Riding for Your Life: How Bicycling Makes a Difference

Bicycling family HealthyRiding for Your Life: How Bicycling Makes a Difference.

Bicycling is likely something each of us has participated in at some point in our lives. Whether it was spinning around the neighborhood as a kid, or something done with a little more seriousness as an adult, riding a bike always has a redeeming feature. It’s fun to ride.

The true beauty of such a simple activity as riding is that we can do it for a variety of reasons. Whether you choose riding for improved Health or for other more spiritual reasons, like addiction recovery, cycling is an available constant that gives back on so many levels. Here are few ways you can use it.

Healthy Exercise

While this is probably obvious, so many folks parked on their couch (or in front of their computer!) could use some more movement in life. Regular bicycling provides a chance to increase breathing and heart-rate while enjoying the outside environment. Admit it, looking at some nice weather outside through your window is just not the same as being out there. Go and enjoy.

By the way, you don’t have to race unless you want to. Bicycle because of the way it makes you feel so good. Competition is optional.

Riding is also forgiving to the joints, so for those who are no longer able to pound the pavement due to injury, cycling is a safe place. As one of the running injury refugees myself, I can speak to the transfer-ability of your running or power-walking training. You will get a different body experience with riding but it’s close to what you’re accustomed to feeling.

The Cost of Bicycling

The upfront costs of a reasonable bicycle and helmet (don’t forget the brain bucket!) are certainly manageable on most budgets. If you’re just starting out, there is no need to spend the big bucks. Just get out on two wheels and start enjoying.

It’s at Your LBS

Find that you’ve developed the bicycling bug? Scout out your local bike shop (LBS). These small businesses are the lifeblood of the sport. They will sell you the bike you need and provide the necessary service that goes with your newfound passion.

They also provide tons of free advice gathered from years of experience – most everyone working in the shop also rides. Try and find that at the nearby big box retailer.

bicycling childDo It for Fun

Especially as a grown-up, when was the last time you did something just for the fun of it? Did it take you back to your childhood?

I grew up in some small towns where it was still safe to have Mom to say “Get out of here. I don’t want to see you until lunch.” No further prompting was needed and I headed out with my trusty steed beneath. (It was a Stingray knockoff but I loved riding it everywhere I could.) Oh the adventures, both real and imagined, that took place with that machine.

Time to Think

With all of the demands and distractions vying for our attention, finding a place to quiet the mind and spirit is extremely valuable. Cycling can be an action meditation or problem solving place for you.

Some days of riding can be for training goals but there occasionally creeps in those quintessential moments when the beauty of Nature just grabs your attention and makes you stop and appreciate the true world outside of the artificial ones we create.

Stay on the lookout for those moments because they give depth to Life.

The Downside

As with any sporting activity, there is risk, so be willing to embrace the challenges.

If you enjoy bicycling on the streets, you have or will contend with the highly distracted drivers behind the wheel these days. Just make yourself as visible to traffic as you can and don’t assume driver’s will always pay attention to things like traffic laws, stop signs, or the like. Expect the unexpected.

Of course encountering people like this …umm… gentleman, can also be an issue. (This is the sanitized version. If you want to experience the R-rated version, click here . Don’t say I didn’t warn you.)

Bicycling on trails is not a time to relax your vigilance either. The same distracted behavior you see on the streets will be present in walkers, runners, and even fellow riders on the trail. So heads up!

Not to be morbid, but understand that crashing while bicycling is a “when” proposition, not an “if”. Whether falling over when unable to free your foot from the pedal, to an encounter with a car, tree, or cyclist, you will end up on the ground at some time. With that awareness, just work at proactive measures to avoid the hazards.

bicycling adultsHave Fun

Bicycling is an activity that has “fun” as a central focus, whether you are 5 or 85. Riding a bike can give back so much more than you would expect. There are so many kinds of people and there are so many kinds of bikes and riding opportunities, finding a good match is almost guaranteed.

Enjoy!

Every time I see an adult on a bicycle, I no longer despair for the future of the human race.
-H. G. Wells

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