MAY IS NATIONAL BIKE MONTH
MAY IS NATIONAL BIKE MONTH
The League of American Bicyclists sponsors National Bike Month each year so that cycling enthusiasts across the country can celebrate the many benefits of cycling. According to them, among U.S. adults, bicycling is the third-most-popular and the second-most-frequent outdoor activity. This organization advocates for a “Bicycle Friendly America” and among its projects is a Ride Smart Program that lists resources for bicycle safety information.
It is perhaps a rite of passage for many of us who remember the repeated sprawls on the sidewalk as our dads, with varying degrees of patience, helped us up, brushed off the dirt and put us on back on the seat. They would then propel us along to the next encounter with concrete! Mastering that elusive “sense of balance”, that was paid for with many scrapes, cuts, iodine and bandages, however, was completely worth it when we suddenly went flying down the street, with the wind blowing past our smiling faces.
Bicycling is one of the best ways to get exercise and see the sights. Riding-in-your-own-neighborhood and off-road-adventure cycling each have their own perils, and injuries can happen even on a designated path.
Here then are some reminders of the basics of cycling safety and some resources
PLAN TO BE SEEN
- Wear neon, fluorescent or other bright clothing
- Whenever possible, ride during the day
- If you ride at night, wear reflective clothing
- Use flashing lights day and night
INSPECT YOUR BIKE
- Seat should be proper height
- Check the brakes
- Check the tire inflation
- Reflectors, horn or bell, rear-view mirror & headlight are recommended
WEAR A HELMET
- Everyone of all ages and every ride of all lengths call for a helmet
- Ensure that the helmet is certified by the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
- Ensure the proper snug fit of the helmet. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administraton (NHTSA) is a great resource for detailed guidelines on fitting a bicycle helmet
FOLLOW THE RULES OF THE ROAD
- Get acquainted with the traffic laws that govern your cycling location
- Never hitch onto cars
- Ride single-file
- Remain alert for road hazards
- Check out apps like Trailforks and data-vars-ga-outbound-link="https://www.viewranger.com/en-us">Viewranger to find the best mountain bike trails near you
According to Selene Yeager with Leslie Bonci, MPH, RD, in Bicycling.com, May 7, 2021, “…even when you can’t walk or hobble, you can still ride a bike. …Nearly anyone of any fitness level can pedal a bike for five or more miles. Regular or daily cycling has been found to prevent weight gain (and boost fat loss), fight depression, and help stave off a host of health problems, including heart disease, cancer, and diabetes…” and they go on to identify 5 “…unique health benefits…” as described briefly below.
STEADY, SUSTAINABLE FAT LOSS
Even at a recreational pace, cycling sparks metabolic and physiological changes that turn you into a highly efficient fat- and carbohydrate-burner all
BETTER HEART HEALTH
Cycling makes your skeletal muscle more insulin-sensitive, so you’re better able to control your blood sugar level which is essential for clear arteries and good heart health. 20 miles a week of cycling reduces your risk of coronary heart disease by half when compared with staying sedentary.
A BIGGER, HEALTHIER BRAIN
Exercise that raises your heart rate, like cycling, dramatically increases the production of biochemicals that promotes stem cell division and new brain cell formation. All of this brain-health building gives you better, sharper memory skills, stronger concentration ability, more fluid thinking and reasoning, and greater problem-solving abilities.
SLEEP LIKE A BABY
Quality sleep, which is generally considered to be about 7 hours a night, sustains your hormones at healthy levels that lead you to eat “right”, reduce mood disorders and elevate immunity. Sleep onset insomnia has been shown to improve by half with just 20 – 30 minutes of cycling every other day.
MILES OF SMILES
Cycling lifts your spirits—nearly immediately and in as little as 10 minutes. It burns off excess adrenaline, slows the production of the stress hormone cortisol, and boosts the production of feel-good hormones like serotonin and dopamine.
Well - - we could go on and on – but, really that would keep you off your bicycle and the wonderful, fun and benefits we just described. So for now, we will just encourage you to grab your gear, complete your safety checklist and head out to a new adventure, and as always …
REMEMBER THE GREAT OUTDOORS!!