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Cycling Makes You Happy

April 23, 2011

The following letter was in the Guardian today, and tweeted by @dexradio:

It is no coincidence that Denmark and Holland have happiness levels higher than ours, as Aditya Chakrabortty says (Brain food, G2, 19 April), when their levels of cycling are far greater than ours (27% of all journeys in Holland, as opposed to 1% in the UK). Cycling reduces air pollution, itself a cause of depression, and increases endorphin levels, leading to feelings of wellbeing. As exercise is also recommended as a way of reducing unhappiness and David Cameron wants to make us all happier, why does he not put more resources into improving conditions for cyclists? In Holland and Denmark, as far more drivers are also cyclists, there is mutual respect and consideration on the roads, as a result of their governments concentrating on making their cities and towns people-friendly rather than car-friendly.

Susan Abel

Hounslow, Middlesex

I like the connection between endorphin levels and well-being on the one side, and air pollution and depression on the other. As a build on Egan’s Wager, I’d like to plan to devote a number of pieces over the year to living a car-light life. It’s something our household is talking more and more about—how we can deliberately reduce car use.

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