Why not have a go at cycling this month and enjoy the many benefits it offers…
I must confess that I am a fair-weather Cyclist! I find no attraction in cycling in wind, rain or cold but I hugely admire those cyclists who do. But once we get to the warmer clime you will find me eagerly taking the cover off my road bike and heading out for a ride.
I first got into cycling about 8 years ago when I was looking at mixing up my workouts. I bought myself a Hybrid initially, which is a cross between a road bike and a mountain bike. It has the benefit of being general purpose and is able to ride over various types of terrain, making it a good option for commuting. It is the bike I would go to if I was going on the Preston Guild Wheel as it is suitable for the road surfaces you will encounter.
In the last two years I have purchased a road bike with cleated shoes and pedals. The cycle shoe clips into the pedal giving you the advantage of working both the up stroke as well as the down, thus ensuring more speed. It can be a scary experience being clipped in and my first encounter resulted in me unclipping my left foot and then falling to the right!! It seems to hurt much more when you are an adult. Undeterred I practised and I have got used to them now and they do make a massive difference.
Cycling has become much more popular in recent years with people seeing the health benefits. It is a low impact exercise, so it is easier on the joints but still gives you a great work out, getting you toned up and in shape. It is easy to incorporate cycling into your routine, you may decide to cycle to work both saving money and time. Or you can cycle for fun and make it a family event. Regular cycling can reduce the risk of chronic illnesses such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes and stroke. As with many exercises it can boost your mood and help keep a healthy weight. The best way to get these benefits are to try and cycle for 150 minutes a week. This may sound a lot but start slowly and break it down. Perhaps 20 minutes for your first session followed by 2 x 30 minute rides. You will soon find that this is achievable and you will be wanting to go further and longer.
Now for the important part – the do’s and don’ts of cycling: Always wear a helmet and personally I would recommend cycling gloves and glasses. Never wear headphones or use a mobile phone, yes people do! Observe the Highway Code, as a road user you should obey traffic lights and road signals. Look behind before you turn, overtake or stop. Always give arm signals when turning left or right. My pet hate – NEVER ride on the pavement, if you are an adult, unless it is clearly marked as a cycle path. Make sure that you are visible to all drivers, high vis jacket or top, bike lights and never dress all in black.
The British Cycling Website has a wealth of information and advice to get started so Happy Cycling!