Many people enjoy the benefits of bicycling as exercise, such as improved lung capacity, heart strength, toning of the legs and glutes as well as reduction of excess body fat. For some, the problem is trying to find the time to add bicycling into their daily routine.
As reported by Men’s Journal, there are 15,000 new bicycling lanes and paths that have been added across this country in the past two decades. This has doubled the number of bicyclers out on roads and trails. Thus, there is no better time to hop on the saddle and have a great, heart-pumping ride.
The following are ways that folks with little time to spare can add cycling to their day.
Bike to Work
According to the U.S.A. Today, Portland, Oregon, is the leader in the percentage of citizens that commute by bicycle to work. Despite the improvements across the country in bicycle paths, many areas of the country have experienced small declines in bicycling commuters. One of the main reasons cited for the loss of bicycling commuters on the roads is the feeling that drivers do not respect the rights of bicyclists on the road.
One suggestion made by the U.S.A. Today was for commuters to ride together. There is safety in numbers and a band of commuters can help each other with repairs they might need on the road. This is backed up by research from a public health consultant, Peter Jacobsen, who found that, when there are more riders and pedestrians on the streets, there are fewer accidents and fatalities. It seems that drivers are more careful when they see more cyclists out on the road.
Bicycling to work provides a means of getting one’s blood pumping for the start of the day and overcoming the afternoon slump our bodies experience in the afternoon. Also, it is a great means of having some quality time to feel and reflect upon the workday’s events, so it helps to one de-stress after the day’s events.
One city U.S.A. Today cited that is a success story in improvement in the number of bicycle commuters is Long Beach, California. The key to their upsurge of 23 percent more bicycling commuters from 2016 to 2017 was the addition of dedicated bike lanes that are separated from the vehicular flow.
Ride to the Local Market for Groceries
Within reason, one can go for short, grocery market trips on one’s bicycle. Obviously, one is not going to go when it is time to get some more cat litter, but a small, insulated freezer liner can go inside of a pack that will keep your veggies and perishables cold for the ride home. The added weight adds more leg-strengthening resistance to your routine. A backpack works somewhat better than a bike rack because it allows you to move around on the saddle and keep your weight distributed. A rack leaves all of the load over the rear tire.
Ride Your Bike in the Park or to the Bike Path After Work
Depending upon the size of the park, riding around the park might work, but you might get bored in a small park and slow down your pace. Even better, though, is to go to the local bike path and ride there. You will find others walking, running, walking dogs, skateboarding and relaxing.
In some towns, such as Placerville, California, a trip to one of the two paved, local bike paths is an enjoyable and relaxing end to the day. The bike path on the east end of town has a gentle uphill from Mosquito Road all the way until the pavement ends. Then, you can either turn around and sit in for that exhilarating downhill or progress on the dirt part of the trail for miles more.
According to the National Association of City Transportation Officials, people prefer bike lanes that are protected from traffic. These are places that riders feel safer. The bike path in Placerville is protected and separate from the streets. It winds past the rural farm and ranch lands. Riding on a protected bike path in your community is a relaxing way to end the day and enjoy the company of neighbors.
The advances in the state of the art for headlamps and bicycle lights in the past 15 to 20 years is nothing short of amazing. The old-style of bicycle lights that could project down the road enough for safety had a huge battery around the size and weight of a 6-volt lantern battery. Improvements in LED lights have made the need for such over-sized batteries unnecessary.
So, if it is too hot to ride during the day, just wait to go to the bike path when it is cooler and fire up your headlamp.
The best thing about cycling in the night is that there is almost no traffic on the bike lanes or in the streets. Personally I enjoy this time much more than the busiest traffic hours when you need to be 100% alert.
Cycle Instead of Going to the Gym
Which is more enjoyable, running on the treadmill for an hour inside of a building watching the same old television stations babbling on about agenda du jour or taking a fun ride outside getting some fresh air and sunshine? You get the same cardiovascular workout on your bike. In fact, if you just walk on the treadmill, you will get more of a cardiovascular pump on your bike, according to Men’s Journal. Also, which are you more likely to do for a longer, walk or run on the treadmill or ride on your bike?
If the weather is just too icy or windy outside to dare to venture on your bike, you can take an indoor cycling class or put your road bicycle on a trainer and watch a spinning class video. Now, there is another solution…
Fat Tire Biking in the Snow
If you are even more intrepid, though, you can get a fat tire bike and go biking on the snow, like they do in Mammoth Lakes, California, and in Wyoming.
This video shows what fat tire biking in the snow looks like on the Teton National Forest. It is now legal in the Inyo National Forest as well. Obviously, you need over-mittens, a warm hat, and clothing that is warm and breathable.
Now that all of your excuses are gone, let’s get out there for a ride!