Why You Should Bike to Work

Jesse Mulligan makes a case for riding a bike to work

Jesse Mulligan makes a case for riding a bike to work. Illustration / Lily Vallance.

I used to have a gym membership, but I never used it. My girlfriend at the time would say to me “just put your gear on and go, you’ll be glad that you did“. To prove her wrong, I would call her on my mobile phone from the treadmill, just to tell her that I wished I was still on the couch. It’s possible that people like me are not the gym’s target market; more depressingly, given that I paid for a two-year membership, it’s possible that people like me are the target market.

I’ve learned something about myself since then, which is that, given the choice, I will choose not to do exercise. The only way I will run, jump or skip is if I’m forced to — like if I was being chased by an angry mob of men with machetes (the skipping is important — it confuses them).

Then, this year, I discovered cycling to work. I’d just got a new job at Radio New Zealand and unlike TVNZ, where presenters get a free carpark and a daily buff and shine by women in bikinis, the state radio broadcaster makes you pay for your parking space. This was just the sort of motivation I needed.

So I began biking to work each day, which was a bit like being chased with a machete — I didn’t enjoy it much, but it got me doing some exercise and, if I did it right, there was only a slight chance of death.

Now I’m encouraging you to start biking to work too because, like ex-smokers and fundamentalist Christians, we cyclists can’t stop ourselves convincing others to adopt our lifestyle. So here’s the pitch: you’ll guarantee some daily exercise, you’ll be helping the environment and you’ll save yourself money on parking. Plus, a new bike is cheaper than a gym membership and, I’m pleased to report, there’s much less chance of coming across a naked stranger straddling a bench seat, using a communal appliance to blow-dry their damp, hairy body.

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New Zealand Herald

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