The bicycle is a wonderful machine. It can take you on exciting adventures, bring you great happiness and hugely improve your health and wellbeing. It can also do the more mundane tasks, like allowing you to get to work on time or easily do the weekly shop. Truly, as novelist William Saroyan noted, “the bicycle is the noblest invention of mankind.”
Here’s our list of the great and the good things about the humble bike. See what you think – would you add anything?
The boost to your health from simply riding a bike can be enormous. From losing a few inches around the waist to improved mental wellbeing, riding a bike brings a lot more than the feel of wind in your hair.
Exploring by bike is the best way to unlock an area. Pootling around your home town by bicycle opens up new spaces and short cuts you probably never knew about, shows you hidden bars and coffee shops you’d normally miss and uncovers a world you don’t see from the back seat of the bus.
Take this same adventure when you go on holiday, either by taking your own bike with you or hiring one when you’re there, and you can say goodbye to boring beach holidays forever. Exploring by bike with your family or alone allows you to see, smell and hear your environment, to experience it, not just look at it.
Riding to the top of a huge mountain in the Alps, completing your first 100 mile ride, smashing your local sportive – all of these give you the buzz. That feeling of accomplishment is something all cyclists know; an enormous adrenaline rush you experience when you realise that you did this all by yourself. To be able to achieve it purely through the propulsion of your own feet on the pedals is an indescribably energising experience.
You have to wonder, were it not for our love of cycling, would we instead be collecting stamps or whiling away our Sunday afternoons polishing toy trains in the loft? For a lot of us, checking out shiny new kit and drooling over the latest Italian steel frames makes us very, very happy. And you know what? Yep, it’s okay to be a little geeky!
Some lucky folks get to spend their lives chasing around after each other while dressed in the latest skin tight lycra. Okay, they have to flog themselves silly and there’s more than a little danger, but the world’s best cyclists can be hugely inspiring. Whether they push you to enter your first race or just to get the bike out for a local 10-mile spin, these athletes motivate us to be the best we can be too.
Giving, and getting, those little nods and waves from fellow cyclists while out on the road tells you that you’re part of a great community. We’re all in this together. We get that some people don’t get it, but we do. There’s no better feeling than being out on the bike.
Company bosses often say that staff who cycle to work are less stressed and more productive than those who drive or take the train. Commuting by bike gives you back time – that most precious commodity – that you’d otherwise lose sitting immobile in a traffic jam or waiting for a delayed train.
Lessening your stress levels is just one of the bonuses that cycling brings. You probably didn’t buy the bike for that reason, but hey, we’ll take it if it’s there.
There’s one aspect of cycling we hate though. The yang to cycling’s yin, bicycle theft is a real pain. That gut-wrenching feeling when you realise your bike’s been stolen is one that too many of us have experienced, often followed by disbelief and then anger. Ensuring you have cycle insurance for your pride and joy is as essential as a spare inner tube or a top-level sock game.
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