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Exercising your way around town to perform the day’s various tasks is a great way to save money on gas and reduce emissionsStudies performed on the lives of participants have shown annual membership increases physical and mental health.

The fact remains that those that bike, walk or run to reach their destinations receive various benefits absent to those that drive.

Recently, hundreds of thousands of Americans have made the shift to invest in a more sustainable mode of transportation.  In getting out of the car and onto the pedals they have cut down expenses while simultaneously bettering their own lives.  Of course, for those interested in making the switch, the question remains of whether to buy a bike or to join a bike share.  No simple answer exists.  Here at Earthgarage, we have discussed the pros and cons of each man-powered two wheel option.

Commuting to work on a bike is a great way to enjoy the fresh air and light absent from many office buildings.  However, bringing your bike through the lobby and up the elevator to your office gets to be a hassle. Having the option to drop your ride at a station and pick up a different one later is a major convenience of sharing.

One major issue with biking is theft.  Anyone living in an urban area knows someone who had their bike stolen.  Forgetting to lock your bike just one time can result in a lost investment. Bike sharing eliminates this risk.  If you live in a less dense area where bikes remain locked in public and your investment is safe then maybe having your own bike make sense.

In urban or densely populated environments, bike sharing is an effective option.  The close-knit nature of cities allows for a large distribution of stations.  This means lots of bikes and more convenience.  If you live in area where having multiple large stations seems like a stretch then individual ownership is the answer.

Many of the currently available bike share programs cost between $45-$85.  Each time you pick up a bike the first 30 minutes are free before additional houry payments of $1-$1.50.  The distance of your commute or how much you plan on riding affects the ultimate price.  A simple check on Craigslist results in acceptable models for under $300.  If the annual cost of membership exceeds that of buying a bicycle maybe sharing is not the best option for you.

Flat tires and general bike maintenance can really slow you down during the day/week.  If bike mechanics are not your forte, sharing eliminates going through the trouble of repairing while being stuck in the meantime.  Of course if you enjoy working on your rides you don’t want to pay somebody else to have your fun.

The choice to own or share is a decision that you have to make given your circumstances.  Use the above indicators and any other ones that may be left out to weigh the costs and benefits.  Either way both of these options involve participation in a emotionally and physically beneficial form of transportation that saves money on gas and reduces emissions.

Earthgarage – Greener Car. Fatter Wallet