Get back on your bike this spring
As the days are getting longer and the weather is dryer and brighter, Spring is the perfect time to dig out your bike from the back of the garage or shed and get outside to enjoy a cycle in the fresh air.
Benefits of cycling
Just a 30-minute cycle can have a positive impact on both your mental and physical wellbeing, improving your mood as well as your fitness. It’s a low impact aerobic exercise that is suitable for all levels.
- Cycling may help you lose weight – making cycling a habit, especially at a high intensity, can help lower your body fat levels, which promotes healthy weight management. Additional studies suggest that including sprint and strength training with regular cycling may temporarily increase your metabolism and build muscle, which allows you to burn more calories, even while at rest.
- Cycling is good for beginners - riding a bike is fairly simple. If you have difficulty with a standard bicycle, stationary bikes are a great alternative. If you’re new to fitness or bouncing back from an injury or illness, you can cycle at a low intensity. As you get more fit, you can increase the intensity or continue to cycle at a chill pace.
- Cycling may lower cholesterol - the health-enhancing effects of cycling may help improve cholesterol levels, which can boost your cardiovascular health and lower your chances of stroke and heart attack.
- Cycling boosts mental health and brain power - cycling can ease feelings of stress, depression, or anxiety. Focusing on the road or your cadence when cycling can help you develop concentration and awareness of the present moment. This may help take your focus away from the mental chatter of your day. If you find yourself feeling lethargic, listless, or like your brain is moving slowly, get on your bike for at least 10 minutes. Exercise promotes the release of endorphins in your body, which helps you feel better while lowering your stress levels.
- Cycling can offer a positive start to your morning - beginning your day with a healthy activity like cycling wakes you up by boosting your circulation and allows you to start your day with a sense of accomplishment. You may also feel more inclined to make healthy, positive choices as the day progresses.
- Cycling is environmentally friendly - reduce your carbon footprint by riding your bike whenever possible. Cycling is a great replacement for transportation options that involve sitting in traffic for extended periods. It’s especially useful when you’re going places that are a bit too far to walk, but you don’t want to take a car.
Here are our top tips to keeping safe when out and about on your bike.
- Wear a helmet. A helmet can’t be 100 percent guaranteed to save your life, but it’s always going to give you better odds than going bare headed.
- Service your bike. You should regularly service your bike to ensure it is running efficiently and that there are no worn or damaged components. The more you ride the bike the more frequent you should be servicing it, especially after riding in dirt, sand, mud and in the rain.
- Be seen. Dress like a fluorescent peacock—wear bright colours and reflective clothing, especially in the early morning, late at night, or on cloudy days.
- Protect yourself from the sun. Wear sunscreen, especially on the back of your neck. Wear long sleeves with breathable fabric. Wear sunglasses.
- Know the weather forecast. Wear waterproof gear as needed. You might even carry a small backpack to hold lightweight extra layers and other essentials for every ride.
- Install rear-view mirrors on your handlebars or helmet. You should still learn to look over your shoulder without swerving, but mirrors will help you see what’s behind you at all times.
- Be alert. Never ride with headphones or an earpiece. You need to hear everything you possibly can.
Tips to getting back in the saddle
- Practice. Build up your confidence, stamina and riding ability by getting out on your bike regularly.
- Start on the flat. Local parks, canal tow paths and local cycle routes are a great place to start riding, build up the length and distance of your cycle and after a few rides add is some small hills to build up your strength and fitness.
- Ride with a friend. Nothing beats heading out with your family or friends on a bike ride especially if the sun is shining!
- Mix it up. Try new routes, get a bike rack for your car and head out to new parks, cycle routes and tracks and discover new places.
- Cycle don’t drive. Popping to the shops, or for lunch with friends if it’s a shorter journey why not cycle there? Not only will this help increase your confidence and fitness it is helping the environment too!
- Cycle to work. As your confidence grows, use designated cycle paths to cycle to work or to the train station.
- Join a local cycling club. Joining a cycling club is a fantastic way to meet other people who are learning to ride, and will also help you learn some local routes. Most of the clubs will offer rides aimed at beginners, so why not use the Cycling UK online clubfinder and find one near you?
- Set Goals. Set yourself small achievable goals to help you reach your target.
Join Tour de Gateley this September
This September as part of Tour de Gateley, we are inviting you to join us for this year's charity cycle ride starting from the stunning Sandon Hall, with an option to ride 50 miles or 70 miles. If you don't fancy the cycle ride there's also the option of a circular walk through the beautiful Staffordshire countryside. The day will include refreshments and lunch, finishing with hospitality provided against the backdrop of the striking 19th-century country manor.