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Laurence Boon: New Year Revolutions

24th January 2020

Five healthy considerations to help you roll through 2020 in fine fettle.  

A fiver says you’ve probably had an inbox full of emails shouting ‘New year, new you’; all of them advocating something you can do or buy to have a happy and healthy start to the new decade.

Well this round up is (predictably) of the same ilk but with one important exception. This article is going to focus on BIKES and we all know that bikes are easy to access, align beautifully to everyday activities and are, above all else, fun!
 
My advice is to assign the plethora of gym offers to your spam folder, to put that flyer for a 1-day deep breathing workshop in the bin and hold off any pricey wellness app subscriptions. That is because the trusty and understated bicycle can help you achieve many of your wellness goals in the most efficient, integrated and low-impact manner possible.

No bike, no problem


Let’s kick off with getting you on two-wheels. If you don’t want to own a bike (or can’t store one at home) and you live in an urban location, then city hire bikes might be for you – they are particularly prevalent in cities, but many towns are starting to operate schemes too. Cycling UK have a great resource on hire bike schemes.

If you don’t have a city hire scheme near you then don’t fret. You’re probably aware that you can now rent almost anything as part of our modern subscription-based economy and bikes are no different. If you want to try a bike for a year before buying, why not consider a long-term lease? The Bike Club offer just such a service – you can choose a bike, lease it monthly and then return or update it as suits.

Lastly, there is no better way to obtain a new adult bike than the cycle to work scheme. This is the most cost-efficient and accessible way to get your perfect machine. You’ll save 25-39% on the bike and any accessories you need, spread the cost over at least 12 payments and you’ll be able to choose the exact brand and model that suits you.

Little and often


The average distance people tend to live from their workplace is 10 miles. If you’re in the 10 mile or less category, then building cycling into your commuting regime could really benefit you. Starting the day on two-wheels will cut the amount of time you need to spend doing other exercise, reduce your environmental impact and invigorate your body and mind for the day ahead. Cyclists say they feel more alert and productive plus regular riders tend to take fewer sick days because they feel great!

If the daily commute is not for you, could you cycle for utility at the weekend? If you’re nipping out for a ‘top-up’ shop, could you jump on a bike with a backpack? Or if you’re visiting friends, why not roll over to their place and save on some carbon emissions?

Building cycling into your daily routine is the equivalent of micro-napping for fitness! Lots of short (and often not) sharp trips that top up your fitness, speed up journey times and boost your mental wellbeing.

Make it social


Cycling is fun and fun things are often best shared, so why not ditch the local coffee shop or pub for your weekly mates’ meetup and instead take a spin down the towpath, a rip around the local trail centre or a rolling road ride in nearby lanes. Check out your local NCN route to find somewhere you’d like to go.
Looking for people to ride with? No problem, there are several group ride platforms such as British Cycling’s Let’s ride platform. You can meet other riders and find routes full of other like-minded people.

There are also online communities you can join to track your rides and celebrate activity. Strava is the best known and likely the best for the actual tracking of activity. Another firm favourite that interacts with Strava, but takes the community element further is Love to Ride. You can set goals, see and comment on your friends & colleagues cycling adventures and join leagues and leader boards.

Cycling


Get competitive(ish)


If you’re already riding little and often and you’re loving the freedom & fitness regular riding has brought you, then it might be time to notch it up a gear and do some organised rides such as sportives.

Sportives cover a huge range of ride types; from 15-mile jaunts over accessible terrain, to longer closed road adventures that traverse grand stretches of the countryside, and everything in between.

Longer rides provide great affirmation of your progress towards a fit healthy body and there’s really no nicer way of exercising than an epic ride with friends set against a backdrop of stunning terrain.

Don’t stay in your lane


If you’ve found your groove and you’re riding with a degree of consistency, why not mix it up a bit?

Mountain biking is a great way to burn calories whilst also enjoying a novel weekend activity. Trail centres are located all over the UK and can be great fun for riders of every level. You can find your local trail centre over at moredirt.com.

How about mountain biking with an e-bike? Electric bikes are all the rage and most trail centres have a host of e-mountain-bikes for rent. Having a modest motor onboard means you can spend more time descending, but don’t fear – you’ll be putting the effort in too, it’s just a really fun way of getting the most enjoyment out of a trip to the hills.

Mountain biking and sportives not for you? There’s always an indoor experience to be had at a velodrome. The feeling of being on a fixed wheel bike moving at pace on the curved wooden boards of a 45° banked turn is sensational and like no other. There are dozens of velodromes across the UK and a whizz round one could be just what the doctor ordered!
 
I hope you’re starting to get a feel for the plethora of ways you can cycle more in 2020 and that I’ve managed to convey some of the motivating and rewarding reasons why it’s such a great pastime, as well as a useful mode of transport.

See you on the trails!

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Laurence Boon is our Cyclescheme Product Manager, based down in Bath. Having worked for the company since 2012, Laurence has been pivotal in pushing cycling to the fore and helping to establish Cyclescheme as a leading name in the cycle hire industry.

As an avid cyclist himself, Laurence is passionate about motivating more people to get on two wheels and enjoy the benefits of an active lifestyle. To encourage BHN employees, Laurence runs a number of road shows and events throughout the year at both of our UK offices and has successfully converted a large number of our staff into regular cyclists.

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