Cycling for 15 minutes at a moderate speed burns the same number of calories as medium intensity aerobic exercise or playing badminton for the same time. Just a total of 30 minutes most days of the week could make a real difference to your health. You don’t have to do the 30 minutes all at one time – for example, you could do two 15 minute rides or three 10 minute rides.
If you haven’t cycled before, try borrowing or hiring a bike to see if you enjoy it. Maybe you could commute to work by bike and avoid all those boring traffic jams too!
A new bike can be quite expensive, but you could be able to buy a relatively cheap second-hand one. Ask for advice at your local bike shop.
To be safe always wear a properly fitting helmet. It’s also important that you all learn the basics of how to ride a bike properly and understand the rules of the road.
Get yourself comfortable
Adjust the seat height so that when you pedal you have a slight bend in the knee when your foot is at its lowest point. Adjust the handlebars so that you’re comfortable with the reach when leaning slightly forward - too much of a stretch could hurt your back.
Northern Ireland now has miles of cycle paths, many of them traffic-free and ideal for beginners. www.cycleni.com offers information on short rides, cycling daytrips, long distance routes and commuting by bike. It tells you where to find your local cycling club or cycle hire company and also provides details of the National Cycle Network. The Network has miles of routes in Northern Ireland and over one third of it is completely traffic-free, making it perfect for inexperienced cyclists and families.
For more information on the benefits of cycling and how to buy the right bike for you visitwww.whycycle.co.uk