fantastic invention and cycling has many health and exercise
benefits. It can be used as a source of transportation, for
competitive sport, as a positive and healthy exercise, or all of the
above rolled into one.
Benefit from Cycling
There is an estimated 1 billion bicycles used worldwide today, which is
twice the number of motor vehicles. One study has shown that
out of the 20 most desirable cities to live in the world, a majority of
these cities have well developed bicycle communities and lanes.
Whatever your own reasons are for biking, or even if you are just
looking at getting into this recreational sport, there are a few tips
on how you can get the very most out of your cycling experience.
1. Ride Regularly for Good Health
Biking is medically proven to be good for the heart. Studies
have shown that regular cycling each and every day, even for as little
as 30 minutes a day will lower your chances of heart disease by 50%.
You will want to push yourself a little past your comfort zone to have
these results. Build your cardio and endurance slowly, adding
a little more on to your ride each day until you are accustomed to
regularly breaking a sweat.
When you feel stronger, add in some light hills and increase the
distance of your ride. You do not need to go all out, but
regularly using your bike as a workout machine for your body will help
immensely with the health of your heart, lungs and overall well being
of your body and mind.
2. Do Not Keep Your Body Locked in One Position
One of the best things about a biking workout is that it has very
little negative side effects. Most sports have some negative
impact on the body, such as the pounding of your heel on the ground
with jogging, the constant impact against other athletes in contact
sport or elbow problems that can develop in tennis after many years of
whacking the ball.
Cycling however provides smooth fluid motions for your legs with no
pounding or impacting. In fact cycling is the choice of
doctors for rehabilitation of knees and other sport injuries.
With that said, the one potential hazard you need to be aware of is
that any position the body takes for too long, has the potential to
become problematic. As one chiropractor once told me, the
only bad position, is the one that you do all the time. So if
you cycle a lot, stretch before and after you do. Also take
breaks and walk around a little if you cycle for hours at a time
3. Get Your Seat and Handlebars Adjusted to Fit You
What many people do not realize is that there are some seating
positions in biking that are better than others and it all depends on
your own body proportions. Most bike shops can professionally
adjust your seat and handlebars to best match your body type and height.
Your seat should be level to allow you to move around on it when
required and to support the weight of your body. You do not
want to lean too far forwards or backwards to reach your handlebars, or
be too low or too high. These are just little details, but
getting someone to professionally adjust your seat and handlebars for
you, will give extra support for your back, shoulders, hands and neck
in the long run.
4. Ride With a Friend
There is a reason why many birds fly together when traveling long
distances. They can go faster and farther as a group and
build off each other's momentum. The same is true for
anything in life. Whether one bikes for exercise, wishes to
try using the bike instead of the car to go to work, or just does it
for fun and peace of mind, it can be difficult to keep the discipline
of riding regularly in the beginning.
Once the habit is formed, it becomes hard to miss. So what is
the best way to make that habit stick?
Riding with a friend is absolutely the best motivator. You
depend on your buddy, and your buddy depends on you. It
provides companionship and enthusiasm which cannot be matched on ones
own. If you do not have a riding buddy, keep yourself open to
other options. There are often riding groups in town, and you
do not need to be a racer to join them.
5. Be Good To Your Bike, And It Will Be Good To You
Home bike mechanics is no longer just for the hard core shop guys
anymore. The internet has become a massive storehouse of bike
repair knowledge and bicycle repair books are available too.
It is an excellent investment in your sport to learn a few tricks on
how to maintain and repair your bike when it wears down.
Keeping your bike clean is half the battle. Look into putting
together a tire replacement kit, so you can fix a flat on the
road. You can also very easily learn how to replace your
chain when it wears down (and it will). Chain tools, Allen
keys, screwdrivers and pliers will form the base of your
tools. You might also want to invest in a half decent cycle
repair stand which will hold your bike up and keep it steady
while you clean or work on it.
In this article, I have pointed out how you can benefit from cycling.
Biking is both a healthy and positive mode of transportation for the
environment and your body. Adding a few of these above tips
into your riding lifestyle can go a long ways towards keeping you and
your bike healthy and enriching your biking experience.
About the Author:
Sam Walker has written numerous articles on the health benefits of
cycling and home bike repairs. He is part of a team that
reviews quality outdoor gear at Gear Reviews Online,
and is currently providing research and reviews of quality bike