The thought of climbing on a bike may strike fear into the hearts of some, but it ignites a childlike desire to escape into the great outdoors in others.
You may think that bikes are just for getting fit, but they’re not just for those who love lycra; anybody can learn to love cycling, and there are many reasons to embrace the bicycle rather than choosing the four wheeled alternative.
Whether you need one reason or five to give cycling a chance, we hope to inspire you to dust off your bike, invest in one or become a familiar face at a local hire shop and reap the rewards it can offer, maybe even becoming a cycling convert.
We might as well start with the obvious; after all everyone knows that getting on a bike is going to help you get more exercise. It’s not the only reason to cycle more though, so we thought we’d get it out of the way first.
Although you may well know about it after your first bike ride if it’s been a while since you were in the saddle, cycling is low impact and doesn’t put strain on your joints. This makes it suitable for people of all levels of fitness.
Cycling burns 500-600 calories per hour, approx triple what you burn walking and exceeding an hour’s jogging too, which comes in at 350-450 calories. In addition, it builds the biggest muscles in your body, increases fat burning abilities and your body continues burning calories after you finish your bike ride.
Cycling is an excellent way to see more of the world than going on foot. We love going for a walk but if you want to cover more ground, a bike can be a brilliant way to get the best of both. In addition there’s the benefit of being out in the fresh air, and there are many paths that are suited to cycling so you’re not limited to trying to avoid busy roads.
In fact if you don’t like road cycling, it doesn’t mean missing out on the benefits of biking. From Wales to Scotland, the Lakes to the South East and South West of England, there are many tracks and trails to choose from to suit all ages and abilities, from coastal paths to canal side footpaths and woodland trails. British Cycling has maps and details of trails to help you get out exploring your local area or plan bike rides while holidaying in the UK.
As fuel prices keep increasing, reducing your mileage and reliance on your car to get you from A to B is one way of cutting back on how often you need to refill the fuel tank. Whether you use your bike to cycle to work or nip round to a friend’s house, pop up the road for a bottle of milk or to run some errands, those miles can soon add up along with the savings, and by reducing the miles you drive every year, you could even reduce the cost of your car insurance too.
Avoiding Traffic Queues
When on the drive home from work and stuck in a queue of traffic, imagine drifting by and avoiding the stop start and frustrating wait. If you go by bike, your journey time will never be any longer no matter how much traffic there is, and you can often take short cuts that cars can’t travel along.
Even if you only travel to work by bike once or twice a week, or in the summer when the nights are lighter, as your stamina increases you’ll find you’re able to complete the journey quicker and be less out of breath by the time you get home. Just remember to wear reflective clothing and fit your bike with lights if you’re likely to be cycling once the light has faded.
A bike ride is something you can do with the whole family, whatever their age or ability. With so many different types of paths and trails to explore and places to visit all round the UK, cycling can be ideal for something to do during the school holidays or just at the weekend.
The other benefit is that once you have a bike, it doesn’t cost you anything to go for a ride, making it perfect for families on a budget. In addition, getting out in the fresh air is good for your health, and you could even snap some new photos for the family album.