Bike to Work and Save, Get Fit

By Candice Choi -- AP Personal Finance Writer

NEW YORK (AP) — Bike to work, save money, get fit, help the environment. It seems like a no-brainer, yet you still drive to the office every day.

One reason for putting off your bike-to-work resolution might be all the logistics involved, such as where to store your bike and how to get your belongings to and from the office.

If the goal is to save money, you might be reluctant to spend hundreds of dollars on a bike and equipment before knowing you can stick with the habit.

All are valid reservations, but none are necessarily deal breakers. Besides the obvious benefits, biking to work could even boost your job performance.

"On the days that I ride in, I sit down and have the energy to start. I don't need to go get a Coke or anything — I'm already in that mode," said Jason Kiker, a 38-year-old research analyst who started biking to work last year.

The 7 mile-trip from his home in Arlington, Va. to the education nonprofit where he works takes about 35 minutes. That's about 10 minutes faster than taking public transit.

As the weather warms up, the reasons for procrastinating are dwindling. Here's a rundown of some common excuses and why they shouldn't stop you.

EXCUSE #1: I'M NOT SURE IT'S RIGHT FOR ME

It's natural to think twice about any major purchase. After all, you don't want a shiny new bike sitting around in a dusty corner of your home.

One way to prevent such a fate is to rent or borrow. The try-before-you-buy strategy also lets you test different models before making a commitment.

"It lets you put your toe in the water and see if you really like it," said George Gill, president of RentABikeNow.com, a Chicago-based company that lists rental shops nationwide.

If you can't find a friend or co-worker to lend you a bike, check if there's a rental shop nearby. A one-week rental might run you about $150, Gill said. Ask about daily rates if the price you're quoted is too high.

Do a weekend test ride to get an idea of how long and physically taxing the trip will be. Beginners probably don't want to go too far beyond a 10-mile, one-way ride, which might take about 45 minutes, Gill said.

If your office is far, consider a hybrid commute. It might sound complicated, but plenty of people bike part of a commute and take public transit for the remainder.

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