Here’s Why You Should Commute by Bicycle in Austin
Nov 3, 2021
Why You Should Consider Commuting by Bike in Austin
While Texas is by and large a car-centric state, Austin consistently makes it onto the lists of top bike-friendly cities in the US - in fact, Austinites bike to work four times more than the national average.
If you live in Austin and don’t already commute to work by bike, here are our top five reasons why you should start.
Austin is Officially Bike-Friendly
Austin is rated Gold from the League of American Bicyclists’ Bicycle Friendly Communities, making it the most cycling-friendly city in Texas. According to the League, these are the ten markers of a bike-friendly community:
Arterial & major streets with bike lanes.
Total bicycle network mileage vs. total road network mileage
It isn’t surprising that the top US cycling cities like Portland, New York, Boulder, and Chicago invest heavily in biking infrastructure and safety. The more cyclists that are on the roads, the more infrastructure gets built, which then leads to even more cyclists, and even more infrastructure.
Regardless of whether or not you’re involved in community initiatives or cycling advocacy groups, one of the most effective ways you can signal to your city that you support increased infrastructure spending is simply by hopping on your bike every chance you get, whether you’re commuting, exercising, or participating in races or events.
Luckily, Austin is already well on its way to becoming one of the best cycling cities in the US.
In November 2020, Austin citizens voted in favor of Prop B, a $460 million fund dedicated to sidewalks, bikeways, urban trails, and safety - so cycling is only going to become more widespread and accessible in future.
Currently in Austin, it’s not uncommon to come across substantial cracks in the road that can cause cycling accidents. It’s good etiquette for cyclists to warn others by shouting, “Crack,” but with this kind of investment into road infrastructure, it may become a forgotten phrase - something that will surely delight Austin cyclists.
Along with the scientifically proven benefits of riding your bike to commute, there are some others that are harder to measure - like being able to interact more with your community, keeping your mind engaged by experiencing new routes, and the triumphant feeling of making it on time to your destination.
4. You’re Saving the Environment
Austin often makes it onto the list of the most eco-friendly cities in the US due to its green spaces, enthusiasm for solar power, engaged citizens and, of course, its biking infrastructure.
“While five out of ten of the greenest cities are located in the Northeast, the number-one spot went to the hipster haven of Austin, Texas, and its surrounding area of Round Rock.
With a population of 2,000,860, Austin scored the top slot by a landslide thanks to its 5.113 LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) buildings per every 1000 residents. Its title can also be attributed to the .097 miles of bike lanes per every 10,000 residents, demonstrating that commuters are ditching their cars in favor of pedaling their way to work and thereby shrinking their carbon footprint.
There's also .16 farmer's markets for every 10,000 residents, .94 electric car plug-ins for every 10,000 people, and .145 percent of the city area is parkland.”
In the years since 2017, climate change has only become more of a hot topic, and research has shown that commuting by bike instead of driving on just one day a week makes a significant impact on your personal carbon emissions.
5. You Can Take it Easy with an eBike
If your commute is too long to ride, you’re unfit, or have a disability, an ebike might be your perfect match!
eBikes have become the go-to bike for commuters who want a functional bike that can get them where they need to go without breaking a sweat - literally. A study by RedBull shows that those who commute by ebike sweat 300% less than those who ride a regular bicycle, making it an easy choice for commuters who don’t want to change out of sweaty cycling clothes once they reach the office.
Unlike electric cars, ebikes don’t need specialized charging stations, which means you can travel with peace of mind knowing that you can charge your ebike at the office, coffee shop, or at home without any additional gadgets.
Join a cycling club like Violet Crown, one of the oldest and largest in Austin. They welcome cyclists of all ages and abilities, and have organised rides every Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday, along with special events. Remember to call ahead to make sure the rides aren’t cancelled due to bad weather or lockdown restrictions.
Travel light. A change of clothes, laptop bag, and other luggage will make your ride more physically demanding, unless you’re riding an ebike.
Bike to Work day falls in May each year. Ride to work during this annual event to score freebies like coffee or tacos from participating establishments.
Make sure you’re familiar with Austin’s cycling laws for your own safety, and the safety of those around you.
At first, leave for your commute earlier than usual to get a sense of how long your ride will take you.
Make sure your bicycle is covered for theft away from home, accidental damage and more from only $8 per month with Sundays Insurance.