Health & Beauty

Two wheels are better than none

Fancy getting that all-important daily dose of exercise while reducing your carbon footprint and having a ‘wheelie’ good time? If the answer is yes then read on to find out why cycling is going to become your new favourite hobby.

The benefits

Cycling really is a fantastic way to get around while maintaining a healthy and balanced lifestyle. Here are some of the top reasons you should be swapping four wheels for two:

  • No pain, just gain – It’s a low impact exercise that still provides a fantastic workout for your muscles while also improving your strength and stamina.
  • As easy as riding a bike – Once you learn how to ride a bike it’s a skill you’ll have for the rest of your life!
  • On yer bike – Cycling is a brilliant mode of transport as it’s good for the heart as well as the planet and your wallet! 
  • Stress buster – Cycling on a regular basis has shown to be amazing at reducing anxiety and depression. 
  • Get results – Whether you’ve got some stubborn belly fat you want to shift or you want to improve your posture, coordination and join mobility, cycling is a great way to increase your overall fitness, which will keep you healthy and happy. 
  • Family fun – Cycling isn’t just a solo sport! Getting the family involved will ensure your kids get that all-important regular exercise while having a great time. It will also help to build their confidence and instil a healthy lifestyle early on. 

Getting in gear

cycling shoes

When thinking about starting cycling it’s a common misconception that the bike is the be all and end all of your kit list – don’t get us wrong, it’s a very important part but your shopping list should by no means end with it!

Whether you’re cycling in bright sunshine or chilly rain – yep, you read that right, by the end of this blog you will be scrambling to jump on your bike whatever the weather – clothing is a very important thing to consider. Layers will not only help regulate your body temperature but they will also help to protect you from any adverse weather conditions such as sun, wind and rain. 

Endura sells a wide range of cycling clothing and accessories that are designed to keep you comfy while you ride.

Local cycling specialists Giant Bristol have an amazing selection both online and in store, from the bikes themselves to additional kit such as luggage, lights and locks that ensure your ride is as convenient as it is safe.

Emyr from Giant Bristol is a massive advocate for cycling, saying: “I’ve been riding my bike for years and I can honestly say it’s the best thing to happen to me. The health benefits you get are a massive bonus, alongside the sense of adventure that comes with riding.

“The joys of riding are endless and there’s a discipline for everyone including casual weekend riders, long distance roadies and die hard racers and everyone in-between! If you’re unsure, just do it, get yourself on two wheels and see for yourself!”

If you’re unsure of what you need then pop into the Giant store in the WillowBrook Centre as they will be more than happy to help you find the perfect kit to get you out on the road. In fact, the WillowBrook Centre has just become the first shopping centre in the world to be awarded a gold standard for its cycle friendliness so there is nothing stopping you from popping to the shops on your bike! 

Hit the road

cycling sunset

When you’re all kitted up and ready to get on that saddle there are lots of sites out there to help you find the best routes on which to cycle, whether you’re off to work or wanting to enjoy a nice Sunday ride with the family. 

Sustrans is a UK charity that works hard to make it easier for people to walk and cycle. One of their longest running projects is the National Cycling Network , an impressive network of cycling routes around the country. Luckily Bristol is full of fantastic routes, including a predominantly road-based route that circles around the whole of Bristol or a traffic-free route from Filton to Bath.

James Cleeton, England Director South at Sustrans, said:  “There are so many benefits to getting out on your bike, whether that’s making a difference to your health and wellbeing or reducing your impact on the planet, not to mention the impact more people cycling would have on Bristol’s congestion and air quality.

“Replacing short journeys with bike travel is a really easy way to reduce air pollution and build some physical activity into every day.”

North Bristol is full of possible roads and routes so if you’re in need of a good cycle path on which to get to work then Better By Bike is the place to go as they have an endlessly useful route planner that will help you get from A to B on two wheels with ease.

Cycling in the community 

community cycling

There are lots of events throughout the year that celebrate cycling and all it entails.

On Saturday 29 June, Bristol will once again be opening its doors to cycling enthusiasts for the Bristol Bikefest 2019, an annual mountain biking extravaganza.

Why not enjoy a fantastic ride all in aid of a great charity? On Sunday 30 June, Break the Cycle is a collection of races around Bristol that will raise money for various Bristolian charities. The routes range from 40 miles to 100 miles so there is something for everyone and every ability.

Bike mechanic George from Giant Bristol is a big advocate for competing, saying: “I’ve been riding my bikes ever since I could walk! I love the freedom of being able to cycle wherever I want, discovering new places as I ride. In recent years, I have begun racing cyclocross, participating in league and regional events.

“Races are not only great for fitness, but great socially too. I would definitely recommend trying some sort of competition – the thrill when you finish is amazing!”

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