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Bike commuting is dirt cheap and healthy

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If you live in a city, you are probably driving to work and paying to park once you get there. One driver in Seattle pays $220 a month to park in the city.

Even if you don't have big parking costs, it would be nice to save on auto expenses, wouldn't it?

More than 500,000 Americans think so. That's the number of people who are currently riding a bike to work each day, according to U.S. census data. In cities such as Davis, Calif., about 20 percent of workers ride their bikes to the workplace.

The League of American bicyclists says getting more of us to do it could reduce traffic jams, air pollution, and obesity. Riding takes only a little more time than driving in most cases. If your commute takes you through congested areas, it could take less.

There's no need to invest in a fancy bike, just about any 10-speed will do. Whatever you ride, it's important to have these essentials and accessories: helmet, a helmet- mounted mirror for seeing what's behind you (About $9), good tires (plus lightweight pump and spare tube), fenders, a bright-colored waterproof vest or jacket, a headlight, a rack and panniers to carry clothes and whatever else you need.

In all seasons except summer, you won't have to worry about getting sweaty. If you wear a layer or two, you can remove one if you get hot. In summer, some riders carry extra clothes, and some shower at work.

The rewards of riding outweigh the hassles and help keep you healthy. That could result in some cash savings as well.

Long Island Money & Careers Articles > Bike commuting is dirt cheap and healthy

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