“Life is like riding a bicycle to keep your balance you must keep moving.”
The quote is attributed to the famous physicist Albert Einstein.
Most of us know the difficulties in balancing the bicycle for the first time, you wobble, you fall, you hurt yourself, you need assistance, but once you succeed in moving the pedals and keeping the handle straight, it is a smooth ride.
They say once you know how to ride a bicycle you will never forget. The irony is that most of us pick up the bicycle at our young age and once we cross the mid-teens, the majority of that group forget to ever pick their bicycles again. The cycle ends up at our garage, storage place, or simply disposed of.
You should seriously think again!!!
Given the traffic snarls, pollution, global warming, sedentary lifestyle, riding a bicycle is not only a cheap mode of transport but it is great for the health of the planet and your body.
Let’s look at the benefits and advantages of riding the bicycle.
Advantages of riding the bicycle
Keeps the air clean
Unlike a fuel-powered motorized vehicle, cycling does not produce any carbon emissions and keeps our surroundings pollution-free.
Dodge the Traffic
Traffic on the city roads is a nightmare, on a bad day the travel time can be double or even treble than the regular time, especially if you are driving a car.
Unfortunately the rapid urbanization & growing population those bad days have become regular days.
Bicycle again proves useful, their lean & small structure provides the necessary maneuverability to dodge the traffic and reach the destination faster than a motorized bigger vehicle.
Improves your fitness
If you go to the gym, running on the treadmill and doing cycle workouts are considered the paragon of cardio training.
If exercising on a stationary cycle is considered to be such a good instrument for fitness, then why can’t we do it on the real thing.
Just to add, if you are not familiar with the exercise, cycling works on your lower body, strengthens leg muscles, hamstring, back, and abdominals.
Cycling is comparatively better for people who want to exercise but have joint pains or knee concerns (consult your doctor anyways).
Improving general well being
Many people from across the globe are in the grip of a mental health crisis, due to the pandemic, personal issues, or professional issues.
Cycling is one such tool that helps to develop social connections, reduce stress, and release the feeling of anxiety on two fronts –
Firstly physical activity releases endorphins, which in turn help you feel better while lowering stress levels.
Secondly, you stay away from the chaotic traffic which more often is extremely stressful.
Lowers the risks of diseases
If you are fit and free from stress, chances of contracting diseases and illness substantially go down.
Research has proven that as well, a study conducted in Denmark, found that people who regularly cycle could lower their risk for type 2 diabetes.
A toned body, lower stress levels, improved body posture, and a relatively disease-free life will naturally improve self-esteem and boost confidence.
Though lately, bicycles are available in the market which can cost as much a motorized bike, if you do not want to spend on luxurious and fancy looking bicycles, there are many reliable options available at a considerably lower price range to suit one’s budget.
An added advantage of riding a bicycle is not having to pay high prices for parking space and you remain free from the risks of getting your vehicle towed away by the traffic cops.
Not all is hunky dowry – Challenges of riding a bicycle
In spite of the many advantages of riding the bicycle, there are a few risks and issues involved.
The small frame of cycles is advantageous but sometimes risky as well, chances of getting hit by a speeding vehicle from behind and losing balance can prove to be fatal.
To avoid such mishappenings, it is better if we follow cycle lanes (if any), adhere to traffic rules & signals, wear protective equipment like helmets & knee caps, install night light reflectors, and don’t forget to take bicycle insurance.
Exposed to vagaries on nature
Riding a bicycle does not protect you from the sun, rain, and dust.
To protect yourself from the harsh realities of the climate it is advisable to wear long sleeves t-shirts and apply sun-screen lotion. For the sudden burst of rain keep a raincoat handy and for protecting yourself from dust and pollution, it is suggested to wear eyeglasses.
A mischief-maker or a thief picking the bike and walking away without too much fuss is a big cause of concern for any bicycle owner.
In the Netherlands, bicycles to the value of €600m were stolen in 2019. On the positive side, 80% of bikes with a GPS tracking system were found.
I am writing this article on 3rd of June which is celebrated as World Bicycle Day.
It is a testimony to the fact that bicycles have remained an affordable, reliable, environment-friendly, and sustainable means of transport.
With so many advantages of riding the bicycle, it is highly recommended that we pick this useful habit and go on a ride.