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Meet Larry and Rebekah from Raleigh, North Carolina. They’ve been cycling together for 11 years. They cycle 30-40 miles on the Neuse River Trail in North Carolina three times a week.
And that’s not all. Once a month, they cycle 60 miles, and once a year, they even go 100 miles to prove to themselves they can do it. On days they’re not cycling, they find other forms of exercise to keep fit.
Larry is 73, and Rebekah is 68.
I recently met Larry and Rebekah while I was out running on the Neuse River Trail. Like me, they like to find food stops along the trail like NY Bagels and Bar9 Coffeehouse.
Unlike me, they travel impressively long distances and are in fantastic shape for their age or any age for that matter.
I was so intrigued by how fit they are, I went home and told my husband I wanted to start long-distance biking with him. (Right now, it’s just me and my Schwinn.)
When I showed him a picture of Larry and Rebekah, he was all in.
I’ve since been studying the many health benefits of long-distance cycling and how to get started. I’ve compiled all the information in case you wanted to improve your health through cycling too. Or even if you just want to look like Larry and Rebekah.
The Health Benefits Of Cycling
Bike riding is a fun, easy way to exercise. Biking just 10 miles a day will take about an hour and burn 400-500 calories. Cycling can help you burn fat and achieve weight loss when combined with a healthy diet.
Below are some commonly asked questions about the benefits of cycling.
What muscles does cycling work?
- Buttocks & glutes
What Does Cycling Do For Your Mental Health?
- Relaxes the brain
- Helps you sleep better
- Improves memory
- Increases self-esteem
- Decreases depression & anxiety
other Health benefits of biking
- Strengthens immunity
- Improves balance, coordination, and posture
- Lowers rate of disease
Types Of Bikes
Many factors help determine the type of bike to get. Keep in mind the terrain you’ll be riding on, distance traveling, and if you need a bike that can carry a heavy load.
If you plan to ride in a group with others, find out what kind of bicycle they have. That could help you make your decision.
The following are the best-rated bikes on Amazon for each type. I would also suggest visiting your local bike shop for advice. Some people purchase a bike online and have it shipped to their local bike shop to be assembled correctly.
Folding bikes are perfect for commuters who need to take their bikes on the bus, train, or airplane or who live in an apartment and don’t have a lot of storage. These bikes aren’t quite as easy to handle as traditional bikes, but the trade-off can be worth it for those needing a bike that’s easy to travel with.
Other Biking Equipment
The beauty of bicycling is that all you really need is a bicycle and a helmet. Here are some other items you might consider purchasing, depending on the level of bike riding you plan to do.
Bike Rack For Your Car
There are many different types of bike racks you can put on your car, depending on what kind of car you drive. Consider buying a bike rack that is easy to mount and use. You may be able to fit your bike in the back of your car like I can with my Kia Sorento.
A cycling outfit will keep you comfortable and protect you from the elements. If you’re riding for speed, aerodynamic clothing will help you go faster. Here are some biking apparel choices to consider.
The kind of riding you do will help determine the type of shoe to buy. Many long-distance road cyclists prefer shoes that work with clipless pedals. These shoes have a cleat attached that clip into your pedal. If biking shorter distances where you’ll be putting your feet down a lot, you may prefer flat pedals that sometimes come with a clip that you put your feet into.
A jacket made just for cycling can keep you warm and protected from rain and snow while being breathable. This cycling jacket from Baleaf’s folds up small enough to fit in your back pocket and has pockets to hold your personal items. The sleeves also zip off, giving you the option to wear it as a vest.
If you’re new to cycling, joining a club is probably the fastest way to learn about it. You will make new friends and have plenty of people to show you the ropes of cycling.
Find out about cycling clubs near you at your local bike shop. They can help you find a club to match your interests.
Cycling Rules Of The Road
Some cycling rules vary state by state. Here are general rules that will help keep you safe.
- Obey traffic signals and signs
- Use hand signals
- Be aware that a few cities don’t allow bikes on the sidewalk
- Yield to vehicles or pedestrians already on the road
- Ride in the same direction as traffic
- Yield before moving to the left side of your lane of travel
- Wear a helmet (some states legally require a helmet for minors)
- Wear visible clothing
- Keep a safe distance between you and other riders or vehicles
- Don’t pass other cyclists on the right