Lately, I feel like I have been seeing bicycles everywhere and hearing about them much more often than I had in the past. For me, it started last summer when my husband suggested that he and I get bicycles as a way to stay active despite COVID-19 closures that meant we weren’t able to do some of our other favorite activities. We began looking for bicycles and quickly learned that we weren’t the only people looking to hop on the bike. New bicycles were in short supply and it took weeks of searching available used bicycles to find ones that would work for us.
Almost a year later, bicycles are still in high demand! My hometown of Hagerstown, Md has been hosting bike races and the Olympics feature a variety of cycling events. So, I decided to spend a little time talking about bicycling. Why do people enjoy it so much? What do you need to consider if you want to get into cycling or biking?
Let’s start with why cycling is so popular, especially right now. For some people who live close enough to their workplace, cycling is a quick and physically active way to commute to work. It can be a great way to build physical activity into a daily routine. But, for people who can’t bike to work, there are still reasons to start cycling! For me, it has been a fun way to explore my local area. Last fall, I got to spend an afternoon biking around Antietam National Battlefield and found out it was a great way to experience historical areas.
Physically, cycling can also be a great way to be active without putting as much pressure on your joints as you might when jogging or running. For some people, that can mean that cycling is a great way to increase physical activity without joint pain. Otherwise, cycling has many of the same benefits that other forms of physical activity have (like improving your cardiovascular health).
So what do you need to think about before jumping on the bike? Well, first, like with many other exercise programs, you’ll want to check with your doctor to make sure your health will allow you to start engaging in this type of physical activity. Then, you’ll want to check out the laws in your area. Some places have different rules about where you need to ride and what type of safety equipment you need to have (although even if your area doesn’t require a helmet, it is always a good idea to wear one anyway). You can even check out bicycle safety information from the National Safety Council and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Finally, you’ll need to figure out where you want to ride! You can go online and search for bike trails in your area. In Maryland, you can check out this website to find information on available bike trails in your area.
So, if you are thinking about getting into bicycling for the first time, it might be challenging to find a bike at the moment (although it might be a little easier to find a used bike rather than a new one). If you have a bike or manage to find one, then I encourage you to get out and hit the road or trail for a fun way to be active!