tiny sliver of a silver lining; COVID’s impact on climate change. Fewer cars on the road meant drastically lower carbon emissions which allowed our planet to breathe.
Cyclists have definitely played their part in helping save the world during this time, and in turn, biking has helped cyclists during this tough time.
If you haven’t started biking already, here’s why you should.
Help save the world from climate change.
Transport is definitely a carbon-intensive sector reliant on its still heavy use of fossil fuels. But since the pandemic, 65% of global cities examined experienced better air quality in 2020 as compared to 2019 (thank you, COVID). According to IQAir’s 2020 World Air Quality Report, this was caused by the lower emissions from the various industries and the transport sector through the numerous lockdowns.
One way to make this sustainable is to swap cars for cycling, walking, and e-biking. The average person who shifts from using a car to a bike just for a day per week can cut their carbon footprint by 3.2kg of CO2!
With the drop in carbon footprint seen during the pandemic, cities and governments have taken note. Several Canadian cities set up temporary bike lanes to accommodate the pandemic cycling boom, and are now planning to extend their bike lane networks and make them more permanent.
The federal government even recently announced Canada’s first active transportation fund of $400 million that will go towards providing safe and new cycling paths and trails.
Access to a much welcome rebate
British Columbia has always been known as an active province, but with the government offering a $1050 rebate to those who swap their vehicles for e-bikes, it’s a juicy cherry on the cake for those who haven’t yet taken to biking.
Improve mental health
A survey conducted by Cycleplan found that 75% of cyclists noticed improvements in their mental health since getting on a bike. Out of all the participants, 8% even mentioned it helped with their depression or anxiety.
There’s nothing like a bike ride to get the blood pumping and endorphins rushing. Biking is a great pick-me-up that hasn’t yet reached the elite status prescribed to caffeine, but most definitely is making its way up the charts. Biking also offers a healthy dose of Vitamin D, social interaction, and of course, Canada’s breathtaking vistas.
Secure a feeling of ‘Belonging’
With more people and organizations getting behind the idea of cycling as a way of commuting, many organizations are offering incentives to their employees to bike to work with secure bike parking, and green initiatives to promote active travel and bike commute.
In cities like Toronto, bike to work days and months have been large celebrations that have been going steady for 23 years to get commuters out of gridlock and on to their bicycles.
Besides your company and the city wanting you to get out and on to your bike, there are even bike clubs such as GoByBike BC that advocate bike commuting through year-long community events.
When you have so many avenues that make riding fun and communal, it becomes more than just a sport or a way of commuting, it becomes a lifestyle with a bustling social circle to go with it.
If we’ve managed to inspire you to take up biking and you’re going to consider this seriously, we encourage you to think about your and your bike’s safety by getting the necessary insurance and bike registration in place.