May is National Bike Month and is aimed at raising awareness toward improving health, the economy and the environment. Fundraising helps support better and safer bicycling in the U.S. by aiding in the development of better bike lanes, awareness and accessibility.
Did you know that 40 percent of urban travel is within two miles of home? Ninety percent are reportedly made by car – this is the perfect excuse to try your commute by bike! National Bike Month encourages people to get some fresh air, protect the climate and exercise by riding a bike instead!
Last year, with a trip booked to Nantucket, I decided to finally invest in purchasing a bike off of Craigslist. With my $50 beach bike purchase, the decision was made out of sheer availability and affordability. I bought a vintage-looking, light blue, rusty cruiser with a large white basket in front. With seven of us staying in one house and only one car, my bike was my opportunity to get in exercise when no one else suspected it. The rusty cruiser was my transportation to and from the beach, as well as for trips to the grocery store. I wasn’t sure how much I would use it when I got back to Boston because I have a car.
To my surprise and sometimes embarrassment, my beach bike is a time saver and my best purchase of 2011. The perks:
- My brown grocery bags fit perfectly in front. No longer do my arms feel like they are going to fall off by the time I walk the mile home.
- When I’m running late to a meeting or hair appointment, my bike is my savior helping avoid city-parking dilemmas.
- Biking your errands is moderate exercise and counts toward the 30 minutes of recommended exercise per day. Biking, like most forms of exercise, improves mental clarity, builds strength and muscle tone, and reduces stress to top it off!
Recently, cities have increased the number of bike lanes made available and some have even implemented bike share programs that allow the public to rent bikes for an hour or the whole day. This is an amazing opportunity if you want to sightsee around the entire city in just one day enjoying fresh air and avoid obstructed views from a double decker tour bus.
If you are not in the market or do not think you would benefit from purchasing a bike, indoor cycling classes are great for beginners to the most advanced spinning enthusiasts. Prior to my first class just two years ago, I thought I was going to “die” of exhaustion despite my love for tabata and bootcamp style workouts. It turns out, you really do pick your poison throughout the class by controlling the amount of resistance and speed. If you are new, you can take it slow before building up to a more intense session. Classes can burn up to 500 calories in just 40 minutes, proving to be one of the best workouts if you are short on time.
If you have a bike, I challenge you to run your errands that are within 2-miles of home using it during the month of May. If not, sign up for a cycling class at your local gym or near-by studio. I discovered biking for exercise is not my thing, but riding around town running my errands is!
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