For you, riding a bike was probably a staple of your childhood. On any given sunny Saturday, you and your bike were never too far from each other. Even today, if you see a group of kids outside, you’re sure to see a few bikes in the mix. And for good reason – there’s something uniquely freeing and refreshing about hopping on your bike, and flying off to wherever you want to go, the breeze on your face and sun on your skin.
But did that love affair go away when you became an adult? Did you trade your bike helmet for a nine-to-five job? According to a study discussed by usa.streetsblog.org in 2015, while 100 million Americans hop on a bike at least once per year, a mere 14% of US adults 18 and over bike at least twice a week. And get this – 53% of those surveyed said they wished they biked more. So what gives? If we loved riding as kids, and wish we rode more now, why is it our bikes continue to sit in the shed gathering spider webs?
We’ve compiled the top three reasons why you’re probably not biking more often, and why you should kiss those reasons goodbye. Read on, and then ride on.
- Myth: It’ll ruin your knees.
Sure, many bikers do complain about sore knees. However, oftentimes sore knees are the result of improperly strengthened legs. When you bike regularly, your quadriceps get super strong, but unless you make a concentrated effort to strengthen your glutes and hamstrings, your leg muscles will be unbalanced and possibly cause knee pain. And keep this in mind: recent study found that senior citizens with osteoarthritis and/or knee pain who incorporated cycling into their activity actually saw an improvement in their condition.
Another reason for biking-induced knee pain could be an improperly-fitting bike. Make sure to consult a professional at a well-reputed bicycle store to make sure the height of your seat and the distance of your pedals from your bike seat are just right for you.
- Myth: You’ll surely get hit by a car.
If you ride in a predictable manner (no weaving about, Bourne-Wanna-Be), follow bike traffic rules, and use all of your senses to be aware of what’s around you, you’re likely to have safe, drama-free rides. It doesn’t hurt to wear super-visible clothing as well. Bonus- find your state’s bike road rules here: http://bikeleague.org/StateBikeLaws
- Myth: Roads aren’t bike-friendly
Unfortunately, bike lanes are in short supply in most US cities. Not only that, but the potholes and cracks that plague many roads make biking especially hazardous. The good news is that there are many park bike trails that are available and safe for bikers. Explore a few in your neighboring parks, and you might find bike routes that lead to where you want to go, no cars in sight.
We encourage you to give cycling a second thought. Those who bicycle regularly enjoy increased strength, lower stress levels, improved joint mobility, a greater level of overall fitness, and even improved posture. Be sure to talk to your trainer for ways that you can prepare your body to take on cycling. And then pedal to your heart’s content, and maybe even relive a childhood memory or two.