Urban Cycling

We Asked 200+ People WHY They Cycle And The Truth Surprised Us

cyclist going down road

This post may contain affiliate links, which help to keep Discerning Cyclist rolling. Learn more.

Have you ever wondered why people actually ride a bicycle?


Oh. Well, I have.

So I asked our audience on Facebook, why they choose to ride a bicycle and over 200 people responded. The responses were incredible. It was a real insight into how people navigate their own challenges and journeys through life.

I then analyzed the responses, grouped them into categories (e.g., health, money, etc.), and ranked them by the most popular. This is what we found:

1. “So I Can Eat More Cake”

Cycling for exercise and health stands out as a predominant reason many choose to ride, reflecting a universal recognition of its extensive benefits.

Riding a bicycle is not only a low-impact activity that can improve cardiovascular health, muscle strength, and flexibility, but it also serves as a significant calorie burner aiding in weight management.

According to the Harvard Medical School, a 155-pound person can burn approximately 298 calories in 30 minutes of casual cycling, showcasing its efficiency as a fitness activity (Harvard Health Publishing).

Individuals like Alexander Moore highlight personal motivations, echoing this sentiment, stating, “Health. I was diagnosed with several chronic illnesses several years ago for which exercise is an effective treatment.”

This encapsulates the dual appeal of cycling: its capability to support physical health and serve as a therapeutic activity, enhancing overall well-being. The blend of empirical health benefits with personal testimonials underlines the role of cycling as a cornerstone in maintaining an active, healthy lifestyle.

Cycling commute

2. “Faster Than Traffic, Cheaper Than Trains”

Choosing cycling as a primary mode of commute and transportation reflects a growing trend towards sustainability, efficiency, and convenience. The environmental benefits are significant; cycling produces zero emissions, directly contributing to cleaner air and reduced traffic congestion.

A study by the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy suggests that increasing cycling rates could save society $24 trillion globally by 2050 due to reduced CO2 emissions and lower energy consumption.

Moreover, urban dwellers find cycling a time-efficient option. In cities crammed with cars, bicycles often maneuver through traffic faster, making it an appealing choice for daily commutes.

Steve Waterworth articulates this perfectly: “It’s cheaper, often faster and definitely healthier.” This statement captures the essence of why many turn to bikes for transportation, highlighting not just the practicality and environmental impact but also the health advantages over sedentary car journeys.

Cycling for commuting and transportation isn’t just about getting from A to B; it’s a lifestyle choice that champions sustainability, health, and efficiency.

Cycling outdoors

3. “Exploring Nature’s Wonders on Two Wheels”

Embracing cycling to immerse oneself in nature and the outdoors is a testament to the desire for a deeper connection with the environment. This motivation goes beyond physical exercise, embodying a quest for tranquility, beauty, and a break from the hustle and bustle of daily life.

Cycling allows for an intimate experience of landscapes, changing seasons, and the subtle details of the natural world that go unnoticed from behind the windshield of a car.

Karen Jackson’s remark, “it’s amazing seeing God’s landscape,” echoes a common sentiment among cyclists: the awe and reverence for the natural beauty encountered on rides. This connection to the outdoors is not only soul-enriching but also reinforces the importance of preserving our natural surroundings.

The ability to explore and appreciate the environment firsthand motivates cyclists to advocate for and engage in more eco-conscious living.

In essence, cycling for the love of nature and the outdoors is a holistic approach that nurtures the body, mind, and spirit, offering a unique blend of adventure, exploration, and environmental stewardship.

Cycling happy

4. “Pedaling Stress Away”

Cycling’s role in enhancing mental health and relieving stress is increasingly recognized as one of its most valuable benefits.

The rhythmic, aerobic nature of cycling promotes the release of endorphins, the body’s natural mood elevators, helping to reduce anxiety and depression.

This physical activity also aids sleep quality and stress management, making it a potent tool for mental well-being.

Greg Roemer’s statement, “Feels good… I have never gone on a bike ride and at the end wished I never went,” captures the essence of cycling’s mental health benefits. It highlights how the psychological rewards are undeniable regardless of the initial effort it might take to start.

Cycling, combined with physical exertion and being outdoors, creates a meditative effect, allowing for a mental reset.

In a world where mental health issues are on the rise, cycling offers a simple, accessible means to support mental health. Its ability to combine exercise with exposure to nature and a break from the digital world makes it a multifaceted therapy for the mind.

Cycling childhood joy

5. “Rediscovering Childhood Joy”

Cycling stands out not just for its health or practical benefits but significantly for the sheer fun and joy it brings to riders. This aspect of cycling transcends age, fitness level, and purpose, tapping into the universal thrill of movement and speed.

The sensation of gliding on two wheels offers a unique form of liberation and happiness reminiscent of childhood freedom.

Renato Piereck articulates this feeling well: “Cause it’s fun!! Also, I’m 49, getting older every day, and it’s the exercise I like the most.” His words underline how cycling revives a youthful spirit, a sentiment echoed by many who find cycling an escape into exhilaration and joy.

It’s not just about getting somewhere or staying fit; it’s about the journey and the moments of bliss in the ride.

Cycling for fun and joy reiterates the simple pleasures that enrich our lives. It’s a celebration of life’s journey, encouraging us to pause, savor the moment, and revel in the happiness of riding a bike.

Cycling friends

6. “Connecting With Others”

Cycling fosters a strong sense of community and social connection, bringing together people from diverse backgrounds with a shared passion.

Group rides, cycling clubs, and community events provide motivation and a sense of belonging and offer opportunities for social interaction and making new friends.

The communal aspect of cycling cultivates a supportive network, encouraging riders of all levels to engage, learn, and grow together.

Florenz Abarquez’s perspective, “Because part of happiness and friendship,” succinctly captures the essence of cycling’s social benefit. It’s not just about the physical act of riding but also about the relationships built and strengthened along the way.

This communal activity promotes inclusivity, teamwork, and camaraderie, making it a powerful medium for social bonding.

The social and community aspect of cycling enriches the experience, transforming it from a solitary activity into a shared journey. It highlights cycling’s role in building connections, fostering friendships, and creating a supportive and welcoming community.

Cycling adventure

7. “Every Ride an Adventure…”

Cycling as a means for adventure and exploration taps into the human desire for discovery and challenge. This aspect of riding encourages cyclists to venture into unknown territories, tackle new trails, or embark on long-distance journeys, offering a sense of accomplishment and the excitement of the unknown. The bicycle becomes a tool for exploration, allowing riders to access places that might be unreachable by other means of transport, uncover hidden gems, and experience the world from a unique vantage point.

Kent Morgan captures this sentiment, stating, “Started with exercise and to travel with less of an environmental impact, now it is also to be a part of nature. I enjoy experiencing the seasons.” His words highlight how cycling for adventure and exploration is deeply intertwined with a connection to the natural world, the changing seasons, and the environment.

Cycling for adventure and exploration embodies the spirit of curiosity and the pursuit of new experiences. It challenges riders physically and mentally, offering endless possibilities for personal growth and the joy of discovery. This dimension of cycling celebrates the journey itself, emphasizing that sometimes, the best adventures are found on the path less traveled.

Cycling environment

8. “Pedaling Towards a Greener Planet”

Choosing cycling for its environmental benefits reflects a growing consciousness about the impact of our transportation choices on the planet. Cycling is a zero-emission mode of transport, significantly reducing one’s carbon footprint compared to driving a car. This eco-friendly alternative helps combat climate change and reduces air pollution and noise in urban areas, making cities more livable and sustainable.

Steve Waterworth’s choice to cycle, “even though I have a car, it’s cheaper, often faster and definitely healthier,” touches on the personal benefits of cycling, which also align with broader environmental advantages. Cycling as a primary mode of transportation is a proactive step towards preserving our environment for future generations.

Cycling for environmental reasons is a testament to the power of individual actions in contributing to global sustainability efforts. It underscores the role of cycling as a means of transport and a commitment to a greener, healthier planet. This motivation aligns personal health and well-being with environmental stewardship, offering a holistic approach to living sustainably.

Saving money

9. “Saving Money, Riding Happy”

Cycling, as an economic choice, highlights its role in reducing personal and societal costs. Opting for a bicycle over a car can significantly cut down on expenses related to fuel, maintenance, parking, and even the costs associated with traffic congestion. For many, cycling is not just a budget-friendly alternative but a strategic decision to minimize living expenses and contribute to a more sustainable economy.

Ja Van illustrates the economic advantage: “It’s cheaper than a motorcycle and car, and faster than a skateboard. Any other vehicle is more expensive to take on the boat.” This comment emphasizes the cost-efficiency of cycling, especially in unique commuting scenarios where other modes of transport could incur higher costs.

Choosing cycling for its economic benefits reflects a pragmatic approach to personal finance and environmental responsibility. It offers a clear path to savings, both for the individual and the community, by promoting a mode of transport that demands less from our wallets and the environment. This perspective underlines the practicality of cycling as an accessible and financially viable option for daily transport needs.

cycling freedom

10. “Embracing Freedom”

Cycling as a symbol of freedom and independence resonates deeply with many riders. This perspective celebrates the bike as a means to self-reliance, autonomy, and liberation from the constraints of conventional transportation methods. Bicycles empower individuals to set their own pace, choose their routes, and explore without the need for fuel, schedules, or roads accessible by motor vehicles.

Carl Costas captures this sentiment, expressing, “Because I’m just a kid with his bike…” This simple yet profound statement touches on the essence of cycling’s appeal – the return to a carefree state where exploration and mobility are entirely under one’s control. Cycling reintroduces the joy and simplicity of moving through space, unencumbered by the complexities of adult life.

Choosing cycling for freedom and independence is not just about physical movement; it’s a philosophical choice that values simplicity, self-sufficiency, and the pleasure of being unbound. It reflects a desire to engage with the world directly, experience the environment with all senses, and embrace the journey as much as the destination. This aspect of cycling celebrates the spirit of adventure and the enduring human quest for autonomy and personal space.

Share the 🚲 Love

Discerning Cyclist Store

Visit the Discerning Cyclist's Shop

Ride in style

Join our weeky newsletter to get early access to our latest discoveries.

Related reads