“Four wheels ride the body, Two wheels move the soul.”
There are some childhood stories and experiences that are just embedded and no matter how many times you tell it, it’s like the first time. How I learned to ride a bike is one of these moments.
It’s a hot summer in the Bronx (New York). The sound of children laughing is everywhere. The fire hydrants serve as the park sprinkler. The water feels great. My playmate had a bike and I wanted nothing more than to ride it. One problem I didn’t know how to ride a bike. I picked it up anyway and began just balancing myself, pushing and balancing, never putting my feet onto the pedals.
During one round of push and balance, I happen to look behind me and see my little brother. He’s blazing behind me on foot with a big smile on his face and a DEAD squirrel in his hand. I put my feet on the pedals and rode like a pro. This is how I learned how to ride a bike. So, I thought we’d explore all the benefits of bike riding.
Benefits of Bike Riding
The benefits are limitless, great for losing weight, overall fitness, gets the rider outdoors, and develops a great pair of legs. But, one that might not be so obvious is the benefits to the mind. The release of adrenaline and endorphins boosts confidence and even reduces depression. According to Cycling Weekly, there are 15 impressive ways riding positively impacts health.
- Improves the immune system
- It Cuts heart disease and cancer risk
- Low impact
- Improve your sex life
- Boosts brain power and better sleep
Now whether you’re a seasoned rider or a beginner it is important to choose the right bike. I am no cyclist. I am more of a cruiser bike gal. Either way, some financial investment is required and you want to select a bike that is comfortable and affordable. So, choosing the right back from the start is critical.
Selecting the Right Ride
The best part of being chased by my brother with the dead squirrel was getting my very own new bike. It was beautiful. Hot pink and white, comfy banana style seat, a big white basket, and of course a bell. It was perfect and comfy. Things have gotten a little more sophisticated. The Bike Exchange recommends keeping a few things in mind when searching for the right bike.
- Identify what kind of rider are you
- Research where to buy your new wheels
- Budget or price point
- Selecting the right size
- Parts and accessories (yes you need a helmet)
If this is a new form of fitness I recommend really setting a budget and sticking to it. I am famous for getting excited about a new fitness venture spending a ton and quickly walking away. Years ago it was bowling for me. I got a customized ball, shoes, bag, and wrist gear. You get the point. Now that we have a bike. Where are we going to ride? Every state has amazing bike rides and trails.
Time to Ride the New Wheels
Since this all began in New York I’ll put the spotlight on the Erie Canalway Trail. It runs from Albany to Buffalo. The official site of the trail has this to say, The Erie Canalway Trail forms the east-west spine of the 750-mile Empire State Trail. This multi-use trail invites bicyclists and hikers to explore New York State’s extraordinary experiences, people, and places. The trail runs north-south from New York City through the Hudson River Valley to Lake Champlain and east-west from Albany to Buffalo. Trail markers and wayfinding signs make it easy to follow the trail and to connect off-and-on-road segments.
New York is not alone and Explore Health has compiled an amazing state by state list of the best bike rides in America.
- Oak Mountain State Park, Alabama
- American River Bike Trail, California
- Going-to-the-Sun Road, Montana
- South Boundary Trail, New Mexico
- The Whole Enchilada, Utah
Before you hit the ground pedaling bike safety is important. When you purchase your bike do not forget that helmet. Helmets are not just for kids. Staying safe on the road or trail of your choice is part of the planning. Healthy Women encourages a few safety tips for all riders.
- Wear a helmet no matter how short the ride
- Stay visible
- Choose travel time carefully
- Obey traffic rules
- Wear protective shoes (no sandals)
There is something magical about riding a bike. I guess because it was a childhood pastime for so many and I’m sure many have at least one bike story.
I think this can be included as a benefit. Keeping us connected to our youth is a good thing. Adulting is not always fun. What better way to improve our well-being than pedaling towards better health.