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Biking May Increase Life Expectancy, Study Finds

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We already know that bike riders are among the happiest commuters, but a recent study of Dutch bicyclists found that they may also live longer. According to a study conducted by the University of Utrecht, cyclists in the Netherlands live, on average, six months longer than non-cyclists, People For Bikes reports.

The study, which was published in the American Journal of Public Health, collected data from 50,000 Dutch residents and found that every additional hour of biking correlated to approximately one hour added to a person’s life expectancy.

“For Dutch people, that equates to living for about six months longer for every 75 minutes of cycling each week,” researcher Carlijn Kamphuis explains. “Additionally, it appears that about 6.5 thousand premature deaths are saved each year through cycling.”

It’s important to note that bicycling is already an incredibly popular mode of transportation in the Netherlands, and that there’s infrastructure in place that makes bike commuting safer and easier than in many other countries. The Dutch researchers hope that their study not only convinces people to hop on their bikes a little more often, but inspires policy-makers around the world to take action, and make the promotion of bicycling a higher priority.

"This is important information to convince policy makers about the significance of promoting cycling measures," Kamphuis explains. "The figures speak for themselves. An investment in better cycle paths, for example, is easily recovered through the enormous health benefits and potential financial savings. There are also other benefits from cycling including improved air quality, reduced traffic and as people move more, less burden due to illness."

[h/t People For Bikes]

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George Barratt-Jones, Vimeo
This Crafty Bicycle Can Knit a Scarf in 5 Minutes
George Barratt-Jones, Vimeo
George Barratt-Jones, Vimeo

Knitting can be a time-consuming, meticulous task, but it doesn’t need to be. At least not if you’re George Barratt-Jones. As The Morning News spotted, the Dutch designer recently created a human-powered automated knitting machine that can make a scarf while you wait for your train to arrive.

The Cyclo-Knitter is essentially a bicycle-powered loom. As you pedal a stationary bike, the spinning front wheel powers a knitting machine placed on top of a wooden tower. The freshly knitted fabric descends from the top of the tower as the machine works, lowering your brand-new scarf.

Cyclo Knitter by George Barratt-Jones from George Barratt-Jones on Vimeo.

“Imagine it’s the midst of winter,” Barratt-Jones, who founded an online skill-sharing platform called Kraftz, writes of the product on Imgur. “You are cold and bored waiting for your train at the station. This pedal powered machine gets you warm by moving, you are making something while you wait, and in the end, you are left with a free scarf!”

Seems like a pretty good use of your commute down-time, right?

If you're a fan of more traditional knitting methods, check out these knitting projects that can put your needles to work, no bicycle required.

[h/t The Morning News]

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Netherlands Officials Want to Pay Residents to Bike to Work
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iStock

Thinking about relocating to the Netherlands? You might also want to bring a bike. Government officials are looking to compensate residents for helping solve their traffic congestion problem and they want businesses to pay residents to bike to work, as The Independent reports.

Owing to automobile logjams on roadways that keep drivers stuck in their cars and cost the economy billions of euros annually, Dutch deputy infrastructure minister Stientje van Veldhoven recently told media that she's endorsing a program that would pay employees 19 cents for every kilometer (0.6 miles) they bike to work.

That doesn't sound like very much, but perhaps citizens who need to trek several miles each way would appreciate the cumulative boost in their weekly paychecks. For employers, the benefit would be a healthier workforce that might take fewer sick days and reduce parking needs.

Veldhoven says she also plans on designing a program that would assist employers in supplying workers with bicycles. The goal is to have 200,000 people opting for manual transportation over cars. If the program proceeds, it might find a receptive population. The Netherlands is already home to 22.5 million bikes, more than the 17.1 million people living there. In Amsterdam, a quarter of residents bike to work.

There's no timeline for implementing the pay-to-bike plan, but early trial studies indicate that the expense might not have to be a long-term prospect. Study subjects continued to bike to work even after the financial rewards stopped.

[h/t The Independent]

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