Why not come along for the ride?

It’s Na­tional Bike Week, un­til June 17. With the Tour de York­shire hav­ing just finished and the Tour de France hap­pen­ing next month, cy­cling couldn’t be hot­ter right now, says fit­ness ex­pert RUTH LYNCH

Coventry Telegraph - - FAMILY HEALTH -

FANS of two-wheeled trans­port in­clude Pippa Mid­dle­ton, who is of­ten snapped around Lon­don on her trusty bike with a bas­ket; Hugh Bon­neville, who is a huge fan of his fold-up bike and Zoe Ball, who has just cy­cled over 350 miles to raise aware­ness of mental health for Sport Re­lief.

Celebri­ties are just like us! So, if they’re all get­ting in the sad­dle, why don’t you?

TWO WHEELS ARE BET­TER THAN FOUR

STUD­IES show that two wheels are al­ways bet­ter than four when it comes to com­mut­ing. A large-scale 2017 Bri­tish study found that com­mut­ing by bi­cy­cle re­sulted in a 41% lower risk of dy­ing from car­dio­vas­cu­lar dis­ease, cancer and any other fac­tor (in­clud­ing in­jury) than com­mut­ing by car or pub­lic trans­port.

Many peo­ple don’t cy­cle as they’re afraid of the roads but the stats just don’t add up. Roughly 100 cy­clists die on the road each year, com­pared to 785 car pas­sen­gers.

Con­trast that to the 37,000 pre­ma­ture deaths caused by phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity in the UK a year and then cy­cling starts to make a lot of sense.

Even just swapping one or two jour­neys a week will make all the dif­fer­ence to your fam­ily’s health.

LO­CAL HEROES

WE all have busy morn­ings, so sometimes the thought of get­ting on the bike and fight­ing through traf­fic isn’t what we want first thing – es­pe­cially with small kids and the Bri­tish weather.

Luck­ily the UK has some amaz­ing cy­cling routes. These aren’t just wild coun­try rides, but gen­tle town and coun­try­side routes that are suit­able for all lev­els of rider. Many parks and woods also have paths that are per­fect for rid­ing on too.

You can find de­tails of your lo­cal cy­cling routes on­line.

MAKE SOME TIME

WHEN life is full of fam­ily, work and ev­ery­thing else, it can be easy to over­look ex­er­cise. How­ever, the Govern­ment rec­om­mends that adults do 150 min­utes of mod­er­ate ex­er­cise a week – kids need to do a whole hour a day. Good news! Cy­cling is classed as mod­er­ate ex­er­cise!

Why not book in a fam­ily ride once a week? This doesn’t have to be a long slog, it could just be round the lo­cal park or to some­where you all en­joy go­ing. When you book the time in for­mally you’re more likely to stick to your plans.

By ex­er­cis­ing as a fam­ily you’re set­ting good ex­er­cise ex­am­ples and en­cour­ag­ing your kids to keep healthy as they grow up.

CLASS ACT

NOT sure whether to sit on a bike or run a mile from one? Don’t worry, if you’ve never rid­den be­fore (or if it’s been so long you can’t re­mem­ber), there are plenty of learn to ride cour­ses across the coun­try – many are put on by lo­cal char­i­ties, coun­cils and com­mu­nity groups.

Run by a qual­i­fied in­struc­tor the classes will give you the con­fi­dence to take the first step into cy­cling. For all ages – from kids to grand­par­ents – they are usu­ally held in eas­ily ac­ces­si­ble places like parks and schools. Most even pro­vide the bikes and hel­mets.

If you al­ready know how to ride but would like to join up with oth­ers to so­cialise or build up your con­fi­dence, search on­line for lo­cal cy­cling groups.

Many have be­gin­ners, kids and ladies only rides too.

UN­DER­COVER RACER

DON’T have a bike? Don’t like the Bri­tish weather? Not sure about the roads? Don’t worry! You don’t have to go out­doors to cy­cle.

Your lo­cal gym will have static in­door bikes as part of its set up, mean­ing you can ride in­doors what­ever the weather. Some gyms have bikes for peo­ple with back prob­lems and mo­bil­ity is­sues too, mak­ing cy­cling ac­ces­si­ble to all.

If you want some­thing that pushes you a lit­tle more, why not join a spin class? Spin is a form of high in­ten­sity in­ter­val train­ing (HIIT) that uses a static bike with a weighted wheel and is suit­able for all fit­ness lev­els. Spin is also low im­pact, so is a great joint-friendly ex­er­cise.

Dur­ing spin class you’ll do short, sharp bursts of in­tense cy­cling with slower ‘ac­tive re­cov­ery’ pe­ri­ods to catch your breath. Spin is a great way to burn quite a few calo­ries in short amount of time – spin classes are about 30-45 min­utes long.

SOME­THING FOR EV­ERY­ONE

THERE are bikes out there for ev­ery­one – from a tod­dler’s first bal­ance bike, to tag along at­tach­ments, to bi­cy­cles made for two!

When you start cy­cling, why not hire a bike from your lo­cal bike shop to work out if it’s for you? This is a per­fect way to check if you like the ac­tiv­ity, be­fore spend­ing money on your own bike (you can also hire hel­mets).

If you are go­ing to splash some cash, make sure you get the right bikes for you and your fam­ily – your lo­cal shop will help find the right type, size and mod­els for your bud­get.

They can also show you how to main­tain your bike to keep it in good work­ing or­der – so there’s no ex­cuse for not get­ting out and about!

Ruth Lynch is Head of Health, Fit­ness & Com­mu­ni­ties at lifeleisure.net

Many lo­cal beauty spots have cy­cle trails for ev­ery abil­ity

Bad weather is no ex­cuse as most gyms will have static bikes or spin classes to keep you in trim Bri­tish Heart Foun­da­tion am­bas­sador Pippa Mid­dle­ton completes the 40th Lon­don to Brighton Bike Ride

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