On Yer Bike
Now the evenings are getting lighter and the opportunity to do an outdoor activity becomes a reality, heading into the hills on 2 wheels is a great choice, even it’s just the local pub for a quick one!
Cycling (maybe without the chance of drinking alcohol at the end) has been proven to reduce your chances of developing cancer or heart disease and can cut your chances of dying early by 40%. Such high numbers of us (myself included) lead sedentary lives and research suggests 6 million middle-aged people in England will not even take a single brisk walk for 10 minutes of more in an average month! Inactive people are significantly more likely to develop cardiovascular problems, type 2 diabetes and various cancers.
Could cycling be the answer?
Well, cycling can improve health greater than walking or other moderate activities and when you start to push your cardiovascular system a bit harder on the bike, such as tackling the occasional hill you might find in these parts the results for improved health is even better (although after climbing Langbar I do sometimes beg to differ!).
I cycle daily for work because I detest being stuck bumper to bumper in traffic going nowhere and also because I enjoy it, it takes me 20 minutes compared to over 30 minutes in the car and this is an excellent way to maintain my activity levels as on any normal working day I rarely move from my desk. Commuting by bike is known as an incidental activity as it is built round a person’s everyday life, I don’t even consider it exercise, it’s how I get to work!
The arrival of the Tour de Yorkshire has risen people’s interest in cycling and more and more people are taking to the saddle. My daily commute has definitely seen a rise in numbers and it was a lovely sight earlier this week when I saw a young girl and her dad pedalling to school. With increased support from people in teaching roles calling for a ban on vehicles idling outside schools due to the air pollution (which is the UK’s biggest environmental threat to health with between 28000 and 36000 deaths a year attributed to long term exposure) it’s no wonder parents are turning to the bike as an alternative to the school run.
If you do have an interest in getting out on your bike but are unsure of where to go or don’t feel confident enough to go out on your own, come along to the café every Wednesday evening at 6.30pm and take part in our weekly ride out. No-one is left behind and everyone enjoys a steady, sociable ride in some of Yorkshire’s greatest settings, including rides to Almscliffe Crag, The Cow and Calf and maybe Langbar too if you’re lucky (sometimes there’s also a chance of that pint afterwards). This July Richard is taking part of the TRIBE: Force of Nature Challenge, find out more here and join the team in becoming a force of nature!
The sights and sounds when out in the countryside are amazing and certainly beats ploughing through the city streets, avoiding van drivers and yells from motorists, countryside cycling seems pretty idyllic by comparison. There's plenty of space for you and your wheels, no traffic jams or one-way systems to get in your way. Beautiful views spread out before you and fresh country air fills your lungs, but uncertainty to taking to the road can be daunting. Living in Yorkshire, I adore taking to the rural roads and hillsides on my bike. However, there are just as many risks to a cyclist on these seemingly empty lanes than in the city.
When I first started cycling here, motorists were my biggest concern. The problem with windy country roads is that drivers know them so well, they think nothing of taking them at 80mph. They'll fly around bends, overtake at any time and generally make like the roadrunner. Be assertive, try not to stick too close to the verge, it’s too easy to clip a wheel or hit a pothole or drain cover. If it’s unsafe for a vehicle to overtake, make sure they know and stand your ground. Sometimes I find that if a particularly large lorry is behind you, it sometimes is much safer to pull over when it is safe to do so and let them pass, no one enjoys being tailgated by a juggernaut!
So get on yer bike and come join us.