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What About Cycling?

Ready to Ride?
If the last time you rode a bike was around the block when you 9 years old, you may be out of touch with cycling.

You don't need to be a professional cyclist with expensive gear to get started in the world of cycling. But a good bike, proper helmet and a simple plan is a great beginning for some healthy fun.

According to the experts, cycling is a great way to get and stay fit, but they also stress the importance of having fun. One well-known cycling coach says, "For many people, cycling starts with recapturing the enjoyment of cycling."

What's the Plan?
Most cycling experts and coaches recommend a good multi-week training plan to get started. But that plan will be dependent on you when it comes to pace and distances. It turns out that the best plan for beginners is to just get a feel for your bike and how it moves with you.

Even a pleasure ride around the neighborhood or on an easy-to-navigate bike path for 20 minutes, maybe 2 or 3 times a week is a pretty good start.

 

Helmets Save Lives
For those of us that were kids in the 1960's who drank out of garden hoses and never wore seat belts, bike helmets may seem odd or awkward. But they are critically important for all cyclers of any age. And in recent years, the technology behind their development and manufacture has advanced significantly.

Helmets have various classifications and it's best to get one that is classified as having a multi-directional impact protection system (MIPS). These types of helmets have a thin layer of material inside them connected to the helmet frame. This is what allows the helmet to move independently from the head. It provides much better impact absorption in the unfortunate event of a collision.

A good bike shop can help you find a safe helmet that is also comfortable.

 

Safety Tips
The U.S. Department of Transportation has provided some sensible tips for safe cycling:

  • Wear an appropriate and properly fitted helmet.
  • Make sure your brakes...BEFORE you need them.
  • Wear bright colors and/or reflective clothes.
  • Choose routes that are away from automobile traffic whenever possible.
  • Don't use earbuds while riding. You need to be able to hear your surroundings like honking horns, barking dogs and loud trucks.
  • Ride in the same direction as traffic if you're on the road.
  • Assume all drivers can't see you. Many of them really can't.
  • Stay on well-lit roads and paths.
  • Be cautious of wet, icy and slippery conditions. You are only on 2 wheels.
  • Understand and use hand signals and at intersections.

 

Should You Warm Up?
Warming up for a cycling workout could include low intensity movement for the leg muscle groups such as jogging or stretching. But most bikers warm up by just riding at a light and easy pace for 5 minutes or so - and then gradually build intensity. This is more pleasant and a great warm up for a bicycle ride.

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