I’m a cyclist. As a young girl I spent many weekend hours on my 10 speed mauve colored huffy, pedaling the town alongside my older sister. Today that passion for cycling still remains and is stronger than ever. For me, riding year round is the norm and training is a combination of both hard work and meditation.
May is recognized as National Bike Month. Sponsored by the League of American Bicyclists, this event is celebrated in communities from coast to coast. The intention is to simply highlight the multitude of cycling’s benefits as well as to encourage people to become involved in the sport.
I don’t know about you, but I certainly can’t think of many things better than being out in the open air, taking in the sights and sounds of the great outdoors, being in tune with nature, and at the same time creating a happier and healthier body and mind.
Cycling increases cardiorespiratory fitness without adding strain to the joints. It develops strength in the quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, calves, and core, aids in reducing blood pressure, improves sleep quality, and is a huge player in stress reduction. And, this is only a handful of its many benefits!
Whether your interest is in reducing your carbon foot print through riding to work, or becoming a weekend cycling warrior, below is a list of items you will need to get started.
- Bike: You can expect to spend anywhere from $500 to $3000 and up. The cheaper the bike, generally the heavier the frame and wheels. This will depend on your intentions for riding. Your bike shop can get you fitted on your new bike to make sure everything is adjusted properly.
- Clothing: At the minimum, a good padded bike shorts will change your life (seriously!) A bike jersey that both wicks the sweat away, provides sun protection and contains handy pockets is also helpful. The back pockets are perfect for holding your phone, cash, and snacks.
- Accessories: Helmet, padded cycling gloves, water bottle and sunglasses. It’s also wise to be prepared and carry a patch kit/supplies to fix an unexpected flat tire.
Once you have your gear, you’re good to go! Remember as with other fitness activities, it’s important to train smart. Start slow and build your miles gradually and implement some cross training to avoid injury. A simple over-all strength training plan twice a week combined with flexibility exercises to stretch your major muscle groups post ride will all lead to better conditioning and success.
People ride for lots of reasons. For me, it’s time without words - a time that belongs to me. We all take what we need from cycling. So whether you’re a solo or a group rider, let’s welcome National Bike Month with a bang! Get out and explore the roads and trails that NC has to offer. Need an extra incentive? Register for an upcoming cycling event. There are many local rides that accommodate riders of all skill levels. So grab your bike and go….I’ll see you out there!