Happy Friday – The Happiest Commute?

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My reliable ride, GoGo.

Poking around the interwebs yesterday, I ran across this piece on how your mode of travel affects your mood.  While this article seems to exaggerate the actual differences that the study found (here’s the abstract), I am happy to report that cyclists came out on top.  When compared to drivers of cars, passengers in cars, and those that take public transportation, bicycle commuters are the happiest of the bunch.

Anecdotally, This Is What I’ve Found

One of the things that’s been so interesting about telling friends that we sold the Jeep and I’m bike commuting exclusively is how supportive they’ve been* and also, a little jealous of all my bike commuting.  And the biggest part of it is that they can tell I’m a LOT happier now.

It’s not that I was particularly unhappy before I started bike commuting, it was just that I managed to bring the stress of work home with me in the car.  I don’t know exactly why, but that just doesn’t happen in nearly the same way with a bicycle.  There’s something about getting moving at the end of every work day that wipes most of the work stress from my life.   Weird, right?  But totally true.  It’s just hard to stay solidly ticked off when you’re pedaling past golf courses and get to pause on the bridge when you see dolphins playing just below you on the water.

Bike commuting is also an odd sort of community in a way that I never found driving to be.  I pass many of the same walkers and bikers, and students waiting for the school bus (though I guess now that school’s out I’ll see them again in the fall!) every day.  And being a part of even a loose community like that changes the way that I feel and interact with my surroundings in a positive way.

Other Trickle Down Effects Are Great

And there’s another positive side effect – my normally slightly lazy immune system is doing a much better job of keeping germs at bay ever since I started biking.  It used to be the case that whenever one of Mr PoP’s coworkers showed up to work with a cough, I’d inevitably come down with that cough two days later.  This past winter… nothing.  And Mr PoP even took a couple of hits from various viruses.  I’m not an MD, but my guess is that I’m fighting colds off better because I’m not nearly as stressed all the time from work.

Biking Isn’t About the Monetary Savings For Us

This is primarily a personal finance blog, so when we talk about biking, or selling the Jeep and becoming a one-car household, we usually end up talking about the money.  But the fact of the matter is that if I didn’t enjoy this as much as I do, we would definitely not have gone down this road.  (Pardon the pun.)  We earn a good living, and it wouldn’t be worth adding tons more stress to our lives for the sake of a few dollars.  But the fact that it removes stress AND saves a few dollars… well that’s just a bonus.

Is Biking the Perfect Commute?

I don’t think biking is perfect.  Some days I wish for a slightly shorter bike commute.  And for the next month or so I’ve got to make sure I ride with my mouth closed on evenings when the flying ants are out in full force.  Those get more than a little gross.  But all in all, I know I’ve got a better commute than most.  And for that, today I’m having a Happy Friday!

Nontheless, perhaps the commuting grass is still greener elsewhere?  After all look at the commutes of Mr 1500, and Holly, and Michelle… how many steps is it from your bedroom to your home office, guys?

 

How are you getting to work today?  And how are you going to feel at the end of your commute?

 

* The only exception to this is Mr PoP’s 90-year-old uncle.  He thinks I’m going to be hit by a car, and is forgetting the fact that I’ve already been hit by a car… when I was driving one.  =/

21 comments to Happy Friday – The Happiest Commute?

  • I’ve learned that I need a short commute to unwind from the day. Without that commute, I have trouble leaving work at work. Amusingly enough, before I took on turning around this company……I was semi retired and working from the house. EVEN THEN I needed time to decompress. Two long walks a day with our black lab were just what the doctor ordered!

    Ok, I’ve got to say it. I am jealous of your bike commute. Ride on Mrs POP
    -Bryan
    Income Surfer recently posted..Weekly Business Break: Always Selling!My Profile

  • I used to commute by bike and enjoyed the physical activity before getting home, you really relieve the stress. Sure it wasn’t fun on rainy days but I had proper gear so it was not too bad. Re the home office, it is hard to disconnect, so having no commute has that one drawback.
    Pauline recently posted..Home mortgage: one size doesn’t fit allMy Profile

  • My commute is that short too. :) I do enjoy riding my bike, but I am kicking myself for not getting a bike with several speeds. My extremely heavy one gear beach cruiser makes hills a spin class on crack. :) I’m thinking of saving up some money and maybe trading in my one gear for something else so I have motivation to ride more. I think it’s great you commute to work each day!
    Tonya@Budget and the Beach recently posted..Parades, Trips, & Link LoveMy Profile

  • I live in Boston and bike the 2.5 miles to work every day.

    Most days it’s great! The 10 minutes or so of heart-rate raising labor is a good way of centering myself before going into work. It’s also great for idea generation! On a day like today, when the weather is beautiful, I actually ride farther than I need to just because it’s so much fun. This morning I did 8 extra miles, and entered the office with a smile on my face.

    The days when it’s not great? Say 33 degrees and raining? I tell myself: “It’s just 10 minutes, you aren’t going to get frostbite in that amount of time.” And it’s true.
    Mr. Frugalwoods recently posted..Weekly Woot & GrumbleMy Profile

  • I appreciate my car’s air conditioning. :)

    I do have colleagues who commute by bike even in this weather (I think they’ll stop when it hits actual triple digits instead of just the 90s), but the one I saw yesterday looked awfully wilted. In the winter it seems more plausible but we still have that problem that the road to work is a highway with no bike lane for most of it and memorial crosses at every intersection.
    nicoleandmaggie recently posted..Do you read me, Google?My Profile

  • I walk to work and like the short commute, but sometimes it would be nice to have a tiny bit longer commute. A five minute bike ride would be enough, I think. When I can walk over to my office within 5 minutes, it is sometimes hard to leave work at work.
    Leah recently posted..A video dance partyMy Profile

  • I’m hoping that I can bike commute in our (possibly) new location – we still haven’t finalized anything, but bike-ability for me will be one consideration (not one of the higher up ones, but one consideration). We’re looking at living near Dad’s potential new job so he’d have primary kid duties…
    Mom @ Three is Plenty recently posted..Missing the BuzzMy Profile

  • Even though my normal commute is a pleasant 10-minute walk (through my back yard, past a few neighbors, alongside a baseball field, tennis courts, and neighborhood basketball courts, and from there just past a coffee shop to my office) . . . that is, even though I have a lovely walking commute, I still think a bike ride is so much more of an upper. There’s something about the breeze and the feeling of motion that makes being outdoors feel like the best possible place to be.

    And I hear N&M about the air-conditioning. But most of the local car trips I would take would be so short that it’s actually (for me) much cooler to be on a bike than in a car. No baking in parking lots or waiting for the AC to finally overwhelm the built-up heat in the car . . . just hop on the bike and feel the breeze!
    Miser Mom recently posted..Nuts and Bolts of decluttering (plus Nails and Screws, too)My Profile

  • Debbie M

    I don’t work on Fridays, woo hoo! But normally I commute by bus. I love how I get lots of reading it. The way I feel when I get home depends which bus I catch–I really can’t stand waiting for a bus, so I’ve found a stop for three routes that could be of use. One is the “good” bus which is a very short walk home–when I ride that bus I feel lucky and I get home quickly, and it’s good. The other buses add an additional 1-mile walk, so I feel good about getting some exercise in, but I am extremely sweaty (in summer) by the time I get home.

    Either way, I’m alway super hungry.

    I tried biking on bike-to-work day, but I really miss being able to read. (Plus I get sweaty in both directions then!)

    • Debbie M

      I meant I get lots of reading “in.” Getting lots of reading “it” sounds like I’m reading the bus and getting a lot out of that. No, I prefer books. :-)

  • I used to bike to work on Friday’s in the summer when I was a member at the gym and could shower after, since we moved 2 years ago and I removed my gym membership this went away for me.

    However I take the train and walk, I listen to podcasts usually in the morning and read a book or kind of relax to my thoughts. I’m usually in pretty good spirits after both of those.
    Even Steven recently posted..What I Learned Working for Michael JordanMy Profile

  • Well, I don’t have a job outside the home. But I took my toddlers to library storytime by bike trailer this morning, and it was much more pleasant than strapping them into their carseats in a blazing hot car. And I burned a few calories. (Probably more than a few, because the two of them together are a bit heavy.)They said hello to every dog we passed, and we stopped at a playground we passed.

    I still remember how commuter rail changed my father’s life. He had a forty-mile car commute for years and, being both Type A and bipolar, would come home in a foul temper. But he’s one of those people who can sleep anywhere, so once they opened the commuter rail, he would actually catch a few Z’s on the way and arrive home rested and chipper. Sometimes he would sleep past his stop and someone would have to go fetch him, but it was a small price to pay!
    Frugal Paragon recently posted..Minimalist Fail: 10 Days Without a DishwasherMy Profile

  • One day I want to work somewhere that’s close enough so I can cycle to work and back. I am envious of you! My husband cycles to work and he likes it – in fact it’s quicker for him to cycle than it would be for him to drive :)
    Nicola recently posted..5 easy ways to reduce grocery costs.My Profile

  • I used to ride a bike to school in high school and college. It really does help relieve the stress. It was especially helpful during college. It must be the fresh air and the scenery, it works like some sort of anti-stress therapy. It feels really good. I wish I can commute to work, too.
    Alexis recently posted..How to Reduce Taxes for Small Business OwnersMy Profile

  • Ha! Thanks for the mention!

    I’m glad biking to work makes you so happy. That’s all that matters! I think it’s smart to get a workout in while you commute. Why not?
    Holly@ClubThriffty recently posted..How We’re Going to Jamaica For FREE Next YearMy Profile

  • This article made me miss my bike! Where we live, it’s probably the worst city in the world for bike riding as there are no sidewalks and people are crazy drivers. We feel like we’ll get run over in our little saturn, let alone on a bike. One day, though, we’ll live in a bike friendly city and I’ll get to join the loose community you speak of. Love it!
    Cash Cow Couple recently posted..The Dollar Tree is AwesomeMy Profile

  • My grass is incredibly green and just got a little bit greener. I used to have to walk 40 steps to my home office (The horror, the horror…). We just finished off part of the addition and moved into our new bedroom over the weekend. Now, the commute is just 36 steps (seriously, just measured), cutting off another second or two from the commute.
    Mr. 1500 recently posted..5 Tips to Stage a Home on a Budget – A Guest Post from ZillowMy Profile

  • I live in St. Louis.. which is absolutely a commuter city, so biking to work isn’t an option for most (including me).
    However, my commute is faaaar too long currently, and has me questioning my current employment at times.
    jefferson recently posted..The Mistake I’ll Never Make…AgainMy Profile

  • It makes sense to me that biking would produce happier commuters. Its fairly well established that exercise can help boost mood. Starting the work day with a bike ride is a pretty good method for exercise. Its just icing on the cake that you get to feel better and save some money all in one swoop.

  • I am jealous of those who can bike commute, it’s just so, so good for you! I have never ever considered the leave the stress behind aspect, but that is an excellent point to think of for the future.
    Me reading this was timely, as I’m going for my first mountain bike ride of the season tonight and my lungs hurt just thinking about it!
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