What Can Riding a Bicycle Do for You?
There are so many benefits of bicycling that we can bring into our daily lives. To feel the cool breeze across your sweat-stained face and brush past your hair.
To feel that sense of freedom, going twenty-plus miles per hour, unfettered by seatbelts and steering wheel is an exhilarating rush. Not to mention, getting out of your house is so cathartic.
Finding activities that you can do while social distancing can be tough, cycling, however, fits the bill. That is, as long as you are not in large groups or crowded places. Keeping up to 6 feet of space around you is easier with three feet of bike factored in.
Don’t forget your helmet, though
Most of us learned how to ride a bicycle when we were children.
Starting with a tricycle, then a bigger bike with training wheels, and finally the full bicycle itself, two wheels with nothing to hold it up but you.
Do you remember the thrill of doing this?
When you didn’t need anyone to steady you as balanced on the pedals and moved forward?
The sense of accomplishment.
The feeling of freedom.
And the fun.
Yet many of us have since let go of our bicycles.
If you haven’t given your bike to a family member or friend, or donated it to Goodwill, or, sold it for a few extra bucks to spend on gas — then your bike is probably sitting in the back of your closet or in your garage idly rusting and gathering dust.
The hectic pace of our lives makes us trim away so many things we think we don’t need anymore. Old hobbies are discarded, books are left unread, friendships fade away with growing distance and the receding of time.
And although we have to make many sacrifices in our lives, if we are constantly losing touch with the people, activities, and things that are most important to us, then life quickly loses its zest.
This is not even to mention the accumulated unwanted weight and a general feeling of all-the-time tiredness that won’t seem to go away.
But maybe it’s time for you to change something in your life —
And maybe cycling can lead you forward.
It can be just the thing to not only get you back into shape, but maybe to reshape your life.
With the restored energy you’ll feel after a bike ride, and getting yourself back into shape, you’ll be bursting with energy and optimism and see the opportunities that lie all around you.
There are so many benefits to be gained by cycling: physical and mental health, financial savings, and even a spiritual boost.
So let’s go — Come take a ride through the benefits of bicycling.
Physical Health Benefits of Bicycling
Riding a bike regularly can really help to improve one’s physical health.
Cardiovascular exercise is one of the best ways to burn calories and lose weight.
And bicycling is a great method of this activity.
And it’s really fun, too.
Cycling can help to tone your leg muscles, which can also help you burn calories more easily.
A more muscular body requires more calories to stay energized, and so whatever you eat is much more quickly burned up.
It’ll keep you in great shape —
Cycling is one of the best ways to stay physically healthy.
But there’s also another a part of the body that cycling can help immensely.
Mental Health Benefits of Bicycling
Exercise is intrinsically good for your physical health. But it’s just as good for your mental health, too.
Even a half-hour a day of cardiovascular aerobic exercise can truly refresh you, and clear your mind of worries. Somehow, it seems like one’s problems come out with all the sweat. It’s physically and mentally relaxing.
And biking is a great way to get this exercise.
Going outside, spending time in nature, breathing fresh air.
These are some things that are constantly recommended to us as being good not only for the body, but for the mind and soul as well.
We need to reconnect with nature, for we are a part of nature, too.
And bicycling is a great way to get outside and get away from your usual worries and chores and list of things to do.
Some benefits of exercise on mental health are:
- Increased blood flow to the brain
- Relaxation of nerves
- Releasing of stress
- Being surrounded by nature
- A more separate activity from your daily work
On the whole, riding a bicycle is a net benefit to your health, both physical and mental.
The Importance of Joy
Since bicycling is by nature a bit more fun than walking on a treadmill or lifting weights (although those can be fun, too).
The increased enjoyment you take in this activity can really improve your outlook on the world.
And if bicycling is something you already enjoy doing, or something that becomes more fun for you once you try it out for some time, then you’ll reap the added reward of spending more time doing things you enjoy in life.
Too many of us can strip our lives down to the bare bone, focusing on work and paying the bills, attending events and functions we may or may not want to go to.
The first things to go once we get extremely busy are the things that bring us real joy.
And we can soon find ourselves losing energy to do these other things.
But you shouldn’t let these things go.
Biking can be a great escape as well as a tremendous re-energizer. After you’ve biked for about half an hour, maybe an hour if you’re really digging it, you’ll come back to your work (after you’ve showered and caught your breath) filled with renewed energy.
The vigor that you seemed to have lost will be restored to you, and you’ll breathe easier, and focus more on the moment.
Bicycling, as well as being good for the body and mind, is good for the soul.
Biking as Meditation
One of the best activities to improve one’s mental and physical health is meditation.
And one of the very best things you can do to improve your well-being is meditation.
But how is biking like meditation? In fact, they resemble each other quite a lot.
When you meditate, you focus on the breath, letting worries and problems and pains and plans dissipate into the background.
Breathe in. Breathe out. And repeat.
After some time, your interior monologue, that frenzied mental chatter, begins to subside and you feel much more relaxed than before.
Biking can really enable this.
You put on your helmet and get on your bike and start riding. Your mind is focused on the motions. It takes a bit to get into it again. You may start thinking about what happened earlier that day or what you’re planning to do later.
But soon enough, while the wheels keep spinning, your mind ceases it supposedly ceaseless spinning.
You’re relaxed, moving, and at one with the motion, with the act of bicycling. And getting your mind off everything else in the world and focused on one thing is meditation itself.
Now you might be thinking about all the obstacles that present themselves to you while biking: pedestrians, dogs, rocks on the concrete, cars, stoplights, stop signs, etc.
But these can be seen as physical manifestations of one’s mental obstacles, too.
Once you just accept them and see them for what they are, they cease to be obstacles at all.
They are simply there. They simply are. You simply are.
And biking can help you to realize that.
Biking and Curiosity
A brief note on the intellectual benefits of biking. If you get really into biking, you’re probably going to start shopping for new equipment.
Whether it’s purchasing new gears for your bike, buying custom chains, or rigging out your reflectors, there’s a lot to pique one’s curiosity in the mechanics of bicycles themselves.
You can repaint your bike in your favorite color.
Give it a shiny metallic sheen, or put interesting decals on it.
There are plenty of gadgets you can add to your bike to make it cooler and even semi-futuristic.
You can also go back to the basics and place a beribboned basket on your handlebar, fully equipped with a noisy honking horn.
There’s no telling what you can do to improve your bike on a technical level and make it more personal and reflective of who you are as an individual.
And such material improvements can improve you as a person, too.
Such intellectual curiosity can make life far more fun and interesting, and make you a more interesting person as well.
Just don’t get too carried away and try to put wings on your bicycle in an attempt to fly —
Stick to the solid ground.
I Want to Ride My Bicycle
Make sure to have fun while cycling. It’s no real use if bicycling becomes just another thing that you do compulsively.
Another dreaded check on your to-do-list, something that must be done after having finished all the other things that must be done.
Don’t get me wrong.
Sometimes you have to push yourself a bit when you just start exercising again.
And some days you may not feel like riding, even though riding your bicycle may be the best thing you can possibly do at that moment.
But if, after a while, you don’t enjoy bicycling as much, you should reconsider how you’re going on about it.
You don’t have to ride your bike every single day.
Maybe you want to be a weekend cyclist, since your weekdays are chockful of work and appointments.
Adding a mandatory bike ride to that may be a bit too much.
Maybe you do have time in your week to bike, but perhaps not every day.
That’s totally fine.
You can ride your bike every other day, or take a break when you feel like it.
Biking can, and should, be fun. And you should keep it fun.
Don’t feel the need to pressure yourself so much about it. Do it when you can. Do it when you want to. And, on the whole, try to keep your activities, and by extension, your life, enjoyable.
Every day can feel like a weekend, even when it’s not, if you reframe it to include joy. You can reinvigorate every single moment of your life to not only feel optimally productive and get more work done, but to actually enjoy it.
Bike for fun, and have fun when you bike.
Most people think of the gym when they think of working out.
A nice, (maybe) clean, air-conditioned place with every amenity possible to make your workout comfortable.
However, there’s something to be said for getting outside, and getting a great big dose of fresh air.
And bicycling is a great way to spend time in nature and exercise at the same time —
Instead of a long, arduous hike, you can whizz by on your bike.
Through your suburban neighborhood, a bike path, down a country road.
You can even bike to your local park.
The physical act of going outside is underestimated and often overlooked in our lives.
We can get so busy with our indoor lives that the outside world seems like a waste of time.
But it’s not.
Going outside can make you realize that you are only one part of a vast and enormous world.
And such a realization can make you humble (in a good way), and realize that your problems are not insurmountable and that you are only human after all.
We need to keep a balance in our lives —
Indoor and outdoor.
Solitude and company.
Human activity and the natural world.
And riding your bicycle can really help you to achieve such a balance.
One of the best ways to keep this balance is by balancing on those two wheels as you ride your bicycle wherever you desire.
A Great Way to Commute
If you live within thirty minutes of your workplace, you may want to try cycling to work.
Make sure that the roads are safe, and you know the route first, of course.
Cycling to work is a great way to integrate exercise into your daily routine —
Not to mention saving you tons of money on gas. And less frequent mechanical repair costs.
You may not want to trade in your car for two wheels just yet, but after some time you may realize that you don’t have to drive everywhere.
During normal times, most of us drive mainly to work, to get groceries, meet up with friends in the area, etc.
Many of these activities take place in locations quite close to one’s primary residence.
And a lot of them are within walking distance.
Or biking distance.
If you need to get a few groceries, you can try riding your bike to your local supermarket or grocery store. Of course, if you’re getting a TON of food, you may want to take your car instead. But if you’re making a quick errand, you can bike there.
You can also ride your bicycle to a friend’s house.
Or better yet, meet up with a friend or two to go on a bike ride around the neighborhood.
You don’t have to go all the way to a national park or nature trail —
You can just ride to the local park or even around a few blocks.
Biking with friends is a great way to stay connected with them while keeping in shape at the same time.
Granted, this suggestion works better in more urban areas, where businesses and services are more closely placed together.
Biking down country roads can be extremely fun, too.
And it beats trying to weave past crowds of people.
More on that soon. But first, why not ride your bicycle in the suburbs?
Cycling in The Suburbs
You can liven up your suburban life by riding your bike.
There’s nothing like a peaceful, carefree bicycle ride around one’s neighborhood —
Whether it’s a sunny Saturday morning, or a cool afternoon after a stressful workday, riding one’s bike down the block can be a fun way to release stress, and move around.
You’ll become more familiar with your neighborhood as well, and maybe meet up with your neighbors, and get to know them better.
Making friends while at the same time building muscle.
That’s not a bad way to go, increasing your mental health and physical health at the same time.
The suburbs are often seen as places where the streets go on and on and on, and there’s nothing but houses and more houses.What a great place to ride your bike!There’s usually less traffic in the suburbs, thus making it a safe and easy area to ride your bicycle. It’s usually a quiet place to cycle through and can give you a sense of peace and relaxation, two things we sorely need these days.Just make sure not to ride across your neighbor’s lawn —
Bike Me Home, Country Roads
Bicycling is a great way to commute in the cities, but you may not live in one, and so find it hard to commute to work via bicycle if you reside in a more rural area.
But you can still ride your bike there.
Cycling down an unpaved country road can be a gloriously fun experience —
Even quieter and more spacious and in-touch-with nature than a suburban area, you’re free to roam more widely.
And you may get the benefit of riding down a long string of hills, with no cars in sight.
And biking hard uphill will be well worth it once you reach the peak, and then go down the other side.
It can be as thrilling as a roller coaster: nothing but wind —
It’s a great feeling.
How Biking Has Improved People’s Lives
Each human being is capable of far more than they think they can do.
We are often hindered by our own self-limitations, and afraid to test the boundaries of what we can actually accomplish.
Participating in a 10k bike race or taking on the momentous task of biking a marathon can stretch us beyond these self-imposed limits —
And afterward, the problems we encounter in our day-to-day lives can really be put into perspective.
Biking to work may not seem so difficult after stretching yourself so much (unless you live more than five kilometers away from your workplace!).
And what you thought was an insurmountable difficulty beforehand becomes something that you can readily do.
Accomplishment leads to more accomplishment. And the more obstacles you conquer, the more you can conquer in the future.
And we can take inspiration from these amazing cyclists mentioned below.
Famous Cyclists to Inspire You
There are so many people we can draw inspiration from these days.
And thanks to the internet and television, we can peek into the lives of many of these extremely impressive individuals to inspire us with courage, fortitude, and the will to persist beyond one’s self-imposed limitations.
With an incredible dedication to his sport, and an amazing laser-like focus, you can tell that Justin Rossi cycles for the sake of the cycling itself.
He keeps himself in superb physical and mental health, eating healthy and doing a variety of exercises, including yoga.
He seeks to achieve a balance on and off the bike, to ensure that he performs at his optimal level.
In 2014, he placed first in multiple categories in the Mighty Tour de Nez, a stellar achievement.
And since then, he has consistently placed in the top three in many races.
His dedication to the sport is inspiring, and you can tell he is someone who truly loves cycling.
One of the most well-known and celebrated professional cyclists, Fabiana Luperini, demonstrates what it takes to be an amazing athlete.
She placed first in four consecutive races in the nineties.
A staggering feat for any cyclist to achieve.
But she outdid herself by attaining yet another victory over a decade later.
And this is not even mentioning her numerous other honors and trophies. It’s a long list.
Such an outstanding athletic accomplishment couldn’t be done without the daily discipline, drive, and dedication to the sport and art of cycling.
It’s astonishing to behold, and, honestly, extremely humbling and inspiring.
Even if you don’t aspire to be a professional athlete or a super-dedicated cyclist, it is encouraging to look up to those who are.
Their example of overcoming tremendously difficult physical odds can teach us lessons we can apply to our daily lives.
Constant, daily, dedicated practice is a truly beneficial and self-perpetuating virtue, whether in our work, exercise, sports, hobbies, or avocations.
The more often you do something, the better you get at it, especially if you focus on aspects that you need to improve, and working hard to fix those.
“Having success at something,” Justin Rossi says, “is extra motivation.”
And finding joy in the act of biking itself can really help us to enjoy everything else in our lives.
We need heroes to look up to, and these cyclists can inspire us to move further in our lives, to push boundaries we didn’t think could be pushed, to reach heights we never before dreamt of, to look further than we ever thought possible.
They can inspire us to do so much, and to be more than we thought we could be.
Or they could just inspire us to ride our bikes and have a whole lotta fun doing so.
Biking and Minimalism
Get rid of your car.
It’s big; it’s bulky, it’s boring. It costs a lot of money, and you’re always filling it up with gas (every other day, it seems), or taking it in for an oil change, or to get yet another costly car repair done (and there’s an endless amount of things that absolutely need to be taken care of right away, if you ask your mechanic).
Unless you REALLY like to drive or REALLY need to, a car is probably weighing you down.
And unless you’re extremely suggestible, you probably won’t do this. Fair enough.
You don’t actually have to get rid of your car, but you can minimize your use of it by cycling.
And cycling can minimize your costs, too —
Riding your bicycle more often, in lieu of driving, can really save you a lot of dough.
Depending on how often you substitute it, you can decrease your gas expenditures and make less frequent trips to the mechanic.
You’ve still got to pay insurance, though, but the savings will really start adding up in a short amount of time.
It can also give you an excuse NOT to stop by the drive-thru —
You can’t really balance a large drink and an extra value meal on the handlebar.
But if you can manage to do so, you’re in far better shape already, so it’s all for the good.
And the prices of those meals adds up along with the pounds.
Skip it, along with all these other costs of driving.
At least every now and then.
Simplify Your Life, Ride a Bike
Just by making cycling a normal part of your life, you’ll cut down on a lot of stressful factors.
If you use a bike to commute, you can avoid automobile traffic altogether (and in places like LA, that cuts out a LOT of tension).
This is in addition to the physical and mental health factors previously discussed.
The simple act of bicycling can simplify your life —
And you don’t have to go full-minimalist to feel this.
After you come back from your bike ride, you’ll notice that things seem simpler and clearer.
Biking can be a great way to get away from your seemingly extremely complex problems, refresh yourself, and come back to find the answer is simpler than you at first assumed.
The simple of act of biking contains so many benefits –
physical exercise, mental rejuvenation, experiencing the outdoors, and decluttering one’s mind of excessive, needless worry.
And all you’ve got to do is ride your bicycle to reap these rewards —
This one simple activity can really change your life.
Bicycling provides so many benefits to someone who decides to take up this great hobby.
It’s one of the modes of exercise that can actually be fun, even for people who usually don’t like to exercise.
Whether you decide to ride your bicycle in a marathon, or just take a quick spin around the block, bicycling can definitely enrich and improve your life.
Try it out.
Riding a bicycle has changed so many lives for the better.
And it can change yours!