I read an interesting article in one of my books, “Bike for Life – How to Ride to 100.” What was interesting is this: ride like Picasso. Treat your bike like a giant paintbrush, taking you to creative and imaginative places in our wonderful outdoors. Your bicycle allows you to make connections to the world in many ways – adventure, exploration, beauty and utility.
How about riding your bike to work? You don’t have to ride every day, but even a couple of days each week can add a lot to your health. Your mental health will prosper more too. A nice quiet ride home from work can relieve stress and put you in a more relaxed and creative state of mind.
The following article is by Randall S. Hansen, Ph.D.
Let me preface this article by stating that I have been bicycling daily for almost three years now, riding my bike to work, the supermarket, and other errands, as well as to far-off places. I have biked off-and-on for the past eight years or so, but it wasn’t until I found a bike that fit me three years ago that I started biking regularly. (Read the Quintessential Careers Environmental Pledge.)
Biking is a fantastic way to have fun, get great exercise, and reduce your carbon footprint. Biking is an adventure — whether biking to work or the store — or peddling long-distance for miles and miles. A side benefit is that I find I do some of my best thinking and creative problem-solving while riding my bike.
Before you think about biking — whether to work or for pleasure (or both) — read this primer to obtain ideas for how you want to proceed. The main sections of this primer deal with:
- Health & Biking
- Bike Planning & Preparation
- Bicycle Equipment
- Street Smarts for Bicyclists
- Bicycle Organizations & Links
To read more (and learn more!) of Dr. Hansen’s love of bicycling, please click below:
Here is another interesting article on why cycling is a great exercise. I love what they say about cycling freeing your mind of clutter, as well as being one with nature, even if you are biking in a city. Go ride through your favorite park and experience the sounds, the aroma, the feel.
Why Cycling is Great Exercise
Bicycling is a wonderful activity for so many reasons. It saves on gas consumption, doesn’t add pollution to the air, is economical in maintenance compared to a scooter or a car, doesn’t require insurance or a license to drive, and offers many health benefits. In fact, cycling is becoming so important and so mainstream that many cities are now adding bike lanes to their major roads and thoroughfares. What was once a sport to be enjoyed in a park or back trail is now a recognized form of transportation with its own designated routes.
Aside from all of the environmental and financial positives, cycling is great exercise. It works all parts of the body since you have to be able to balance yourself while at the same time power the bike. And, of course, your rear end really gets a workout having to stay on the little seat while traveling. It is good for posture and helps to strengthen the back, arms and legs. Plus, cycling is terrific for the mind and soul. It encourages your mind to wander, freeing up all the day’s clutter. It allows you to be at one with nature when cycling for fun or in a park-like setting. Recreational cycling allows you to enjoy the little things that you would not normally see. Indeed, all cycling should be taken seriously in terms of safety by wearing a helmet and following the rules of the road, but cycling embraces life, which in turn helps to heal life’s negatives.
One of the key reasons why cycling is great exercise is because it is a full cardiovascular workout. The motion keeps blood pumping to and from the heart, and increases healthy circulation throughout the limbs. It is generally safer to the body, as well, than exercise that requires pounding on the knees, feet and joints. There is little pressure on the joints when riding a bike. And although the knees may absorb some pressure, it is usually much less than other forms of exercise such as high impact aerobics, jogging or even basketball.
Another reason to cycle is weight management. Bicycling helps to shed fat and keep the pounds off. When riding a bike on a somewhat regular schedule, the body stays lean and there is less opportunity for flabby legs and arms. Despite the fact that it appears as though the stomach is doing no work while riding, it does in fact tighten up, creating a nicer physique.
Further, the beauty of cycling is that anyone can do it at their own pace. It is natural for young children to love bike riding, but nowadays, everyone can participate. The key is to find the level that best suits your ability and current physical health condition. Cycling is not meant to be a marathon if you are not able. It is better to work up to longer jaunts progressively over time.
Also, your health will determine the type of bike you use. For example, an older, frail person who learned to ride on the original style bikes with brakes on the backward pedal may be safer on that same type of bike, rather than a ten-speed with front and rear brake controls on the handlebars. Likewise, using a mountain bike to ride up steep hills and inclines might not be suitable for someone who is rather weak and wobbly on a bike. Always start a cycling exercise regimen at the level that is most comfortable, and on the equipment that bests suits your immediate needs.