Happy happy Friday!!! And a happy Halloween to you! This week’s spotlight is a doozy, it’s on cycling! There are so many types of cycling but I will try to keep this relatively brief. I already wrote an article on indoor cycling (here) so we’ll keep this one to outdoor cycling.
Pros of Cycling:
- Low impact – makes it a great alternative for people of all ages, sizes and shapes, those suffering from injuries as well as great cross-training for higher impact sports like running.
- Fun! Seriously, if you want to feel like a kid again grab your bike (and helmet please!) and GO!
- Community – Cycling is safer in groups and pretty soon you’ll find yourself smiling and waving at everyone on a bike. Each one of these people were strangers to me before I owned a bike. They’ve become like family to me now
- Cardiovascular – it goes without saying that cycling is a great cardiovascular exercise. Jump on your bike, get your heart pumping and your endorphins flowing!
- Muscular – A bike with bigger wheels or a big hill will get you a great muscular burn, building gorgeous legs and glutes
Cons of Cycling:
As much as I love cycling there are of course cons we need to discuss. Not to dissuade anyone, but we need to know what risks we are facing when we decide to try a specific sport
- High Cost of Entry – If you do decide to ride, you’ll want a good bike (no, I’m not talking anything you can buy at a big box store) and of course a helmet. You don’t necessarily need the $2500+ bike but be prepared to spend a few hundred on a decent ride. In addition to the price of the bike you’ll at the very minimum want to ensure you have a good saddle, shorts and gloves. It adds up quickly, but if you love cycling it’s worth every penny.
- Decisions, decisions, decisions – Before heading out to the local bike shop (treat them well!) you will want to decide what type of cycling you plan to do. Want to hit the trails or climb mountains? You need a mountain bike with good suspension. Want to fly down the road at high speeds with groups of lycra clad friends? A road bike is in your future. Dreaming of Ironman? You may want a tri-bike. What if you just want to commute around town? A commuter (hybrid) or cruiser bike is your destiny. Over the last decade plus I have owned all of the above and have loved each of them for what they are. You need to identify your desired riding style before committing. Then you want a good local bike shop (ask the riders in your area and then check them all out yourself). A good shop will not oversell you, they will fit you perfectly on your ride and they will answer all of your questions. A good bike shop is an invaluable asset in your cycling life.
- Crashes – on road or off road there are always risks of crashes. You may hit an obstacle or if you are on the road you are a target for cars. Please be careful out there! Talk to local riders and your local bike shop to find areas that are safe to ride in. Riding with a good group can also help you learn the rules of the road and stay safe out there.
- Overuse Injuries – yes, I said above that it is a great exercise for those of us with other issues. However, an improper bike fit can exasperate pre-existing injuries or cause new ones. Get fit by a professional (probably at your aforementioned local bike shop) and always ALWAYS listen to your body. If something is aching or hurting get your bike fit looked at with that in mind. Yes, your personal areas will hurt for the first few rides as you adjust to the small saddle, but I’m talking about aches and pains that can lead to injury down the road.
- Time Consuming – cycling doesn’t have to be time consuming but something amazing happens when you start riding with groups. It starts taking over your weekends. You are gone for hours at a time. It’s completely addictive and becomes a way of life. This could be a good or bad thing, but if you don’t have time to devote to your riding you might want to think twice before buying a bike.
Cycle on my friends!