The allure of bike riding – getting out and about in the great outdoors – is not just for kids. Here are four reasons to get pedaling again:
1) It’s great exercise. Bicycling is a good aerobic workout and burns calories (often 400 to 500 per hour, depending on intensity). It’s not hard on the joints like running, either. Bicycling can also be tailored to any level – easy, slow and flat rides are low intensity, while hill work or higher speeds challenge those up to the task.
2) It’s relatively inexpensive: All you really need is a bike and helmet.
3) It’s fun. Bicycling can be done with friends and family, including grandchildren. You’ll get fresh air and a change of scenery while you’re exercising!
4) It’s an alternative form of transportation. That’s right, bicycling is also practical and can even save you gas money. Get a basket or bags for your bike, and you can run local errands or make a trip to your favorite nearby café.
The Right Stuff
Aside from a properly fitted helmet for safety, the only thing you need to enjoy bike riding is the bike itself! If you don’t currently have a bike or need a different one, visit a bike shop to check out the options. Bikes come in all shapes and sizes – even three-wheeled bikes if you don’t want to worry about balance (or want that extra-large basket for running errands). Nowadays, there are even power assisted bikes if your area requires hills or distances that you may need help to cover. Bike shop associates can also help you adjust your new bike’s seat height and any other moveable parts to optimum settings.
If buying a new bike is too costly, a visit to the bike shop can still help you decide what style of bike, seat and handlebars are most comfortable for you. Then you can keep an eye out for a similar bike used.
Playing it Safe
Once you’re ready to ride, follow these tips for healthy, happy bike riding:
- Use designated bike trails and bike lanes whenever possible. Many cities offer paved and unpaved bike trails, which are perfect for riding with the family.
- Wear bright colors so you’re easily visible to motorists.
- If you’re riding at dusk, dawn or during the night, make sure you have lights and reflectors on your bike.
- Bring plenty of water. A water bottle holder can be purchased for just a few dollars.
- Always wear a helmet, and make sure it’s buckled and adjusted properly.
- Carry your ID and a cell phone in case of emergency.
- After your ride, try some stretching exercises to decrease any soreness.
Bicycle riding can also lead to adventure. If you find yourself hooked on bicycling, consider joining a biking group or even booking a bike riding component on your next vacation. Many tour companies offer bicycle rides as a great way to see a new city or country. Happy pedaling!