Cycling is an excellent way to get and stay fit. It’s for this reason that the pastime is so enormously popular – by simply hopping onto your contraption and peddling you’re able to build up your muscular endurance, shed pounds, boost your cardiovascular system and have fun, too! As a side benefit, you’ll also be transported from where you are to wherever you’d like to be – provided you’ve an intervening road by which to travel.
As hobbies go, cycling is one that requires a little bit of initial investment. There’s the cost of the bike itself to consider, which depending on the model you’re choosing can cost anywhere from a few hundred pounds to several thousand – and more.
But we should also consider those minor items that’ll make life that little bit easier once you get out onto the road and start pedalling. While these items are certainly optional (in most cases), once you’ve spent a few minutes using them, you’ll never want to go without them again!
When you’re out on a long ride, you’ll be generating an enormous amount of heat as your body quickly metabolises all of the glycogen stored in your muscles, propelling your legs round and around and maintaining your forward momentum. As a by-product of this, a great deal of heat will be generated – which is why you get hot when you exercise.
Without a way to get rid of this heat, cycling would be impossible – as our bodies would quickly cease to function. Fortunately, our bodies come equipped with a mechanism which quickly transfers heat from the inside to the outside – we sweat.
Unfortunately, this mechanism also means that we lose water as we exercise, and so it’s important to replenish our fluids regularly during a long bike ride. We can do this with the help of a water bottle, which should be kept attached to the frame of the bike so that we can drink whenever we feel the urge.
When you’re first getting started with cycling, the idea of slipping into skin-tight spandex might be a little bit off-putting. It might, in fact, be the one component of the hobby that you’re keen to avoid. After all, it can’t really yield that much of improvement in comfort and speed, can it?
The answer, perhaps unsurprisingly, is that it can. Those legions of cyclists don’t dress the way that they do for fun – a lycra garment will adhere nicely to your body, and it’ll ensure that your skin is able to properly breathe. When you’re at your maximum effort, and the old t-shirt you’re wearing is sodden with sweat, you’ll wish you’d invested in breathable clothing!
While the human skull and the cushioning fluid that surround the brain within are remarkably effective protections against brain injury, they’ve not adapted to deal with the stress of a concrete surface smashing into them at thirty (or more) miles per hour.
A helmet is a crucial piece of equipment – albeit not a legally mandatory one. It’s what protects your head against serious injury, and allows you to push that much harder without fear of such injury. Cycling helmets sold in the UK must (for now) comply with stringent EU which ensures a minimum standard of safety for the customer. More expensive ones, therefore, tend not to bring about any substantial safety improvements – instead they tend to be more lightweight, stylish, and comfortable.
If you’re going to be cycling through dense forest, then it follows that your vehicle will become very dirty. In such a case, you’ll need to protect the interior of your car. One way to do this is with the help of a boot liner. A boot liner will sit within the boot of the car and provide protection against its contents. It can later be removed and laundered alongside your clothes and bedsheets.
A roofrack is a tried-and-true means of taking your bike from one place to another. Since they sit outside of the car, there’s no chance of the interior becoming effected by them. Another popular alternative is the cycle-carrier, which affixes to the rear of your car, and can carry as many as four of five different bikes at once. Cycle carriers are often preferred as it’s more aerodynamic, and there’s less risk of your bikes being impeded by a low bridge. They can also sometimes double as towbars and come with registration plates attached to their rear.