Dust off your bike, lube the chain, pump up the tires and start pedaling. The number of health benefits of riding a bicycle far outweighs your excuses to not pedal. With all the hype about what kind of bike to ride, surmounted by the spandex-clad mobs riding in masses - a lot of people don’t know where or how to begin. It doesn’t have to be that difficult and the beauty is you can virtually go anywhere. Simply riding with children to school or pedaling to the store for a loaf of bread can be a great little energy boost.
65% of households in America, have a bicycle in the garage, shed or lawn collecting dust. Here is where you start. You don’t have to take on the sport of cycling to gain fitness while riding a bicycle. While my #1 Tip for Fitness is: Just Ride a Bike, how to make it an integral part of your life is my challenge for you. So let’s break it down to allow you to discover the key to integrating the bicycle into your lifestyle effectively.
It’s not about becoming a cyclist. It’s not about training for a race or pledging to ride to work every day (though these are great ways to maximize your fitness benefits). The Bike-Integrated Lifestyle is about moving the bicycle up on your list of transportation options. For many this means putting the bike on your list. If this is You, then the idea of riding to work can be too big of a step that creates an “all or nothing effect.” Instead, step back and look at your schedule for the week and month. Make a list of destinations you drive to, one errand at a time, within a two-mile radius.
Stick this Challenge on your mirror. Each morning, while brushing your teeth, reflect on how many of these can be accomplished on a bike.
“Americans use their cars for 66% of all trips up to a mile long and for 89% of all trips between 1 and 2 miles long.”—U.S. Dept. of Transportation
What you will discover rather quickly:
It doesn’t take much longer on a bike, even if you ride slowly.
You can reap fitness benefits even if you don’t break a sweat.
The more you ride, the more you can choose to make it a workout or stroll, both with health benefits.
Like walking or running, you can challenge yourself to get more out of riding by going farther and pedaling harder. By pedaling where you need to go, you’ll be fitting in fitness and the rewards will abound as simplicities emerge in life as a result. While I don’t believe just one fitness tip will bring you to your full potential, by integrating the bike into your lifestyle you will be pedaling towards new awareness in your body and the world around you. Allowing you to tap into your intuition, to shine your best.
Abbie Durkee, is certified as a USA Cycling Coach, Yoga Alliance Instructor 200RYT, a former professional mountain bike racer, & designer of My Alibi Clothing (www.myalibiclothing.com).
Published in "The Ultimate Health and Wellness Guide 2014