The snow is disappearing, birds are reappearing, and the sunny days are giving me the warm fuzzies. Spring is here, and I’m so ready for it! Pretty soon the streets will be swept and we’ll be able to pull out our bikes again; in fact, on some of our warmer days, I’ve already spotted families out taking advantage of an opportunity to get on two wheels. Spring GoByBike Week is just around the corner, running from Monday, May 30 through Sunday, June 5. If you’re more of an occasional cyclist than an avid one, participating in an event like this can be exactly what it takes to start building a great new habit.
Here are some of the benefits you’ll experience by hopping on two wheels:
- Increases your physical activity levels. The Canadian 24-Hour Movement Guidelines recommend that children and youth get an hour a day of moderate to vigorous physical activity per week to achieve health benefits, and that adults get 150 minutes (2.5 hours) or more. This might sound like a lot at first, and really, doing any amount of physical activity is beneficial, but a bike ride or two can help make this number easy to reach and/or beat!
- Helps lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels while strengthening your heart, lungs, and muscles.
- Boosts your mood and improves your focus.
- Helps you get a better rest! You sleep better when you’ve been active throughout the day.
- Provides a low-impact way to get your heart pumping while taking it easy on your hips and knees!
- Reduces your carbon footprint. Every time you choose to ride rather than drive, you’re benefiting both the environment and air quality. Don’t buy it? I believe the saying goes something like this: “If you think you’re too small to make a difference, try sleeping in a room with a mosquito.”
- Have you seen the cost of fuel lately?? Getting around by bike is free! No fuel costs or parking fees.
- Saves time! In many cases, if you live within a reasonable distance from your destination, you’ll actually get there faster by bike than by vehicle.
- Being on your bicycle allows you to connect with other cyclists and pedestrians you meet on your commute; the sight of your grinning face as you sail by may also inspire someone else to park their car and ride instead!
Worried about safety?
Research shows that safety increases as the number of people cycling increases. More people biking means fewer vehicles on the road, and drivers become more aware of cyclists simply because there are more of us. The old adage “safety in numbers” applies here. To be better prepared to share the road, there are some great resources out there to help you brush up on your skills:
- ICBC has cycling safety videos and tips for both drivers and riders;
- The BC Cycling Coalition has created the BikeSense Manual: Their latest edition released in 2021 contains all the information you might need to start a new cycling habit or refresh your skills and knowledge, including tips on preparing for and planning your ride, safety tips and education, and relevant updates on BC’s Motor Vehicle Act.
Kickstart your cycling season by participating in GoByBike Week May 30-June 5, and don’t stop there! Keep on riding throughout the summer and fall to experience the benefits listed above. Registration is free, and if you log even one ride, you’ll be entered to win amazing prizes (Hint: they usually have a grand prize of a cycling trip for two to somewhere exciting! Check out the website to find out where you might be heading). You can join an existing team, start your own team, or sign up as an individual.
Happy spring, and enjoy GoByBike Week!