What Are The Benefits Of Taking Up Cycling As A Hobby?

Posted by on Oct 14, 2013 in Bicycle, Cycling | 0 comments

Cycling is a very effective form of exercise which has even been recommended by the NHS as a great way to get fit and healthy. Cycling is well known to reduce levels of stress, improve general fitness and help you to lose weight. It is recommended that to get the best out of cycling and feel the health benefits, you ride for 150 minutes per week which is two and a half hours. If you’re considering taking up cycling, here are some reasons why you’re making a great decision.

What is the appeal of cycling?

Cycling is incredibly popular because it can fit so conveniently into your lifestyle. Many people fit cycling into their daily routine, replacing public transport with a bike to save some serious money and get fit at the same time. Those who live in the city may find that cycling is more convenient than driving as there is no traffic jams and no problems with finding expensive parking.

Those who are concerned about carbon emissions and the environment are often keen on cycling as it reduces their carbon footprint significantly if they would usually drive on a particular journey.

Cycling is brilliant for weight loss. If you’re concerned about your health and fitness levels, one hour of cycling for someone who weighs 12 stone would burn off around 650 calories, as well as toning their legs and bottom.

Who is best suited to cycling?

The great thing about cycling is that it isn’t particularly suited to any age group. Anyone can cycle, ranging from toddlers to pensioners. Providing you have a suitable bike, you can cycle. Even those with disabilities can get bikes customised to suit their needs.

Cycling is a low impact exercise which makes it well suited to those who may struggle with more exhaustive, strenuous sports. Cycling doesn’t put pressure of your joints like running would, but it is still an effective form of exercise which keeps you fit and healthy.

Do I have to wear a helmet?

It is important to bear safety in mind when cycling, particularly out on the road. Bear in mind that you are out in the open whereas drivers have the protection of a huge metal vehicle. If you get hit by a car, you could be seriously injured so be sure to take care. Always wear a cycling helmet to protect your head in the event that you fall off your bike. A helmet really could make the different between life and death.

When choosing a helmet, look out for one which meets British safety standards, they should be marked with “BS EN 1078: 1997”. Your helmet should fit snugly and not wobble around. It should be placed just above your eyebrows. If it tilts backwards or forwards, it is too big and will not protect your skull. Ensure that when you wear your helmet, it is fastened tightly without any twists in the straps. There should only be enough room for you to fit two fingers in-between your chin and the strap.

Michael Fryer is a keen cyclist. He believes in leading an active lifestyle for his health, and takes his children swimming with www.puddleducks.com.

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4 Tips for Bicycle Safety when Sharing the Road with Motorists

Posted by on Sep 28, 2013 in Bicycle, Bikes, biking | 0 comments

John F. Kennedy, the 35th President of the United States, once remarked, “Nothing compares to the simple pleasure of a bike ride.” That’s so true when you consider the rush of adrenaline from pumping the foot pedals, and the wind against your face. Biking is one of my favorite activities.

Sadly it just takes one accident to rob a bicycler of those simple pleasures. Believe it or not, bicyclists have the same responsibilities of following traffic laws as motorists. The difference is that most places do not require you to take any kind of written or practical test to obtain a license that allows you to operate a two-wheeled bicycle.

A lot of accidents are caused by bicyclers who mistakenly ride the wrong way on the highway. Another common reason is because bicyclists weave in and out of traffic, or ride in the wrong area of the lane on narrow roads. Bicyclists are not always at fault, but when they are it is because of a lack of knowledge about traffic laws.

Sharing Is Caring about Everyone’s Safety

Sharing the road means being courteous whether you are behind the wheel of a car or pedaling a bicycle. Because bicycles are the more vulnerable of the two types of transportation, they have a higher risk of taking extra safety precautions. These tips will help everyone share the road safely.

  • FOLLOW ALL TRAFFIC LAWS – As previously stated, following traffic laws goes a long way towards staying safe while sharing the road. Ride in the direction of traffic and be sure to obey all traffic signs and signals.

  • WATCH FOR SURROUNDING TRAFFIC – When you are riding in traffic, especially with vehicles that make very wide, right-handed turns, it is imperative that you keep aware of your surroundings. That is a case where one wrong turn could literally be deadly.

  • STAY VISIBLE – Wear bright colors. Use reflectors on your bicycle, or consider wearing reflective clothing. Have a headlight for times of low visibility. And always use hand signals making sure you use them well enough in advance for motorists to see them.

  • RIDE WITH TRAFFIC – This was mentioned earlier but is important enough to warrant another mention. Riding against the natural flow of motor traffic not only causes you to miss pertinent signs and signals, but it also puts you in unnecessary danger when crossing through intersections.

Bicyclers are not the only ones required to follow rules and regulations, though. Motorists should allow at least three feet of passing space between the right-hand side of their car and a bicycle before trying to pass. Ideally, they should treat a bike just as they would a slow-moving motorized vehicle, even if there is a bike lane present.

Furthermore, motorists should never pass a bicycler if oncoming traffic is approaching or if they will making a turn immediately after passing the bicyclist. That could cause an accident in the intersection which, if they had merely been patient, could have been completely avoided.

Why Alcohol and Vehicles Do Not Mix

Whether it is a motor vehicle or a foot-powered bicycle, drinking and driving just do not mix. Police in Denver, Colorado are now enforcing state-wide drunk cycling laws. What does this mean for cyclists? It means that if they cycle while under the influence, they can get a DUI just like any other intoxicated driver on the road.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that an average of 30% of Americans will experience some kind of crash during their lives where alcohol plays a role (http://www.nhtsa.gov/). However that figure only accounts for motor vehicles. Can you imagine if bicycles were included?

Although the law is harsher than some surrounding states rules about the same subject, it was created after a complaint from someone involved in a crash with a drunk cyclist who was not charged for riding while under the influence.

Failure to cite drunk cyclists before now has incited cases of “bike rage” that pits motorists against cyclists while on the roads. And unless some cyclists change their habits, they could wind up needing a DUI attorney as much as a driver who operates a motor vehicle.

Freelance writer Mark Harris lives with his wife in White Rock, BC on Canada’s beautiful western coastline. He always uses sites such as www.travisblacklaw.com to get inspiration and fact check when writing legal articles. Being so close to the beach gives Mark, an avid outdoor enthusiast, plenty of opportunity to spend time on outdoor hobbies such as kayaking and hiking.

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