Across numerous months and years, we've seen an increase in the trend that is health, fitness and nutrition. As we move from a world dominated by fast food chains and sofa-sitters to conscious consumers and sports-doers we're becoming clearly inundated with a shift in the societal notion that it's no longer OK to be ignorant and naive to the health drawbacks of a poor lifestyle.
An interesting dynamic is forming where different, less mainstream sports are becoming much cooler things to do. As soccer gets more popular and the money starts to flow on a professional level, there is an unfortunate fact of life that states amateur participant levels are dropping. Which in the long run could be detrimental to the sustainability of grass-roots football.
Whilst this change in the popularity of more traditionally loved sports may prove problematic for FIFA, the fact that less coveted sports seem to be becoming, if not entirely conventionally accepted, then trendier, is certainly something we should be excited about as a society.
One sport that seems to be becoming really popular with every passing season is cycling. Both competitively but also as a functional, fresh way to get around, the two wheels of a bicycle has never been as accepted and used across towns and cities as they are being now.
If you take the UK as an example of the excitement being created from cycling, over 2 million people cycle at least once a week. These figures, provided by British Cycling - the governing body for the sport - shows just how massive the biking revolution has developed in recent times.
With the U.K specifically, the interest cycling has created has come from sustained success professionally, with the U.K arguably becoming the main name in competitive cycling across the last decade.
How has this change in sporting success lead to a growth in grass-roots interest and where is your best starting point if you're not yet on the cycling band-wagon?
Cycling itself has benefits like it has weaknesses. There is the initial purchase of the cycling gear can be expensive, but the positive to that is it is completely up to you how long you keep the equipment. You may grow out of the Lycra (wouldn't it be great to lose a few lbs?) and you may prefer to treat yourself to new gloves, but if kept in great working order, the bicycle itself could keep you going for as long as you would like.
What do you need from a bike? Somewhere like here may be able to help you determine exactly what yours are. That's the very first question you want to be asking yourself. It's one of my main tips to anyone doing anything: find out the needs. Be it yours or another person's, make sure you know what you want and why. Simple, but effective. Do you want value, or do you want quality. Are these two things mutually exclusive? You're going to have to acquire some knowledge first. If
it's a great price you're after, why not check out this list of best road bikes for under £1000?
To define what you need your bike for, you probably need to know where you're going to be cycling. A road bike is a road bike, but there are different quality roads to look out for. It's a tough decision.
One main concern over cycling has come from the thought that cyclists are often unsafe on the roads, especially during busy hours or along streets that don't have cycle paths. This is a pretty fair statement, initially speaking anyway. What can be seen as danger is mainly motorists not seeing cyclists around them, but to best way to approach this problem is to make sure you're keeping safe by using the appropriate safety equipment. Helmets are a must and a lack of one is my personal bug-bear. I hate seeing people on bikes not wearing protective headgear. I don't understand it but I also think it's one of the reasons bike safety is questioned when this could be avoided by taking the correct measures. Lights, high-vis jackets and knowing the cycling laws of the road can often help you become safer and smarter sooner.
Cycling as a family is also starting to become a really fun, very exciting way to enthuse young people (and parents!) to get out on their bike. Whilst cycling to work and back is often encouraged by companies across the globe, it would be wise of adults to think about their children and whether integrating cycling into a youngsters lifestyle sooner rather than later could develop a great, health driven awareness of other ways to get around. Creating an interest in something is often more about image than effort. Which is another reason why success on a national and international scale is really important for cycling. Grass-roots and professionally.
Whilst cycling remains on the up-and-up, it is worthwhile making sure you know all of the facts about what you are buying and where you are going on your bicycle. Be safe and be aware but most of all, have fun on the roads!
EZRoadbike is a one stop shop for all things bicycles. Started with love and maintained through dedication, you'll find all things biking at EZRoadbike.