The advantages of commuting on a bike in comparison to a car seem endless. Everyone is talking about it, but when it comes to the follow through it might not be as easy to practice what you preach. Here are a few reasons that are good enough to to convince you to get started.
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You'll live longer
In a study by Anderson Lars Bo that took place in Denmark over 14.5 years and included 30,000 people, it was discovered that people who cycled to work for an average of 3 hours per week decreased their risk of mortality by 40% in comparison to people who don’t.
Lower your cholesterol
A study called the Cycling 100 Trial took place in Perth and called for 100 commuters to ride to work a few days a week. Their health was monitored and researchers found that their HDL (good cholesterol) increased while their LDL (bad cholesterol) was significantly reduced. Their aerobic fitness obviously improved and their risk of heart attacks and strokes decreased. Still on the fence about riding to work?
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Downsize Your Eco-Footprint
If you’re commuting anyway, it may as well be on a bike. By cycling to work, you’re no longer contributing to the tonnes of fumes that are exhorted into the ecosystem every day. The average person riding 10km each way to work instead of driving saves around 1.3 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions each year. The good news? You don’t have to contribute to these emissions.
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No More Parking Nightmares
Finding parking is difficult and paying for it is even worse. By commuting on a bike, you can actively avoid the morning mayhem of fighting over a parking spot and simply put your bicycle in your office or chain it up. If you’ve worked a 9-5 for the past few years and the idea of exercising every morning is far from alluring, you should consider investing in an electric bike, also known as an E-bike.
With a small fitted motor, an E-bike allows you to zip around at up to 30 km/hour and it goes +-80 km on average on a single charge. More often than not, you can select the level of assistance that suits you, and because of the pedal assist and the motor, you can get to work in your normal clothes without breaking a sweat. So our advice to you? Take the bike and skip the traffic. The scenic route is good for your health, too.
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Commute Like A Pro
Officially, world car-free day is 22 September; but that shouldn’t be the only time you embrace this fat-burning, planet-saving exercise. Saddle up with these riding tips to make the most of your commute.
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The Best Way To Pedal
According to Biomechanics expert, Professor Borut Fonda:
- Angle for the power. You can’t generate speed at the top or bottom of the stroke, but you can keep your heel primed for forward explosiveness. A 20- to 35- degree heel angle relative to the ground is the most efficient position.
- Push where it counts most. Pump down hardest at 90 to 110 degrees in the stroke, while keeping your heel about 30 degrees above your forefoot. By doing this, you form a “rigid lever” at the crucial torque-producing part of the rotation.
- Don’t bother pulling upward. You’ll just waste energy. “Your body is designed to counter gravity by pushing down,” Fonda says. If you pull up you might speed past traffic, sure; but you’ll be sweaty for your morning meeting. Awkward.
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This article was originally published on www.mh.co.za
Image credit: iStock