Spring is welcomed as much for its milder weather as it is for its sense of new beginnings. While we traditionally make resolutions at the start of the year, Spring is a great runner up. With longer, warmer days and the anticipation of summer ahead of us, it’s a great time to refresh your lifestyle and explore new activities.
With international travel still on the back burner, over the last year we’ve been appreciating our local landscapes and exploring our backyards more than ever. Cycling is your best friend for planning local adventures, days out with friends or just getting a dose of fresh air.
Here are our top reasons why you should take up cycling this Spring.
Cycling is an Affordable (and Eco-Friendly) Method of Travel
If your wallet is feeling a little light after one too many online purchases or dinners out, you may be thinking about ways to get your bank balance back up to a more comfortable level.
Unlike maintaining and running a car, biking is super affordable. There’s no gas required, no hefty insurance bill, no need for a parking permit and you can pick up a decent bike for under $200. The bike boom is on!
With no pollution or carbon dioxide emissions, cycling is also one of the greenest ways of getting around. Engine idling isn’t an issue when you’re on a bike, and noise pollution is reduced too. In total, riding your bike accounts for about 21g of CO2 emissions per kilometre – more than ten times less than a car!
All in all, it’s a useful, effective way to reduce your carbon footprint and help protect the planet.
You Can Ride your Way to Better Cardiovascular Health
To work exercise into their daily routine, car commuters often end up lengthening their days to squeeze in an hour at the gym, either before or after work.
With rush hour traffic, you can rest easy knowing you’ve not only saved time getting to work by bike, you’ve already added some cardiovascular exercise into your day, too. Biking has even been shown to lead to increased muscle strength and flexibility, improved joint mobility and decreased stress levels. Kind of magic, right?
Riding has Been Shown to Improve Mental Health as well as Brain Health
The positive impact exercise has on mental health is no secret. Research has shown that increasing your physical movement has shown to tackle mental health issues like depression and anxiety by releasing endorphins (or ‘happy hormones’). Many of us have taken a happiness hit or two as the pandemic has tightened its grip, so protecting our mental health and getting moving is more important than ever.
However, what is less widely known is the impact cycling in particular has on brain power. An article in Duvine.com explains that cycling is a “natural fertilizer” for our brains. “As we pedal, we increase healthy blood flow to the entire body, including the brain. Pumping oxygen and nutrients into this metabolically rapacious organ provides a kind of neural fertilizer, creating rich capillary beds in our brain’s gray matter and increasing the brain’s capacity to grow, function, and repair itself.”
So not only does getting behind the handlebars make us happier, it improves our cognitive function, too. Talk about bonus points!
Biking is Super Accessible
There’s a preconceived notion that gear and high fitness levels are required to take up cycling, which can scare people away. In reality, biking is actually one of the most inclusive, accessible sports there is. Any age person can do it, it’s fun to do solo or with friends and family, and you don’t have to wear head to toe lycra!
All you need is a bike, a helmet and some weather appropriate clothes. Check out our Dos and Don’ts of Biking for Beginners blog for tips and tricks on getting started.
It’s a Good Way to Make Friends and be Part of a Community
If we’ve learnt anything over the last year or so, it’s that community and connections with others is central to our overall happiness. There’s nothing like a shared interest to really bring people together. Since it’s largely an outdoor sport, you can safely socialize with other cyclists while socially distancing, making it an even more appealing sport to take up during these unusual times.
The cycling community is really welcoming, and active in organizing social events and rides. In fact, joining a group or a community is the first step to forming long and meaningful friendships. Check out our blog post with Fred Zelt, founder of the Social Distance Cycling Club to learn more about the cycling community and how you can get involved.
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