7 reasons to get on your bike
If you’re finding it hard to get out there on your bike, read on. Maybe you’re thinking about riding a bike for the first time but you’re not sure if it’s for you. Perhaps many years have passed since you last rode and don’t know if you can still do it. Maybe you think you’re too old. Or perhaps you’ve been out for a while with injury or family commitments. There could be many reasons why you aren’t enjoying the simple freedom of moving along under your own power. We all know how easy it is to just keep things as they are. Change that we initiate ourselves though, is a gateway to self-expression. If getting on a bike is a change you’re wanting to make, here are 7 reasons to get on your bike that might encourage you.
1. Ride your way to wellness.
Riding a bike keeps your body moving. Movement is an antidote to modern lives made sedentary by technology and motorised transport. The health benefits that flow from cycling have been well-researched. But there’s a Danish study that really stands out to me. Across fifteen years, researchers tracked 30,000 randomly selected people from all age-groups, and interestingly they found that people who rode a bicycle to and from work were 40 percent less likely to have died during the 15-year study. Their average commute was about fifteen minutes each way. On my work commute, fifteen minutes sees me travel about four kilometres and if I’m on my e-bike, then I travel about five kilometres. The distance doesn’t have to be far but riding regularly is so very beneficial to our health and well-being.
2. Use your bike as transport for trips within 5 kilometres from home.
If you really want to inject physical activity into your life, then swap your car for a bike for travelling short trips. I have an orbit from home of about five kilometres that is within my reach for riding to the shops, the farmers’ markets, and the beach; and for going out to dinner, coffee or catch-ups with friends. This way, riding my bike becomes incidental to my everyday life. I get exercise and physical activity simply by using my bike to go about living life. I also have no problem with getting a park!
3. Share social time with friends and family
Bicycle riding can be a solo pursuit but also very social. Many people ride in regular group rides where there is a strong camaraderie and support. Riding in a bicycle group when I first moved to the Gold Coast, I enjoyed new friendships, learnt more about bike riding and had a good introduction to the streets and suburbs. Now, family rides have become a feature in my bicycle life. Annually, I ride with two of my brothers for our sibling ride. No partners. Just the three of us and our bicycles for a couple of days of riding, eating and sharing stories new and old. This is precious time made possible by our shared enjoyment of bike riding. Time spent riding with family connects us in healthy ways.
4. Be a positive influencer of your young ones
I love sharing a bike ride with my six-year-old grandniece who zooms along the footpath with tassels streaming from the ends of her handlebars, ringing her bell and sprinkling polite ‘thank-yous’ along the path behind her as she passes pedestrians. As a mother, aunt or grandmother, you can share bike rides with your children, nieces, nephews or grandchildren. And by being that bicycle-riding mum, aunt or grandma, you’re leading a healthy active lifestyle and influencing the choices of those who look to you for guidance. You’re more powerful than you realise.
5. Create new travel experiences by exploring by bike
Exploring a town or city by bicycle brings me a new experience. I see the landscape more clearly, feel changes in temperature and pause to view the sights. I meet the place in a new way. Whether I’m travelling with my bicycle on the back of a car, hiring a bike at my destination, or bicycle touring, one thing remains the same. Riding a bicycle makes my travelling life even better.
6. Express your concern for the environment
Choosing to ride a bicycle is an action you can take to create a more sustainable lifestyle. Bicycle riding is a pollution-free transport option, requires minimal fossil fuels and requires smaller scale infrastructure for pathways. Taking constructive action around the global issue of climate change can feel out of reach. Your choice to regularly ride a bike, to swap the car for a bike as much as you can, is a positive step you can take.
7. Contribute to a quieter, kinder, healthier community.
Bicycles are a quiet mode of transport. On my bike, I can easily connect with people in my neighbourhood – a simple hello, give them a wave, acknowledge them and our shared experience of this community. On a bike, life can be a little slower yet still active and generating good health.
Perhaps you’ll think I’m a dreamer on this one. I really don’t mind. This is a future I imagine as possible, and I hope you do too.
Gail Rehbein is a bicycle-riding writer who loves to share stories, information and inspiration about life seen from two wheels on Australia’s Gold Coast and beyond. You can find her work and make contact on her website A Bike for All Seasons. She is also an ambassador for Bicycle Queensland.
Follow Gail on Instagram: @abike4allseasons