Greener Kirkcaldy’s Media Volunteer Tao gives us top five reasons why you should cycle in his latest blog. 

Over the past year, or so, people have learnt a new appreciation for the wonderful activity of
cycling. Whilst we have been adapting to life in the time of Covid-19, with gyms and leisure
centres closed, as well as amateur sports, being played intermittently, those of us who enjoy being active have been looking for alternative ways of staying healthy.

In addition, the hesitancy to use public transport has prompted a drive to find alternative ways of getting about in this world of ours. My local mechanic tells me that they have had a run of bikes recently and that there is a UK wide waiting list on a wide range of replacement parts. There are many benefits to cycling. Let’s explore my top five reasons to cycle together…

Low-Cost Travel

A bicycle is comparatively cheap when compared to other forms of personal transportation. An
entry-level brand new bike will normally set you back something in the region of £150 to £180,
with maintenance prices varying depending on level and type of usage.

However, there are a number of very good second-hand two-wheeled rides that function just as well as when they did when fresh out of the factory. By using a bike for short trips, to the shops, for example, one would reduce the general wear and tear of a car, lower the annual expenditure of petrol and generally reduce automotive costs for those of us who drive. Additionally, ownership of a bicycle would reduce the need to spend money on bus and train fares, therefore lending savings to our wallets, purses and bank accounts.

You can visit out Lang Toun Cycles Community Bike Shop to get your hands on a second-hand bike at a competitive price.

Environmental Impact

Bicycles have a significantly lower carbon footprint than that of a motorbike, car, or van. Many
people think that they need to use a car for a series of short journeys, but this isn’t so and only
adds to climate change negativities. With the addition of panniers on the back of a bike, a
significant amount can be carried to and from different locations. I have, myself often shifted to a weekly food shop thanks to my two-wheeler. Additionally, I’ve had a variety of other heavy gear, including sports equipment, on the back of my bike, thus proving that we don’t need to emit carbon dioxide gases into the air, by using motor vehicles for short journeys.

Health Benefits

There are a variety of benefits to cycling. The most obvious are those that help us out physically. Cycling is a type of cardiovascular exercise, which means that this activity improves the efficiency of our lungs and our heart.

By cycling often and regularly, the amount of oxygen that gets into our bloodstream becomes greater, therefore making exercise easier and more enjoyable for the person who owns these organs. Cycling can even provide variation to these types of improvements; sprinting up a hill for a few seconds brings different physical benefits to ambling along a flat cycle path for half an hour.

When I was playing as a hockey goalkeeper in Edinburgh, I spent a season when I didn’t cycle at all, which my bike lying broken and idle in my storage unit. The following year I pulled it out, got it fixed up and started riding around town and up and down the hills in the city. I noticed that I was a yard or two quicker from my goal line to the penalty spot. Cycling had made my legs more powerful.

Social Benefits

There are many recreational groups popping up in towns and cities around the country. These
groups aim to bring people together in their enjoyment of healthy exercise and getting outside.
This can bring with it, not only physical benefits but also psychological ones as well. With these
lockdowns that have been happening since March of 2020, we could all do with a bit of social
interaction. Cycling groups proves a method of doing so away from the pub. You can also meet new people at our very own cycling events.

Getting To Know Your Local Area

One thing that never ceases to amaze me are the little nooks and crannies in the towns and cities that I thought I knew quite well. One of my little enjoyments during the most recent lockdown has been the chance for me to explore Kirkcaldy, getting to know the layouts of various roads, streets and little alleyways. This has been made all the more easier with my trusted bicycle. I have been able to cover more ground, in a shorter time frame than if I was walking. Additionally, I have been able to travel along paths and routes that would have been impossible with a car. A bike, as a mode of transport, is nimble, agile and able to get into places where larger vehicles are unable to go.

Cycling is a great benefit for all of us, not just the rider, but all of us. The environmental factors would greatly affect the lives of the generations yet to come. If a person is in a healthy state, then his or her ability to work is greatly increased, thus having a positive role in improving our economic recovery from this pandemic. I beseech everybody to get out and have a ride in the fresh air. Get on ya bike…

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