THE BLOG

Life Is Like a Bicycle

12/07/2016 13:00

That great US Statesman Claude Pepper once said, "Life is like riding a bicycle. You don't fall off unless you plan to stop pedaling."

Well, I don't plan to stop pedaling any time soon and last week something rather exciting happened to me. As a mature woman I took possession of a new bike...possibly only the 4th bike I've ever owned! Cycling at my age is still an option, only riding my new bike is somewhat different from previous "wheels" because it is motorized!

In the 1980's the Mountain Bike with its sturdy frame and wide tyres for added stability and durability was introduced and cycling surged in popularity. As an adult I became the owner of a shiny new bike, and over the intervening years I have "acquired" other's cast off bikes, enough to fit visiting large or small grandchildren! As a form of exercise cycling has broad appeal and most of us from toddlers to pensioners, the able-bodied or people with disabilities can enjoy cycling. It's an opportunity to discover places unseen from a car - woodland paths, unmade tracks, riverside tow paths, and just sometimes a mountain!

The majority of adults who re-enter the world of cycling are more likely to do gentler family and social rides than long distance sporting events. The health benefits are enormous, and all from just pushing pedals around! An hour's ride will burn up 400 - 650 calories, will tone your legs and bottom and keep you looking and feeling good. Riding up hills or off-road will work your upper body, and cycling hard and fast is superb aerobic exercise resulting in a fitter heart and more efficient lungs. The best way to build your cardiovascular fitness is to ride for a minimum 150 minutes every week. Perhaps each week cycle to work a few days, do a couple of shorter rides, plus a longer weekend ride?

To keep safe wearing a cycling helmet is essential to prevent head injuries. Don't be tempted to buy a second-hand helmet; you should replace your helmet every five years. If you intend to cycle at night it's compulsory to have a white front light, a red rear light and a red rear reflector. and amber/yellow front and back pedal reflectors.

Safety precautions in place - it's time to go! The health benefits are enormous, and all from just pushing pedals around! If possible miss out busy roads with dirty vehicles belching out fumes, or wear a mask. Even if it's wet and windy, dress in suitable clothing, don your helmet and be off. The fresh air will clear your head and life soon looks brighter. Cycling can lift our spirits and will help us put our problems into perspective. The freedom we feel with the wind blowing on our cheeks, gives us time to identify solutions and put our lives back on track.

Cycling at my age is still an option, but riding my new bike is somewhat different from previous "wheels". Because it's motorised! Styles of bicycles continue to change over the years, but cycling is timeless and my super new white bike (with green trimmings of course) is what the cycling trade call an eBike. It looks like, rides like a conventional mountain bike, but has an added boost of electric power which gives me an extra push. This "push" reminds me of when as a little girl, my Dad would give my back that little extra "power push" as I wobbled off on my first 2 wheeler bike.

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Spoilt for choice - ebike or car?

My Ebike is just so thrilling to ride pedalling like a conventional bike, but making the ride easier by that extra power boost when needed, such as up and down hilly slopes. It's suitable for young and old alike with its electric power helping one travel for longer. At first I was concerned that my Ebike would not do the job of keeping me fit. However it's such a pleasurable experience that I get on my Gtech Ebike two to three times more often. I ride out in the fresh air fearlessly covering longer distances than I did on my mountain bike. I can go fast if required thanks to its small light motor. This doesn't make the bike heavier and its light enough for me to carry up steps to my home. The electric motor's detachable battery comes inside with me and re-charges in the kitchen alongside my mobile phone. How 21st century am I?

As I've proudly pedalled along I've met several people for whom manual cycling had become too painful due to arthritis, back, knee problems and hip replacements. In their 60's and 70's they too have splashed out on eBikes. They love the freedom of cycling, feel fit and tell me their electric bikes are the best thing ever, they can now cycle further without pain. It goes without saying that we all wear safety helmets and reflective jackets, you don't get older without getting wiser! So don't delay "on yer bike" and get those wheels turning!

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