Everyone should learn to ride a bike. It’s as easy as learning to ride…well, a bike. And the thing is once you have learned is not something you ever forget you can do.
1. It’s really, really good for your heart
Let’s get the really obvious ones out of the way first. You don’t have to take part in endurance mountain bike races or train like an athlete to get the benefits of cycling. 20 miles a week on a bike can reduce your risk of coronary heart disease by 50%. For the record, even an unfit, overweight, cyclist in their mid-30’s (this author, 4 years ago) could manage that in one go in just over 120 minutes.
2. Boost your immune system
Riding a bike and getting some moderate exercise can boost your immune system, so you can beat off colds and minor infections much easier than if you were a couch potato. Human beings were designed by evolution to be physically active most of the time.
3. Save money by commuting by bike
It’s a great way to save for future investments. Save on bus fares, and save on gas, by simply pedaling two wheels to work. As an added benefit, you won’t have to listen to those infuriatingly annoyingly chirpy drive time radio shows that cut to traffic news and depressing news updates every 2 minutes, and cutting the last 30 seconds off your favorite music track.
4. Increase Vitamin D
Unless you spend your weekends and evenings on an indoor bike to get fit, then it will come as no surprise to know that a lack of sunlight can have a major impact on vitamin D levels. This is even more of an issue during those long cold winter nights when all of us would rather be soaking up the latest box set on Netflix than taking your life in your hands by cycling in the dark.
5. Get to actually know the place you live
When you cycle, you’ll find yourself trying to find a way to stay off the roads. You’d be amazed how much opportunity there is to just explore your local surroundings, or how much of it there actually is when you’re not in your car. You might find a river you don’t know existed, a café that sells the best mocha latte in the northern hemisphere. Most people never truly realize just how much there is so close to us, and maybe you’ll learn to appreciate your local community all the more for it.
6. Lose the weight in your saddle
When most people try to lose weight, the first thing they do is buy some running shoes and some ridiculous lycra and they start jogging, or running. While jogging is without doubt an excellent, and cost effective way to slim down and lose some pounds, you can go further on a bike regardless of your fitness levels, so it’s good for your mental health too.
7. Save the planet
Cycling is not only really good for you, it’s also really, really good for the planet. Yay! You can justifiably ride your bike and know with each pedal stroke you’re helping save the world. Go you. 70% of all car journeys could be made on a bike in less than 20 minutes. In the USA, 30% of all greenhouse emissions are motor vehicle related.