Ride a Bicycle for Summer Fun and Fitness

Summer is a perfect time to get out and ride a bicycle. The weather is warm, the days are long, and every year the United Nations celebrates World Bicycle Day, a global event that celebrates the benefits of cycling.

Read on for all the reasons why biking is the best way to get around this summer. And if you haven’t been on a bike since you were a kid, we also have a few tips to help get you back in the saddle. Bells and handlebar streamers optional.

Ride a Bicycle
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Riding a Bike is Good for the Body, Mind, and Planet

Ride a Bicycle for Physical and Mental Health

In 2017, American bike commuters logged an estimated 8.5 billion miles on two wheels. The best part? When you ride a bicycle to your job, you knock out your commute and your workout all at once.

Biking is a great cardio exercise, especially working the lower body (leg day, anyone?) and core. According to the Mayo Clinic, it’s also easier on the joints than many other aerobic activities, and it’s good for people with osteoarthritis. That means even your grandma can enjoy the benefits of a ride.

Cycling is also good for the mind. Fitness tracker MapMyRun noted that cycling increases the protein BDNF, which is linked to a healthy brain, boosting good mental activity and reducing the risk of disease. Plus, riding a bike is linked to reduced stress and depression. Simply put, biking makes you feel good.

Cycling is Good for the Earth

The benefits of cycling go way beyond the individual, though. Bikes help to reduce traffic congestion, require no fossil fuels to operate, and put nothing into the air except your own sweat. Plus, bike lanes need way less space than traditional roads, so more cycling also means more room for trees and other greenery. It’s #plantlife, except for the planet.


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How to Get Started on Two Wheels

Ready to get out and ride? Here are a few pointers to get you going.

Find a Bike that Fits You – and the Way You Ride

The first step to a great ride is a great bike. There are two important factors in finding the right bicycle: how it fits the type of biking you want to do and how it fits your body. Your local bike shop is a great resource to help you find the right set of wheels for both.

If you’re not yet ready to take the plunge – or if you’re still trying to figure out what type of bike you need – renting is a great option too. In addition to traditional rentals, many cities now offer bike-sharing programs for convenient, easy access to two-wheeled transportation.

Brush Up on Your Safety Skills & Gear Before You Ride a Bicycle

Do you know how to signal a left turn? Change a flat tire? These skills are not just helpful on a bike – they’re essential for your safety and enjoyment. Cyclists need to know how to effectively communicate their intentions without the use of flashers and brake lights. Plus, if something goes wrong, knowing how to make roadside repairs is crucial to getting you going again.

And don’t forget your gear! Are helmets dorky? Heck, yes. But if you ever really need it, you won’t care. We promise.

Ease In to Your Ride

Going too hard too fast is a great way to burn out. Instead, ease in to build your confidence and your riding muscles. If it’s been a while since you’ve been on a bike, take one for a spin in an empty lot or on an easy path.

Practice signaling for turns and, if you’re using clips, hopping on and off the pedals safely. Make your first rides short, even as little as 10-15 minutes, and build up your stamina for longer distances over time.


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Relax and Enjoy It

Don’t get hung up on the pressure to ride a bicycle like you’re in the Tour de France (unless you are – in that case, ride like hell). Take your bike on a leisurely trip to get coffee or pick up a few groceries. Join a group ride (bonus points if it’s themed or naked). Take a two-wheeled tour of a new city or even your own.

Whatever and however you ride, have fun!