There’s been a boom in bike sales since the UK entered lockdown back in March. Bike chain Halfords has reported a 23% jump in shares as more of us take to two wheels as a means of exercising and commuting safely during the COVID-19 pandemic.
It would be great to see people continuing to cycle post-lockdown. Many of us will have forgotten the sense of freedom and joy of riding through neighbourhoods, along country lanes and alongside rivers the way we did as children.
Whether you’re an age-old biker or a reluctant newbie, there’s never been a better time to start cycling. COVID-19 has put the brakes on many celebrations in 2020 but there are two dates to put into your calendar for June: World Bicycle Day is June 3rd and Bike Week is running between June 6thand 14th.
For Bike Week, Cycling UK along with Cycling Scotland has put together several activities that you can participate in whilst respecting social distancing measures.
Why is Cycling Good for Us?
Cycling is great for beginners.
Most people will have mastered the basic skills as children.
It’s worth brushing up on your bike safety skills, but the actual act of riding a bike is straightforward. It’s a skill unlikely to have been forgotten even many years later.
A basic bike is relatively inexpensive to buy. Cycling has a low barrier of entry: you don’t need to spend a small fortune to get started. Bikes can often be bought second-hand and you may already have one in a shed or garage.
Cycling is great for heart health. Bike Radar writes that around 10,000 fatal heart attacks could be prevented each year if people were fitter. Cycling 20 miles a week could cut your risk of heart disease in half.
Moderate exercise can also boost immunity. We know it’s less likely that you’ll suffer from an upper respiratory illness if you participate in exercise.
Exercising at a moderate level can also reduce your risk of developing cancer, diabetes or having a stroke.
Cycling is great for weight loss, too, and it can also help reduce the symptoms of mild depression and anxiety.
Going for a bike ride is something the entire family can enjoy doing together. When the COVID-19 lockdown is lifted, it’ll also be a great way to meet new people through clubs and organisations.
How Cycling is Good for the Environment
In 2019, the UK Government declared a climate emergency. The effects of global warming are becoming more and more visible throughout the world in everything from flooding, increased sea temperatures to drought and coral bleaching.
Cars are a huge threat to the environment. They’re one of the biggest contributors to poor air quality and carbon emissions. We all rely on them to get around but the damage they’re doing to our health and the planet cannot be understated. Cycling is one way of reducing the impact of those emissions by using peddle power instead of horsepower.
Public transport outside London can be sporadic and expensive. Cycling offers people a carbon-free way of getting around for less.
And saving the environment through cycling doesn’t only have to be done outside. Energym is developing indoor bikes for commercial and domestic use that converts human-generated energy into useable electricity to power gyms and homes.
Whether you do it indoors or outdoors, cycling is one way of playing your part in saving the planet without feeling as if you’ve had to give something up.
How Can You Take Part in Bike Week?
You can still celebrate bike week even during the lockdown. The Government recently relaxed the rules on exercising outdoors so there’s no reason not to get outside and go for a bike ride.
You don’t have to go far, either. It can be a quick ride down to the shops, around a local park or a quick trip around your neighbourhood.
UK Cycling has launched 7-days of cycling to coincide with bike week. It wants people to aim to ride every day for a week and then to share their activity via a photo, video or story using #BikeWeek and #7DaysofCycling on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. If you can’t do the full 7 days, don’t worry. You can join in as much or as little as you like.
Selected participants will also receive a prize.
We’re looking forward to following the hashtags this week and to see where everyone is heading for their rides. Remember to be considerate to other road and pavement users during this difficult period and ensure that your bike is safe to use. You can find bike safety tips on the UK cycling website.
Interested in how the energy from your bike workout could power your premises or home? Visit the Energym website to find out more and to see the technology in action.