Cycling look sets to go into boomtime. What with the thrills of Bradley Wiggins becoming the first Brit to win the Tour de France and our Olympics heroes set to go into battle on the rack and road in London over the next few weeks, cycling fever has never been higher. Across the country, children and adults have been inspired to get on their bikes – or back on their bikes – and bicycle manufacturers are reporting big sales growths.
On top of this, cycling is becoming an increasingly popular form of transport as petrol prices and traffic congestion increase. In cites and towns across the UK there has been a definite increase in the number of cyclists, especially during the summer months.
The great thing about cycling is that is can be done by all – and at your own level. If you have desire to become the next Olympic cycling hero then, by all means, go for it! We will be cheering you on. But if you simply fancy an easy-going outing with friends or family then cycling is an ideal way to go. You don’t need any fancy kit – apart form a bike helmet for safety – and you’ll be comfortable on shorter bike rides in your general outdoor clothing. Remember to take a waterproof jacket for days when it might rain.
But perhaps you need a little more persuading to get on your bike.
The top benefits of cycling
Saves you money: Apart from walking, cycling is the cheapest way to travel. It is far cheaper per mile than public transport or driving. You will not be charged for parking your bike, either.
Good for your health: Cycling is a cardiovascular exercise, means your will reduce your risk of heart disease, some forms of cancer and diabetes. Cycling also boosts your immune system and helps in the prevention and cure of depression.
You’ll look better: Cycling uses fat as fuel so you’ll lose weight and improve your body shape. Cycling at a moderate speed, a person weighing 10st will burn about 500 calories per hour.
Live longer: Statistics show that people who, for example, cycle to work regularly enjoy the wellbeing of people 10 years their junior.
Be greener: More than two-thirds of all car journeys made in the UK are between one and two miles, and nearly 75 per cent are less than five miles. These journeys create pollution, but most people are capable of cycling short distances, and making the most of one of the greenest forms of transport.
Time saver: If you take into account traffic queues, traffic lights and the volume of cars on the road at busy commuter times, it is often quicker to cycle. A cyclist can easily average 10 miles an hour, even when the streets are congested and up to 18 mph.
Good for the kids: As more children become over weight and inactive, parents can set an example of a healthier lifestyle by encouraging family cycle rides.
See Britain at its best: There are so many beautiful places to be seen by bike. Cycling at a level of effort similar to a gentle stroll you’ll cover enough ground to complete a forest loop, a tour of a country park or a pleasant afternoon exploring villages with cafe stops and tourist attractions. Also check out Sustrans for a wealth of great, cycle friendly routes both on and off-road.