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On ya bike! Top reasons to ride

Thursday, January 17, 2019

I can still remember the day the training wheels came off my first bike. I was four years old and, with a heady mixture of excitement and a healthy hint of fear, I went up and down the driveway testing the laws of physics and my balance.

Then it clicked. I started pedalling and I’ve never looked back.

You can't wipe the grin from this face

With Bike Month coming up in February I’ve been encouraged to spend more time on the bike and reconnect with the things that I enjoy most about cycling. Below are my top 5 reasons to ride.

It’s fun

I’ve never been grumpy after a ride. Cycling, like other forms of exercise, stimulates the release of powerful mood-enhancing chemicals called endorphins. It’s also a great way to integrate a bit of carefree fun into the daily grind and sweep away any stress.

Fitness

You don’t need to be decked out in the latest gear or have a top-of-the-line bike to reap the physical benefits of cycling. Riding any kind of bike is a fun way to improve cardio-vascular and aerobic fitness, lower blood pressure and improve coordination. It’s also easy on the joints if you suffer from arthritis.

Save money

Commuting by bike saves you money. Add up how much you spend on fuel each week and imagine where you could put those savings. Getting on a bike need not break the bank, either. My first commuting bicycle was a $50 find at a garage sale. With a bit of help from some handy friends it was in good working order and I was on my way. If you don’t want to buy new, then Trade Me is a great place to seek out that second-hand gem.

Convenience

Unfortunately one of the big misconceptions about riding to work is that it’s inconvenient. I don't know about you, but I think sitting in a traffic jam and being late to work is inconvenient. Get on your bike and you’ll never get stuck in traffic again. You’ll also never struggle to find a car park or have to pay for parking.

If you need a bit of encouragement, then consider signing up for the Aotearoa Bike Challenge – a fun and free competition that’s all about seeing which workplaces can get the most people riding a bike for 10 minutes or more. Or you could cycle to work on Go By Bike Day. There’ll be plenty of other supportive cyclists out and about, as well as pit stops across town with refreshments and spot prizes.

Outback Australia by bike

You never know the places you’ll go

Cycling has taken me on many memorable adventures, both big and small. Not long after I moved to New Zealand I headed out on my bike and explored the Redwoods in Rotorua. I fell in love with that forest, and my adopted home, as I wove in and out of the soft rays of light filtering through the tree canopy on the Creek Track.

I’ve also discovered parts of my neighbourhood that I never knew existed, like the tranquil urban trail that winds its way through the Pāpāmoa stormwater reserves. Bike Month has plenty of guided urban trail rides to help you discover some similar trails in your backyard.

On ya bike! February is Bike Month across the Bay of Plenty, and there’s loads of activities for all ages and abilities. See what’s happening in your region by visiting sportbop.co.nz/bikemonth.

If you want to get involved, but you’re feeling a bit rusty on the bike, then consider signing up to a Cycle Savvy course to brush up on your bike handling and safety skills. The skills sessions will help you gain confidence and have you out and about on some cycling adventures in no time.

Find a Bike Month event near you

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