Is cycling the right fit for me?
Cycling is a great, fun way to keep active and burn calories without putting too much pressure on your joints. Compared to running and other aerobic activities, cycling is really low impact. You could ride around your local park, up the street to the shops or round to a friend or neighbours house. It’s a really simple and healthy way to get from A to B.
Plus it’s great a great way to do your bit for the environment, and it can help you save money on petrol/bus fare too! Lots of companies even run a ‘cycle to work’ scheme so you can safely store bikes in your workplace.
It can also be a really great way to meet new friends. There are lots of local cycling groups ranging from those that ride just for fun, to those who compete in competitions. Whatever your level, there’s lots of ways you can enjoy cycling.
Is this suitable for me?
The great thing about cycling is that it’s literally as easy as riding a bike. No matter what shape you’re in it’s a healthy, safe and fun way to get fit. It’s something that can slot into your everyday life and replace other forms of transport like the bus or car, so it won’t be any effort to make time for. Why not get the kids to ride with you? Cycling can be a lot of fun no matter what your age.
However, if you do have any health problems that you’re worried about, especially with your legs, be sure to get in touch with your GP before you take up cycling.
How will it benefit me?
Cycling is an accessible activity that people of all ages and abilities can join in with, and has lots of health benefits. Cycling can:
- Reduce stress
- Improve balance and general mobility
- Increase muscle strength in the legs.
- Helps improve mobility in those with arthritis
- Improve heart and lung function
- Manage your weight
- Tone muscles
- Increase stamina and energy
- Reduce tension, anxiety and depression,
- Sleep better
- Reduce the risk of heart disease,
- Reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes
- Reduce the risk of stroke
How much will it cost me?
Cycling doesn’t have to cost the earth. A great way to get started is to hire a bike through the CityBike Scheme. There are also bikes available for those with disabilities. The main providers of specialist bikes and led rides are British Cycling Let's Ride, Wheels for All, CTC and Greenbank Academy. If you need some help learning how to ride or building up your confidence, you can access adult cycle training through Bikeright.
If you’re ready to buy your own bike, the cost can vary but once you’ve bought your equipment it’s completely free, unlike some activities that rely on you paying weekly for classes. Investing in good quality lock for your bike is also a good idea.
One thing to bear in mind is that you’ll need to get the right safety equipment. This is really important when riding a bike, so you’ll need a good helmet, which can cost around £15 for a good quality one.
It’s also a good idea to have some waterproof clothing to hand that won’t get caught in the chain or wheels of your bike. Padded trousers and shorts are also good for longer rides, and reflective clothing should be worn if you’re riding at night. It is also a legal requirement to have a light on your bike when it is dark.
Can I do this near me?
Yes, you can cycle pretty much anywhere, any time, absolutely free. You could cycle around your local area on dedicated cycle paths in parks and on roads. You’ll find lots of main roads have specific lanes for cyclists to keep them safe. If you haven’t cycled on roads before it’s advisable to have some training first to ensure your safety.
You could try cycling to work or school or take trips on a weekend. It’s a great way to travel to new places outside the city, take in scenery and enjoy some ‘me’ time or a family day out. There are plenty of local cycling groups in communities around Liverpool too – all information is on the cycling event page.
Cycle maps for Liverpool and the rest of Merseyside can be downloaded or ordered from Merseytravel. You can take your bike for free on ferries and trains in Merseyside, though remember it's busy in peak hours. See Merseyrail and Northern Rail for more information or call Traveline on 0871 200 2233.
How do I start?
If you haven’t cycled before, don’t worry. There are plenty of places that will teach you completely free in your local area no matter what your skill level. Whether you’re completely new to cycling or just looking to brush up on your skills, BikeRight offer classes with friendly instructors. You can also visit Bikeability.
Cycling off-road is fairly easy if you know how to ride, however if you are thinking of riding on the roads it’s worth getting some practice in first. You’ll need to get used to riding one handed so you can signal your direction of travel to traffic, as well as getting into the habit of looking over both shoulders to get a full view of your surroundings and the position of the cars around you.
If you already cycle and feel like you want to try something new, there are plenty of other activities that you can try. Click here to see our activities page.