In times like these, the bike can help

An affordable route to fitness and wellness

We cycle for many reasons – to go places, get fit and stay fit, spend active time with family and friends; to experience the thrill of tracks and trails, and to have brilliant fun.

At times like now, these reasons come into sharper focus. 

We’re getting more savvy when it comes to making our way through a crisis. We all remember how vital the bike became during the pandemic. It gave us freedom, fresh air, a pass out of the four walls and the chance to pedal off the stresses and worries of it all. 

Now we find ourselves in crisis #2, with cost of living pressures bearing down on us and uncertainty about what the future holds. Let’s not forget the ways our friend the bicycle can help.

1. Cycling makes us resilient

We all know how important it is to be fit and healthy when times are tough. It gives us physical and mental resilience and a positive outlook to deal with the challenges life throws at us. 

Achieving goals on a bike does wonders for your self-esteem and gives you a sense of control when life gets on top. 

As well as all the boost that exercise brings to our mental health, there’s the additional benefit of being outdoors on your bike. A study reported in Science Daily found that participants exercising in natural environments felt more revitalised, more energetic and had less feelings of tension, confusion, anger and depression than people exercising indoors. 

2. Cycling is an affordable form of exercise

Taking regular exercise can cost both time and money, particularly if exercise means gym membership or fitness app subscriptions. These costs add to the financial burdens of inflation and fuel and energy rises that we’re all experiencing. 

Cycling can offer a solution here. Not only can regular cycling keep you fit, it can do so without being a drain on your finances. 

Sarah Mitchell, CEO of Cycling UK, said the cost of living increases force us all to consider options. Options such as the “repair and reuse” model for which the humble bicycle is perfectly suited. 

Of course, a bike doesn’t come for free but a good bike (especially a Trek bike with its lifetime frame warranty) will last for years and years with only the modest costs of servicing and parts. 

New bikes come at different price points to fit a range of budgets.  With finance options and cycle to work schemes to help spread the cost, there are ways you can get a great value bike without a huge outlay.  

3. Cycling fits exercise into our busy lives

As well as the economic benefits, cycling is an efficient way of keeping fit. You can fit it into your daily routine more easily than many other forms of exercise. Your commute to work, or trips to school or shops become exercise sessions that you don’t have to find extra time to squeeze in. 

4. Cycling is good for your physical health

The benefits of cycling for our physical and mental health have been so widely recognised that the NHS is now offering cycling, alongside other forms of exercise, on prescription. Instead of medication, people are supported to try cycling through taster days and active travel schemes.  

There’s convincing data to back this up. Looking at cycling to work alone, there’s a 45% lower risk of developing cancer, and a 46% lower risk of cardiovascular disease compared to commuting by car or public transport, as reported by Cycling UK. 

5. Cycling is a good workout for the whole body

You might be surprised at how many muscle groups are involved in riding a real bike rather than an exercise bike in the gym. 

You have to work to keep yourself upright and that takes muscle power. Your core, back, shoulders and upper body are all engaged when you’re out riding particularly if you’re powering up hills, ducking under canal bridges or leaning around corners.

Obviously as a bike shop, we’re biased, but we firmly believe that bikes are the answer to many of the problems we’re facing today. So don’t give up on yours or underestimate what it can do for you.