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On Yer Bike: 15 reasons to take up cycling

Posted by Bob Newman on Feb 07, 2014 - 0 Comments

Time to hitch up the bike rack

Bike Racks_Cycling

Mounting a bike rack to your car may be the best decision of your life.

Cycling – whether it’s the bolt to and from work, or hitching your bike to your car and taking it for a ride in the great unknown – has so many advantages that we made them into a big list.

1. Get there faster: If I wanted to torture someone, I would put him or her in a car with no airconditioning on Anzac Parade on a Saturday afternoon. To call what happens on that road “traffic” implies that it’s a bustling hub, but even the crawl slows to an eventual stop. On a bike, you can zip through the cracks and get to the beach before the crowds do!

2. Sleep better: While an early morning ride might floor you temporarily, it will help to boost your energy shortly after and then assist in falling asleep again at the end of the day. Researchers from the Stanford University School of Medicine got sedentary insomnia sufferers to go for a quick spin for 20-30 minutes every other day. This resulted in the time taken for the insomniacs to fall asleep being reduced by half, and sleep time increasing by almost an hour.

3. Get smart: Cycling can help build new brain cells in the hippocampus, which is the region responsible for memory. This begins deteriorating from the age of 30, so hop in the saddle!

4. A ride a day keeps the doctor away: Researchers from the University of North Carolina have found that people who cycle for half an hour, five days a week, will take about half as many sick days as those who don’t.


When cycling looks this good it’s hard to ignore.

Image via Shutterstock.

5. Look younger: Getting on the pushie regularly can help protect your skin against the harmful effects of UV radiation and reduce the signs of ageing, research from Stanford University has found. No excuse not to pile on the sunscreen, though.

6. Live forever! Or… at least just a while longer: A nine-year study undertaken by the King’s College in London compared over 2,400 identical twins – observing one who did the equivalent of just three 45-minute rides a week, and the other who didn’t – which found that the one who exercised regularly was nine years ‘biologically younger’, even after discounting other influences such as BMI and smoking.

7. Keep the big C at bay: It’s well documented now that exercise in any form is helpful in keeping cancer away, but specific studies have shown that riding regularly is especially good at keeping your cells in good nick. It was found by Finnish researchers that men who exercised moderately – including riding to and from work – for at least half an hour a day had their chances of developing cancer cut in half. Another study found that women who regularly cycle reduce their risk of breast cancer by 34 per cent.

8. Avoid the smog: You’d think that weaving through traffic on your bike during a busy morning would mean that you’re breathing in way more pollution than those in the vehicles spurting out exhaust fumes, but according to science, that is just not the case. A study undertaken by the Imperial College in London found that the opposite is true: passengers in buses, taxis and cars inhale substantially more pollution than cyclists and pedestrians. It’s thought this may be the case as cyclists ride at the edge of the road and aren’t directly in the line of exhaust smoke.

9. Stay green: Riding a bike is a clear win for the environment. Bicycles produce absolutely no pollution, and it only takes about five per cent of the materials and energy used to make a car to build a bike. You can park up to twenty bicycles in the same space as one car, making them space-efficient, too!

10. Get in the saddle, get better in the sack: According to health experts from the United States, being physically active vastly improves your vascular health, with has the flow-on effect of giving a massive boost to your sex drive.

11. Harness those creative juices: Suffering from a creative mental block? Get on the bike! A study has found that just 25 minutes of aerobic exercise boosts at least one measure of creative thinking.

12. Ditch the gym membership: Regular cyclists – that is, on an everyday basis – have a fitness level equal to that of a person who is ten years younger. Ride on, and on, and on…

13. Burn fat, fast: According to sports physiologists, the body’s metabolic rate (the efficiency with which it burns calories and fat) is not only raised during a ride, but for several hours afterwards. That’s what that post-ride rush is all about! In addition to this, those who incorporate fast intervals into their ride will burn three and a half times as much body fat than those who cycle at a slower, more constant pace.

14. You can get addicted – in the best way possible: Sometimes, to overcome an addiction – whether it be lollies, cigarettes or one too many glasses of wine – you need to replace it with another one, such as riding! Well, so goes the analogy of William Glasser, the author of Positive Addiction. We’re addicted to riding outside of the city – simply hitch your bike to your towbar and go towards the mountains – there’s many a track to be ridden on.

15. Ride more, be happy: Exercise releases endorphins that help counter stress and lift your spirits, so when you’re feeling blue, hop on the bike and cycle ‘til you’re giddy with joy again.

Ready to get out and about after reading this?

You may want to try this one on before you head out on your next mountain bike adventure: Carasel Explains: How to fit a towbar

Facts attributed to Bike Radar.

This blog was posted in Towbars and tagged in cycling, hitches, Towbar

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