I’ve been cycling for around 4 years now and despite being a bit late to the game, I honestly can’t imagine my life without it. In fact, I really struggled to keep this post to just ‘5 ways cycling will change your life’, there are so many more ways! If you’re a regular Break The Loop reader, you’ll know that we recently moved out of London, from Brixton to Hertfordshire and I feel beyond lucky to be able to throw on some kit, grab my bike (this one, in case you were wondering…) leave my house and be on winding country roads in about 30 seconds flat. However, if you live in a busy City, don’t worry – you can still fall in love with cycling and reap all the same benefits, plus a few more!
ONE | Cycling provides a double whammy of fitness, it improves not only your strength but also your cardiovascular health reducing your risk of heart disease and cancer by up to half, according to this study. Due to your new and improved cardiovascular system, you’ll find all other forms of exercise easier. I’m looking at you, running!
TWO | It’s a new way to travel and I’m not just talking about your daily commute! One of our favourite things to do is fill the car up with bikes (and dogs) and head off into the unknown. We have ridden in Italy, France, Croatia, Switzerland… Each time learning something about the place and experiencing it in a way that I doubt we would, had we been exploring using any other mode of transport. One of my favourite moments on a bike sticks out in my mind, descending down towards the breathtaking Lac Montriond, speeding along the smooth roads, going far too fast and having the time of our lives! It’s rare to find such child-like joy and absolute freedom in any other sport. All whilst working hard and turning yourself into an absolute badass before feasting on delicious local cuisine and then sleeping like a baby. (Fresh air and hours in the saddle will do that to you!)
THREE | You’ll meet some utterly brilliant people. I have met lifelong friends through cycling and triathlon and actually, it’s also kind of how Dan & I met! (Yes, our first few ‘dates’ happened whilst dressed head to toe in lycra.) I was working in a gym at the time, of which he was a member. I knew he rode bikes and after a couple of my friends got sick and bailed on our annual Festive 500 attempt – I roped the poor sod into it, 500 outdoor kms between Christmas Eve and New Years Eve – I knew he was a keeper right there and then! You might not meet the love of your life (if you do, please let me know because I live for stories like that!) but I can guarantee you will make some friends. Google your nearest cycling club and ask if you can join them one weekend, that first post-ride buzz is a game changer, you’ll be hooked!
FOUR | You’ll better your sense of direction and sharpen your mind – improving reaction times and helping coordination and spacial awareness. Seriously, in a world where we’re overly reliant on our tech, sitting immobile at desks for hours on end, unplugging for a few hours and relying on memory and random village markers to get you around will do you the world of good! Don’t worry, if you have to check google maps every now and again, it’s not cheating, you’ll still be reaping the benefits, promise.
FIVE | Cycling will help bolster your immune system, reducing the need for sick days by up to 40% – so I’ve been told. Another big one for me is that if you can make cycling a part of your commute, you’re reducing the time spent on public transport, which as we all know is essentially a large-scale, moving, germ bath. *pass the anti-bac wipes*
Anything that reduces the time spent with your face in someone elses armpit is life-changing enough for me. Fellow Londoners, I know you feel me.
So, if you’re teetering on the fence, what are you waiting for? Get out there and see for yourself just how many ways cycling can change your life for the better.