May is National Bike Month, and with the beautiful spring weather, it is just the right time to dust off your bicycle and take a ride. Cycling provides the physical health benefits of exercise as well as opportunities to explore your community and build friendships. Most cities have active cycling communities and cycling infrastructure for you to enjoy, and unlike some activities, cycling is a sport you can enjoy at any age. Plus with social distancing, it is the perfect exercise. Here are 7 tips to start cycling today.
If you’ve ever seen a cyclist all decked out in spandex, you might understandably feel a little intimidated. Don’t worry, though. You don’t need all that specialty clothing to enjoy a bike ride, even a long one. Some important gear you should have, though, are a helmet, extra tubes, a multi-tool, and a small hand pump. If you are planning on longer rides, bike shorts with a padded seat (called a chamois and pronounced “shammy”) will help you stay comfortable. Night rides require lights and there are rechargeable options available. You can purchase these items at your local bike shop or on-line for a relatively low cost. Many bike shops offer classes for beginning cyclists and they are happy to help you with your questions.
Make sure that you have a bicycle and helmet that fit you properly. Many bike shops have trained fit specialists who can help you make sure you find the most comfortable fit for you. If you already have a bike, they can help you place your seat at the optimum height. If you are in the market for a bike, they can tell you exactly what you need for your height and body type. Men and women have different body ratios, so it’s important to have a bike that is right for you. It might also be tempting to just use an old helmet that is laying around, but for safety reasons, it is important to replace a helmet every five to ten years, and always replace it immediately after an accident.
Whether your bike has been in constant use or collecting dust, it’s a good idea to have it tuned up to make sure all the parts are in working order. There are YouTube videos to help you learn basic bicycle maintenance and many bike shops offer classes, too. Make sure you know how to change a tube if you get a flat.
4. Test Rides
If you aren’t sure you want to financially commit to a bike right now, check to see if your community offers city bikes or bike shop rentals. This is a great way, too, to decide what type of bike interests you. Electric bikes or E-bikes offer riders an innovative way to continue riding whether they live in hilly areas or have experienced illness or injury that might make hills a little difficult. Recumbent bicycles, tandem bicycles, three-wheeled cruisers, and folding bikes are all good options and you can find one that best meets your particular needs. If you are nervous about biking outdoors, there are a variety of exercise bikes available in all price ranges.
5. Go For a Ride
Whether you opt to ride alone or with friends, riding your bike will help you feel great and reduce stress. Bike trails and recreation areas offer the safest place to ride whether you are a new or experienced cyclist. If you don’t have any near you, quiet neighborhood riding is a good alternative. If you haven’t ridden for a while, just get on your bike and go for a short ride. You’ll be happy you did.
6. Ride with Children
As an adult, it can be easy to see exercise as a chore or to be competitive with yourself. Children remind us of the sheer joy of biking. Take a ride with little kids or teach a child to ride a bike. Their laughter and excitement will remind you of your favorite cycling memories.
7. Join a Club
Most cities have bicycling clubs and organizations for people of all ages. Some offer weekly rides and others specialize in types of rides. Some focus on exercise and performance while others on camaraderie and food. Riding with a group can help motivate you. Find the group that is right for you and jump right in. Cyclists are some of the most welcoming people in any sport.
Whether you are a casual or serious cyclist, it is important to stay hydrated and maintain proper nutrition. The Superberries Aronia Berry Essentials Combo provides the right nutrition to keep you on track. Take the Aroniaberry Gummy Chews in convenient 100-calorie packages along to fuel your ride or splash a bit of the Aroniaberry Concentrate in your water bottle to provide nutrients while you hydrate. After your ride, the Freshly Frozen Aroniaberries are delicious in smoothies or yogurt for a recovery snack.