At about the same time, I also became interested in other forms of human-powered vehicles. Perhaps it was some unfulfilled desire to stand out from the crowd ... to be weird. Perhaps it was is fascination with the various mechanical solutions to the problem of turning human movement into forward motion. More likely it was just mental "doodling" ... keeping my mind from more useful activities.
Anyway, there are certain rewards common to all the human-powered vehicles I've tried or looked at. Chief among these are:
Pretty much any kind of human-powered vehicle is powered by a human ... you. And that means exercise. Depending on the type of vehicle, you may be using different muscle groups, but you're pretty much guaranteed to be doing some work to get around, especially climbing hills, etc.
You may be using other muscles just to maintain balance, may be fighting wind resistance, and may be using more or less agility, coordination, etc. to keep going safely. It's all good. In addition, you're getting fresh (presumably) air, sunshine, and all that other good stuff.
Finally, this kind of exercise is a great way to reduce stress, and that may have the biggest health benefit of all.
As a rider, you're part of the "green" revolution. You're not burning fossil fuels. You're not adding noise to the environment, and you're reducing the demand for automobile facilities like roads, parking garages, etc.
It's possible to spend $10,000 on a bike, but you're going to get a really outstanding bike for that price. More common among cyclists are bikes in the $500 to $1500 range. That still gets you an excellent piece of equipment, and one that requires no gasoline.
Repairs and maintenance are also substantially cheaper than for cars. In fact, you can easily learn to do much of the routine work yourself, which both saves you money and gives you the satisfaction of knowing you can keep yourself mobile.
There are other, more expensive options. You can get a fully enclosed velomobile for $5,000 or more. But these are luxuries.
It's not true for everyone, but for me at least, I can bike to my office about as quickly as I can drive there. If I bike to the subway station and take the train, it's much faster than driving or taking the bus to that same station and taking that same train.
If your commute is largely urban, there's a good chance you can save yourself time by going under your own steam.
It's hard to describe the feeling you get moving along on your own power, enjoying the scenery, hailing other cyclists, and controlling the situation. Of course, it's not all candy. You may have to contend with traffic, tight schedules, hills, bad roadways, reckless joggers and just plain terrible weather. It takes a while to find the right route, the right equipment and accessories and, above all, the right state of mind.
But once you do, you can overcome all these difficulties, and still feel a harmonious sense of well being. There's nothing like it.