Bike your Way To Better Health [GEAR CHECK]
BIKE BODY 101
Your "Get in Gear" guide to biking bliss.
PICTURE IT: the great outdoors, you, and your two wheel friend (pure bliss!) With the wind in your hair, the world around you zipping by – and the lovely breeze on your face that would fail to exist if you came to a stop - you practically forget that you’re exercising. You may even feel a bit guilty because it feels so good. Riding the wave of guilty pleasure can be a life long love affair when you follow these smart cycling road-rules.
Top 3 Reason to Bike
If your primary reason for becoming a "biker" is to get into "biker bars", you may want to re think your motivation for riding. Given the format and the outdoor nature, we value the impact biking (not the motorized version) has on the physical, social and mental elements of well being. Specifically:
- Physical: Biking is a popular way to satisfy key exercise requirements and enables cyclists to increase cardiovascular endurance, meet or exceed caloric expenditure requirements and improve sport specific balance and coordination skills.
- Social: When we bike with family or friends we take part in a unique opportunity to exercise our social skills. Group or in-line biking also increases our ability to “flock” (understand and respond to directional cues initiated by a group or group leader). Community biking also offers built in reminders to stay hydrated and safe during the ride, and assists with exercise adherence by keeping you accountable through regularly scheduled group sessions.
- Mental: For those of us who like the alone time, biking alone is yet another chance to sharpen your mental focus, increase phases of your attention span or overcome sticking points by pushing through challenging moments experienced when you meet your perceived training threshold. (Did we happen to mention that getting outside can change your whole outlook?)
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RULES: THE THREE YOU NEED KNOW
No Pain, No Gain, right? Wrong. Like any form of exercise, knowing how to differentiate mental and physical pain signals is the key to staying safe. Safety also requires proper preparation and adequate protection.
- Learn the RoPEs: Use the RPE (Rate of Perceived Exertion) system – and common sense – to determine discomfort from physical pain. Discomfort is a normal by product of increased activity. Pain is your body’s way of telling you that danger is imminent. Suggested riding RPE can vary by training program so be sure your RPE is on par with your chosen program.
- Use Your Head: A mind is a terrible thing to waste, especially when it can be easily protected by wearing a helmet. If you’re worried about your hair, remind yourself that good hair is useless if you can’t remember how to use a comb.
- Know Before You Go: Know thyself – and when it comes to biking, your bike is an extension of you. Since you wouldn’t run a marathon with a broken leg, be sure your bike is ready to ride. It's good habit to perform regular maintenance and pre-ride spot checks.
IT'S A BIKE,
NOT A CAR.
Bikes do not come with on-board warnings , so do a manual inspection before each session and inspect the frame, wheels, chains, gears and braking system.
If you need advice on what to look for, your local bike store is your best bet for bike maintenance and safety help. In fact, many of these stores also offer biking 101 classes where you can connect with fellow enthusiasts who may know about regular riding groups or popular routes in the area.
ENJOY THE RIDE
If biking truly is your bliss, taking care to follow these “no exception” rules of safe biking will ensure you enjoy a long and healthy relationship with your favorite guilty pleasure. (Happy Biking!)