Riding a bike is not only fun; it also keeps you fit, help lose weight and improve your overall cardiovascular health. You can ride indoors on a stationary bike or on a normal bike outdoors.
If you’re just starting out, go for a stationary bike if you have that option. Most gyms have them. Here you can ride without worrying about accidents. Stationary bikes are also recommended if you’re recovering from an injury, since most of its parameters are adjustable. You can have back support as well. You start cycling at a low resistance then progress with time.
Indoor bikes allow you to exercise any time, without worrying about the weather, harsh terrain or accidents. However, they’re bound to get boring with time, since they confine you to the same environment which gets monotonous with time. The ultimate goal should be to venture out and ride as you enjoy the sights and sounds of nature.
Once you’ve build your endurance to a reliable level, you can proceed to outdoor cycling. Shop for the right bike for your body size. The seat, pedals and handle bars should be comfortable to reach. Depending on the terrain in your area, you can go for a mountain, road or cruising bike.
At the beginning, concentrate on getting the balance right. Master the riding technique to avoid falls and related accidents. Flat, even surfaces work best for new riders. If you have a cycling track where you live; you’re lucky. If not, like is the case with most Kenyan urban centers, you have to contend with riding while avoiding pedestrians, motorbikes and cars.
Once you get the hang of it, you can venture out to more challenging tracks. Time yourself while at it, and strive to get faster each time. Pay attention to the safety gear. Start with the cycling helmet. This one is different from that used by boda boda (motorbike) riders. Then there are the safety pads for the elbows and knees. In case of an incident, these should protect you from the impact.
Riding improves many facets of your life;
- It is a low impact exercise compared to walking or running. You get to exercise safely without putting too much pressure on the knees and ankles. Recommended for those who are overweight and want to lose calories without straining their joints.
- Cycling helps you build leg muscles, such as the calves and hamstrings. This makes your legs stronger and come in handy during walking or running.
- Saves you time when you ride to work or other chores. You ride straight from your doorstep to your destination, avoiding wasting time walking to the stage, waiting for the Matatu or stuck in traffic.
- You can establish new networks by joining a cycling group where you meet new people, engage in new activities and go to places you probably never have ventured into on your own.
If you have the grit, you can venture into racing. There’s nothing quite like the fatigued but adrenalin-filled pedaling as you cross the finishing line!