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Matthieu Tober and Yann Moszynski, long-time cyclists in Paris and Amsterdam, are convinced that the bicycle is the vehicle of the future. The pair created the ‘Les Rookies’ website, and wrote a ‘How-to’ guide to urban cycling; here are 10 reasons you should get on your bike.

01 – Revitalise local shops 🛍

‘No parking, no business’: this dictum, dreamt up in the 1950s, would have us believe that local businesses would die without enabling customers to drive there, and it’s still entrenched in the public imagination. But it’s completely false.

Over the past few years, numerous studies from around the world have proved the benefits of ‘soft mobility’ for shopkeepers.

Whether in Paris, Rennes, Strasbourg, Lille, London, New York, San Francisco, Madrid, Barcelona, Portland, Auckland, Dublin, Los Angeles, Vancouver, Toronto, Seattle or Melbourne (to cite but a few examples), the studies are unanimous: ‘no bikes, no business’. The results all say the same thing: cyclists spend more money, more often, and are more loyal to the shops they visit.

It shouldn’t be a surprise, given that getting around on, and parking, a bike is easier and faster, and actually saves you money!

The Rookies resources:

Forbes : Cyclists Spend 40% More In London’s Shops Than Motorists
Citylab : Every Study Ever Conducted on the Impact Converting Street Parking Into Bike Lanes Has on Businesses
European Cyclists’ Federation : Shopping by bike
El Diario : Un estudio del BBVA encargado por el Ayuntamiento revela que las ventas crecieron en Navidad en Madrid Central
GART : Mobilité et villes moyennes
Alternatives économiques : Commerces de proximité : en finir avec le dogme du « no parking, no business »

02 – Bring cities back to life 🌳

That said, bikes benefit society as a whole, not just shops: less noise, less pollution, less taxes; improved public safety, social interaction and health – they simply make towns nicer. 

Take air pollution: you’re obviously reducing your individual footprint and, although it might feel like you’re paying the price for other people’s pollution by breathing in car fumes on your morning commute, one of the benefits of being on your bike is that you can go places that cars can’t.The British newspaper, The Guardian, said that cyclists find it easier to avoid heavily congested roads than motorists meaning cyclists spend half as much time in polluted environments.

If you record your rides on Strava and tag it as a “Commute”, you can contribute to Strava Metro which partners with urban planners, city governments, safe infrastructure advocates and academics to make active transport – cycling and walking – more accessible, safe and efficient for everyone. If you want to know more about Strava Metro, take a look here.

03 – Free yourself from public transport 🎈

Right now, many of us are looking for a practical alternative to public transport – we get that! Cycling offers the practicality and reliability you’re looking for. Say goodbye to unexpected delays, strikes, packed carriages and fixed timetables… say hello to space and freedom!

If you live at a distance from the town centre, think about mixed-modality possibilities. Many stations offer secure bike parking, and most train operators provide dedicated bike spaces in their carriages. 

The Rookie experience: 

Rookie Yann travels the same journey from the outer suburbs into the capital daily. By putting his bike on the train, he halves his journey time, cutting out the connections between buses and Metros and he avoids the waiting that is associated with public transport.

04 – Rediscover your city 👀

Ever had a moment when you’re driving through a city and you see a cool shop or interesting alleyway you’d like to explore but it’s gone in a flash? Unlike motor vehicles or public transport, bikes allow you to travel through streets and neighborhoods that you otherwise might never have seen. And it’s far easier to make a stop or take a detour, provided you’re not running late for work! 

By riding a bike, you’re no longer a passive passenger on your train or car seat. You’re part of the city and you’ll see things from a completely different angle. 

For even more inspiration, use the new Strava Route Builder or Segment Explore to discover unexpected itineraries on tarmac or road. 

The Rookie experience:

As mentioned above, Yann works in Paris but doesn’t live there. During the week, he travels all around the city for meetings, shopping trips or just to get out and about. The result is that, although he isn’t Parisian, he can guide you better than anyone through the streets of the French capital.

He’s a real GPS device – much more knowledgeable than many dyed-in-the-wool Parisians who only travel on the Metro. He’s totally convinced: “Without my bike I’d be 10 ft underground in the Metro, and I’d never have been able to discover all this city’s nooks and crannies.

05 – Get your workout in 💪

If you ride your bike for 20 minutes each morning and evening in the working week, rather than sitting in a car, you’ll have done three hours, 20 minutes of cardio before it’s even time for weekend adventures! Even if you’re riding easy, cycling strengthens your legs and works your glutes – the perfect antidote to a day spent staring at a computer. 

Cycling is definitely a physical activity, but you don’t have to go hard. You will quickly learn to measure your effort and avoid any risk of overheating or sweating.

Whatever the intensity of your pedaling, your body will thank you!

Use Strava to keep track of your progress: it will show you the distance, time and speed of your journey, but also the number of calories burned and the total number of kilometres (or miles) you’ve done this year – just check your Training Log to see how far you’ve come.

06 – Improve your physical and mental health 💓

The Telegraph stated that as well as toning your muscles, cycling also improves your respiratory system, boosts your immune system, combats obesity, reduces the risk of heart disease and mental health problems. It boosts your productivity, concentration, pain threshold and your sense of direction… reduces stress… helps you sleep better.

Yup, all of that.

In short: live a long and happy life on the bike. We can’t all be like Robert Marchand – the famous 107-year-old French cyclist who keeps breaking records – but we can all be slightly more like him! 

And, if you begin to feel like you want to push yourself, Strava will help you define your goals and track your progress. 

07 – Save time and always be punctual ⏱

In a city like Paris, the speed of the average car is estimated at 16km/h (10mph) – easily achievable on a bike, even by a newbie. 

Bikes are barely affected by changing traffic conditions. Which means that, whether it’s the middle of August, or rush hour on the first day back at school, your journey time will be relatively similar. With Strava’s Route Builder you can see which roads are popular with local cyclists, helping you avoid busy streets or dead ends. 

It all goes to show that cycling has the best claim to being the most reliable and efficient urban transport.

The Rookie experience:

One April evening, Matthieu was on his way to a work meeting when he got a call from his wife, saying she had gone into labor and that she needed him to take her to hospital. Matthieu knew that by cycling he could be home in 15 minutes – whereas by public transport he would have had to change twice and spend 40 minutes on the Metro. If he didn’t already know how much faster a bike was for getting around town, he did now!

08 – Start the day with the best foot forward ☀️

There’s probably not many of you out there who’d declare that you love your morning commute to work, and that you look forward to it impatiently every morning.

But a study conducted by Statistics Canada found that 66 percent of cyclists were ‘very satisfied’ with their journeys – compared with only 32 percent of drivers and 25 percent of public transport users. 

And, once you arrive at work, you’ll be more effective too. A study led by French organization Medef, showed that workplaces that encouraged employees to cycle had productivity gains of between 2.5 and 9.1 percent. 

A bit of fresh air every morning means fresh ideas when you get to your desk!

09 – Make it rain 💸

With a bit of careful searching, you’ll find a second-hand bike for €100 – or around £90/$110 – or a new one for two or three times that amount. Count on another hundred or so for bike gear and you’ll be ready to roll. We’ll let you do the comparison with the purchase price and running costs of a car…

In addition, you should be able to do most simple maintenance and repairs yourself, with very few tools, some instructions and online tutorials. 

You can even add your bike to your Strava gear list so you can track your mileage and know when it’s time for a tune-up. 

There’s a reason so many students have bikes! 

The Rookie experience: 

Here’s a list of Yann’s ‘major works’ on the bike he bought in 2016: 

December 2018: comprehensive service – €36
December 2018: new tyres – €46
May 2019: new chain and breaks – €107
May 2019: new bar tape – €25
Total: €214 (£190/$230) 

All the small maintenance tasks were performed at home, with online help.

10 – Find a friend ✌️

Cyclists really are one big family. From the lycra-clad racer to the city worker on a municipal hire bike, to the family and their cargo bike, everyone can find a bike that suits their needs, their style and their expectations.

Don’t hesitate to ask advice from someone close to you – a colleague or a neighbor who you often see riding. No doubt, they will gladly share their experience to help you get started!

More than 60 million users on Strava are sharing their routes, creating clubs and cheering each other on – a truly friendly community that’s getting bigger every day. Come join the Rookies club!

 


 

We’re willing to bet our bicycles that you’ll soon develop a taste for getting around on a bicycle. To try it is to love it.

We can’t wait to see you on the road, and we hope that, soon, your bicycle will open up your neighborhood, the whole city or even further afield. 

And remember: what goes up… must come down! 

Sources :

Forbes : Cyclists Spend 40% More In London’s Shops Than Motorists
Citylab : Every Study Ever Conducted on the Impact Converting Street Parking Into Bike Lanes Has on Businesses
European Cyclists’ Federation : Shopping by bike
The Guardian : Cyclists ‘exposed to less air pollution than drivers’ on busy routes
Statistics Canada : Commuting to work: Results of the 2010 General Social Survey
GART : Mobilité et villes moyennes
Alternatives économiques : Commerces de proximité : en finir avec le dogme du « no parking, no business »
Medef : La première étude sur l’impact économique de l’activité physique et sportive sur l’entreprise, le salarié et la société
El Diario : Un estudio del BBVA encargado por el Ayuntamiento revela que las ventas crecieron en Navidad en Madrid Central