BUILD A BIKING HABIT
BUILD A BIKING HABIT
Biking is a fantastic form of exercise that can be done outdoors on roads or trails, or indoors on stationary bikes. Biking is an effective form of cardio that can help strengthen the heart, lungs, and muscles, while burning calories and improving overall health.
It is a fun and environmentally friendly way to get around, and it can also be a great way to stay healthy and fit, with many social and health benefits to biking, such as reduced stress, improved mental health, and increased social interaction.
Starting a biking challenge is a great way to involve someone else who might like to build a biking habit with you.
Biking is a great cardiovascular workout that can help lower your risk of heart disease and stroke.
Biking can burn a significant amount of calories and can aid in weight management, especially when combined with a healthy diet.
If you haven’t ridden a bike in a while, you may notice some instability as certain muscles turn back “on”. In no time, you’ll see where the saying, “It’s just like riding a bike,” comes from!
If you’re just starting out, don’t sweat it! We’ve put together a list of some biking essentials to help get you started on the right foot.
Proper bike fit: Make sure that your bike is the right size for your body and that it is adjusted to fit you properly.
Wearing a helmet: A helmet is an important safety precaution that can protect your head in case of a fall or collision.
Obeying traffic laws: Bicyclists are subject to the same traffic laws as motor vehicles, so it is important to stop at stop signs, obey traffic lights, and signal when turning.
Being visible: Wear bright or reflective clothing and use lights or reflectors on your bike to make it easier for others to see you.
Checking your equipment: Regularly inspect your bike to make sure it is in good working order, with properly inflated tires, functioning brakes, and a secure seat.
Staying hydrated: Bring a water bottle or hydration pack with you on longer rides to ensure that you stay properly hydrated.
Being aware of your surroundings: Pay attention to your surroundings and be alert for potential hazards, such as potholes, gravel, or uneven pavement.
Being prepared for emergencies: Carry a spare tube, patch kit, and a small tool kit with you in case you experience a flat tire or other mechanical issue.
Riding an indoor stationary bike offers many benefits similar to outdoor bicycling. However, if you choose to bike outdoors, there are many different ways to practice, depending on your goals and interests.
This involves biking for leisure and enjoyment, often on trails or on roads with minimal traffic.
This involves using a bike as a means of transportation to get to work, school, or other destinations.
This involves biking on paved roads, often at a faster pace and with a focus on endurance and speed.
This involves biking on off-road trails with a mountain bike, often over rough and uneven terrain.
This involves biking on a specialized track, often in a velodrome or indoor cycling facility.
This involves riding a bike with a single gear and no freewheel, requiring the rider to constantly pedal in order to move the bike.
Don’t try to do too much too soon. Start with short rides and gradually increase the distance and intensity as you become more comfortable and confident on your bike. And try to bike at the same time each day or week to make it a regular part of your routine.
Having a specific goal, such as commuting to work by bike or completing a long-distance ride, can help to motivate you and keep you on track. Map out a safe and convenient route in advance to make it easier to get started.
Biking with a friend or group can make it more enjoyable and help to hold you accountable. Consider inviting a friend to join you in a biking challenge!
Having the right equipment, such as a comfortable bike, helmet, and appropriate clothing, can make a big difference in your biking experience.
Don’t get discouraged if you have a bad ride or if you don’t see improvement right away. Building a biking habit takes time and practice, so be patient and stay positive.
Celebrating your progress and accomplishments and rewarding yourself for reaching your goals can help keep you motivated to continue biking. So indulge in a delicious snack or watch a movie!
It’s normal to encounter challenges when starting a new habit, and biking is certainly no exception.
If you find you’re encountering setbacks or resistance to start a biking challenge, it’s important to take a closer look at what’s getting in your way.
Here are some suggestions for common setbacks that you might encounter:
Safety concerns: If you’re worried about safety, try riding during the day, wearing reflective clothing, and using lights on your bike. You could also consider taking a cycling safety course to learn more about how to ride safely. If the weather is bad, try finding a covered or indoor route, or consider switching to an indoor cycling class.
Flat tires & mechanical issues: Flat tires are a common issue for bikers, but they can usually be fixed quickly with a spare tube or patch kit. If you experience a mechanical issue, such as a broken chain or a slipping derailleur, try to fix the problem yourself or take your bike to a bike shop for repair.
Lack of motivation: If you’re struggling to get motivated to ride, try setting a specific goal or finding a biking buddy to join in your biking challenge. You could also try listening to music or a podcast in one ear while you ride to make it more enjoyable, while still staying safe.
Time constraints: If you’re short on time, try biking to work or errands instead of driving. You can also break up your ride into shorter segments if you don’t have time for a long ride.
Physical limitations: If you have physical limitations or injuries, try a low-impact activity like cycling instead of a high-impact activity like running. You can also try a stationary bike or a recumbent bike to reduce stress on your joints
Biking on the road with other cars can be nerve-wracking if you’ve never done it before. Here are some tips for safely riding your bike on the road:
Follow the rules of the road: Obey traffic signals, signs, and lane markings just as you would if you were driving a car and use hand signals to indicate turns and stops.
Be visible: Wear bright and reflective clothing, and use lights and reflectors on your bike. And use designated bike lanes or paths whenever possible.
Be aware of your surroundings: Watch for potential hazards such as potholes, gravel, and vehicles entering or exiting driveways or people exiting parked vehicles on street parking.
Be prepared for the unexpected: Be ready to brake and swerve to avoid obstacles and always wear a helmet to protect your head in case of an accident. Always keep your hands on the handlebars and keep your eyes on the road.
If you are in a busy traffic area, consider using a mirror mounted on your helmet or bike to stay aware of what’s behind you.
Like anything, practice makes improvement! Remember to be patient, and follow the suggestions outlined on this page. Here are some extra tips to improve your biking performance to reduce injury and increase your enjoyment:
Train consistently: Set a regular schedule for riding and stick to it. If you’re just starting out, schedule more frequent shorter trips.
Incorporate interval training: Alternate between periods of high-intensity and low-intensity riding.
Increase your distance gradually: Don’t try to increase your distance too quickly, as this can lead to injury.
Strengthen your core: A strong core will help you maintain good form and control your bike.
Improve your technique: Practice proper riding form and learn to shift gears effectively.
Use the right gear: Make sure you have the right size bike and that it’s properly adjusted for your body.
Get enough rest: Make sure you are getting enough sleep and recovery time in between biking sessions. You may need more rest as you’re starting out to allow your body to recover effectively.
Fuel your body properly: Eat a healthy, balanced diet and hydrate properly before, during, and after rides, and consider adding electrolytes to your water.
Get a bike fit done: A professional bike fit can help you to optimize your position on the bike and make you more comfortable and efficient.
Road bikes and mountain bikes are designed for different types of riding.
Road bikes are lightweight and have narrow tires, drop handlebars, and are optimized for speed and efficiency on paved roads. They have lighter frames, more aerodynamic geometry, and gears designed for riding long distances on smooth surfaces.
Mountain bikes, on the other hand, are built for off-road terrain and have wider tires with more tread for grip on dirt, rocks, and other obstacles. They have a heavier frame, stronger suspension, and a more upright riding position. Mountain bikes also typically have multiple gears and a wider range of gears to handle steep inclines and technical descents.
For better performance and energy efficiency, it’s advised to ride the suitable terrain for your specific bike.
A hybrid bike combines features of both road and mountain bikes. It’s designed to be a versatile option for a variety of riding conditions and terrains, from pavement to light off-road trails.
Hybrid bikes typically have a lighter frame and narrower tires than mountain bikes, but wider tires and a more upright riding position than road bikes. They also often have a suspension fork to absorb shocks and a variety of gears to handle different riding conditions.
The combination of these features makes them a good choice for commuting, recreational riding, and light off-road use, offering a balance of comfort, efficiency, and versatility.
If you’re still struggling with starting your biking challenge, it might be a good idea to explore some extra supports to keep you accountable. Some options include:
Join a running group: Many communities have local running clubs or groups that meet regularly for runs. This can be a great way to find motivation, accountability, and camaraderie.
Hire a coach or personal trainer: A coach or personal trainer can provide guidance, support, and structured training plans to help you reach your running goals.
Use a running app: There are many apps available that can track your runs, provide training plans, and offer support and motivation.
Join a virtual running community: There are online communities (like MasterHealth) and forums where runners can connect, share tips, and support one another.
Attend a running event: Signing up for a race or other running event can provide a sense of purpose and motivation to train.
Find a running buddy: Having a friend or loved one to run with can make it more enjoyable and help to keep you accountable. Invite someone you know to join your biking challenge with you!
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