Paddles and Passion
Want to take up cycling (I guess yes because you are reading this article)? Then, I must say, “Congratulations, you are going to take one of the great decisions of your life.” Because it will not just improve your health or fitness, you can choose cycling as a professional or career option as well. Impressed? Let’s explore something more about this term “cycling”.
Keep this in mind, “Learn to ride a bicycle. You will not regret it if you live.” – quoted by Mark Twain, an American author, and humorist.
Cycling is basically a low-impact sort of exercise, which is easier on your joints and body. Riding a cycle can be really good for your health. It can help tone your legs, reducing calories and also can help toughen your ticker.
If you’re just getting started and don’t find enough time then you could try to cycle to work (if not every day, then few days a week would be a better option). Also, you can see some shorter rides during the weekends or at evening.
Consider its health benefits or environmental friendly nature; it is made to win the race in every aspect. Cycling is something that makes your body fit and healthy. It can make you relaxed in stressful conditions when life is full of struggles. Be it be a short ride with friends or long ride, it always makes mood pleasant and journey enjoyable.
“The sound of a car door opening in front of you is similar to the sound of a gun being cocked.” – quoted by Amy Webster
Benefits of Cycling
1. Stay healthy and younger
Tired of trying various anti-ageing products? Leave everything else and add cycling into your routine. Scientists have found that cycling on a regular basis can save your skin against the dangerous effects of Ultraviolet radiation. Thereby, cycling is very healthy and keeps you younger as ever.
2. Increase your brain power
Cycling helps in boosting up blood flow and oxygen levels to the brain. It helps in regenerating receptors of the body; thus, enhancing the brain power. In turn, cycling makes you intelligent.
3. Deep Sleep in the night
Having trouble sleeping? Cycle for 25-35 minutes a day and enjoy a sound sleep at night. It happens because your body will get rid of cortisol that interrupts a deep sleep at night.
4. Live longer
Cycling regularly reduces the risk of various diseases such as diabetes, hypotension, cardiovascular disorders, cancer, obesity, high blood pressure and much more. Cycling enhances your lifespan.
5. Environmental Friendly
The cycle is known to be the Eco-Friendly mode of transportation as this emits “ZERO” pollution. If you are looking forward to reducing pollution, then yes, cycling is the best option for you.
6. More muscle strength and joint mobility
The mobility of body’s joints increases if one adds cycling into his routine. During pedaling, a lot of strength is required which helps the muscles to become stronger day by day.
7. Feeling stressed out? try cycling
In the case of depression, sadness or stress, cycling is one of the best solutions to opt from. Be it a long ride with music or a short ride, it will help to reduce the stress hormones in your body thus making your mood pleasant.
8. Your muscles will learn TEAMWORK
It is observed that during cycling the muscles move in complete coordination, which increases the bicyclist’s exposure to more efficient coordination of muscles and kinematics.
9. Improved bone health
Regular movement and exercise of bones keep them healthy. So why to go for something else when cycling is already here. It will not just make your bones healthy, but you will also enjoy the ride.
10. Choose cycling, avoid FAT
Are you tired of exercising in a locked room? Do you think pushups are hard for you and still want to lose your weight? GO FOR CYCLING then. It will decrease both the stress and fat thus nourishing both your body and soul.
“Whenever I see an adult on a bicycle, I do not despair for the human race.” HG Wells, English author
FOR the Pro Beginners
Beginners require following a set of rules to follow; thereby, before holding the handlebar, keep these points in mind:
- Look forward and stay focused: Like any other journey, here the tip is to look forward and stay focused, which means look at the area where you are going to cycle and keep your eyes almost 20-25 feet ahead of the path you are going to follow. Do not get distracted by the hurdles, instead, cross them like a hero.
- Know your cycle, before you go: Do the detailed inspection of your cycle, before riding it. Check the air volume and pressure of the tires, brakes and other minute details. It will save you from any hassle during the journey and will keep you safe throughout.
- Wear Helmet and Gloves: Do not forget to wear helmet and gloves prior starting your journey. It will save you from getting injured (because safety is important).
- Get, Set and Go: Congratulations, you are now ready to go..!!!
Tips for Women Cyclists
- Know the “technical” details: Before starting cycling, try to learn as much as technical details of both cycle and cycling such as how to check tire pressure, how to tackle the situation if brakes fail suddenly, how to manage the situation if cycle needs a tire change in the middle of the journey.
- Carry a First Aid Kit: If you are going on a long journey or a professional cycling race, do not forget to carry a first aid kit along with you.
- Precaution is better than cure: Just because you are going to carry a first aid kit does not mean you can forget about “Safety Measures.” Wearing a helmet, gloves, are one of the few points you need to keep in mind before starting your journey.
- Be prepared for “Surprises”: If you are women and your menstruation cycle is going to start then do not forget to carry extra sanitary pads in your bag with you.
- Drink water: As cycling is an activity where you will lose calories and sweat. Sweating increase even more in the summers so always carry a bottle full of water or glucose with you. It will save you from dehydration.
- Wear Comfortable clothes: Before starting your journey, try to wear more comfortable clothes as tight clothes such as jeans or dresses would cause trouble. The more you are comfortable, the more you can enjoy the journey.
- Get a comfortable Seat: It does not matter if you are just a cycle lover or professional racer; comfortable seat is an important point to consider. Adjust your bike seat according to your comfort level.
- Do not “overtake suddenly”: If you are riding in a straight lane then do not overtake without considering the traffic that is coming behind you. It will help you and your fellow riders to avoid accidents.
- Don’t forget your skin: Applying a sunscreen lotion is something you should try to do to avoid suntan or sunburn. Getting exposed to sunlight for so long can cause you various skin issues.
- Stay warm, stay healthy: In the season of winters, wear warm clothes that will help your body to function properly. Also, to survive your body, especially your hands from the freezing wind, wear gloves. As this is vital for your legs and arms so that they can move properly while riding a bicycle.
“The bicycle is a just as good company as most husbands and, when it gets old and shabby, a woman can dispose of it and get a new one without shocking the entire community.” – quoted by Ann Strong
Types of Cycling
Leisure Road Rides
If you do not want to opt cycling as a career option, then you can try it for pleasure and health benefits. You can go on a pleasant ride alone, with your partner, friends or family, where a stop for refreshments and chat will not just make your mood fresh but also you will get “quality time” to spend with your loved ones.
Do not choose a busy track but go in a soothing and calm place where you can enjoy the ride and admire the nature. People aging anything between 12 and 70+ can offer leisure cycling enthusiasm and enjoyable experience. This is for both beginner cyclists and established riders.
“Nothing compares to the simple pleasure of riding a bike.” – quoted by John F Kennedy
Road cycling is a little different from leisure cycling as here you have to drive on busy roads as well here a relaxed chat is not possible. You have to be active and focused enough to notice the traffic that s coming behind you. A road cycling will be beneficial to your health. It also helps in the pollution control. If you ride a cycle to school or office, you need not worry about your health or joining a gym.
“When man invented the bicycle he reached the peak of his attainments.” – quoted by Elizabeth West
If you get wooed by looking at the pro cyclist in a race and thought that they were born with the wiry calves, think again. You can be an essential part of them by learning some basic techniques, taking a professional course and of course, a lot of hard work is always required. Expert reviews from bike mechanics, cycling coaches, top racers, and experts can help you to improve your ride.
Tips to go into Pro Cycling
Whether you are trying to make it big by entering into professional racing or just guessing when and how of this arena, we here are presenting some useful tips for you. Let’s go through these points one by one:
1. Stay cool and energetic
Do not panic by thinking about the destination, just follow the road and enjoy the journey. “Keep calm and learn cycling” should be your motto for starting few days.
2. Take a break
Take some short breaks while riding a bicycle. Either eats something or enjoy the weather but give you some time to recollect its energy to go further.
3. Congratulate yourself on a small victory
Do not expect too much the sky on the very first week of your struggle. Set small goals and do not forget to congratulate yourself on accomplishing small goals. It will boost up your confidence and motivate you to go further. Remember “Motivation is the key to success.”
4. Stop worrying about brake failure or tire changing
Keep in mind that no one is going to help you out in a remote place, if your bicycle is giving trouble. Learn some basic service methods for your cycles which include tire change, brake testing and more. You can learn these simple methods through a mechanic or online mode as YouTube, Google and more.
5. Do not ignore Saddle Height
If your saddle height is not correct according to you, you can find it difficult to ride a cycle. You can adjust it according to it you for your comfort. There are some indications that can help you predict the problem with your saddle height such as pain in knees indicates low saddle height whereas in the case of back pain it’s the opposite.
6. Drink & Drive (Water)
Never ever ignore the need of water while cycling. Remember that it is as important as winning the race or a goal. Drink a plenty of water in between your rides. It will save you from dehydration and gives extra energy to reach through destination, but do not get distracted if you are drinking and driving at the same time.
7. Change gears like a boss
Gear changing is one of the important aspects that you need to keep in mind. Predict the need of change before and prepare yourself to switch the gear.
“Life is like a 10-speed bicycle. Most of us have gears we never use.” – quoted by Charles Schultz, creator of the Peanuts comic strip
8. Be Confident
Do not be strict and harsh on yourself. Behave like a cool dude and then ride.
9. Health is wealth
Keep your diet proper and eat hygienic food. Do not skip your breakfast and add nutritious diet in your daily diet.
10. Say “Hello” to your bike before you go
Check your cycle before you go. Look at the wheels, tire pressure, brakes, handle, and saddle height like important parameters. Lubricate the chain (not too much) before starting your journey.
EVENTS and Highlights
Pro Cycling is a bicycle road race organized by the USA that started in Colorado in the year 2011. Richard E. Schaden, the founder of Quiznos (also the co-chairman of the event), invested the initial amount of almost $10 million in making sure the success and permanence of the race. This Cycling Challenge is considered as one of most popular and important pro cycling races in the U.S.
“It never gets easier; you just go faster.” – quoted by Greg LeMond
The first event took place between in 2011, which included cycling 16 teams of 135 riders. Bike Riders toured 518 miles and climbed 36 during the 7 consecutive days of competition.
The 25 hours of telecasted was aired on NBC Sports Network and Versus. More than one million people watched it worldwide. The race was won by Americans. United States players Levi Leipheimer of United States, Christian Vande Velde, Tejay van Garderen, and Tejay van Garderen won the crown of the winner with prize four times in a row until an Australian Rider Rohan Dennis beat them the fifth time in 2015.
USA PRO CYCLING RACE WON’T HAPPEN IN 2016
It was confirmed by the Organizers of the USA Pro Challenge in Feb 2016 that the event will not happen this year. CEO Shawn Hunter said in a written statement that it will aim to re-start in the year 2017. The reasons for the same are found to be the lack of financial investment as the Schaden family quit providing financial support for the tournament.
“Crashing is part of cycling as crying is part of love.” – quoted by Johan Museeuw
How to start it as a professional career?
Do you see yourself as a professional cycle racer? Do you want to opt cycling as a career option and confused what to do next? Then, this article is for you.
Hire a coach and don’t lose hope?
If you are done with the basic cycling and your amazing racing skills, stun your mates, and you want to take it to the professional level, hire a coach for technical practicing. This is important because a coach knows the know-how of the domain. They can train you accordingly, and you will come to know about your strengths and weaknesses.
Join some development programs
If you are young and dedicated towards taking your dream to the next level, then join some YDP or some group of the people of same thinkers.
In the USA, one of the most trustworthy institutions is USA Cycling Development Program, who is responsible for grooming youth cyclists.
You can get admission at the age of 13 14 to enhance your skills in any of the development programs. It will help you to be on the track and achieve your goals in more determined manner. .
If you have got the spark in you, you can further go to national development programs and race under-16 group. With the increase in age, the training gets harder for the kids they are selected to participate in the Pro cycling race. But till this time, riders earn a lot of tactics, technical points, riding skills which they will need in the racing.
“The bicycle is a curious vehicle. Its passenger is its engine.” – quoted by John Howard
Time Required to Become a Pro Rider
As the training becomes intense with time and needs special skills to be learned, it will take almost 6-7 years to become a Pro rider from being a Rider.
Scope of pro cycling
Pro cyclists are famous in the USA, but if you are thinking to learn a lot through this, then you might get disappointed a little.
Some amazing facts about cycling
- Chief Dietician at St George’s Hospital in London said, “Moderate exercise makes immune cells more active, so they’re ready to ﬁght off ”
- One study found that those who exercised at a moderate level for at least half an hour a day reduced their chance to develop cancer by 50 % as those who didn’t.
- One more study claimed that almost 25 minutes of exercise such as cycling can boost up at least one measure of imaginative thinking.
- Maintaining a cycle annually almost costs 20 times less than maintaining a car.
- The smallest adult bicycle produced had wheels made from silver money (dollars).
- In Japan, Tsugunobu Mitsubishi set a slow cycling record in 1965 by staying stationary for 5 hours, 25 minutes.
- American Olympic Cyclist and Ironman triathlon competitor John Howard reached 152.2 mph in 1985 setting the fastest speed record.
- There are roughly 1 billion bicycles in this world more than double as many as motor vehicles.
- With the capacity of seating 35 people, the longest “tandem” bike was produced and was about 20 meters long.
- In the place of one car parking, you can park about 15 bicycles.
- There are about 1 million cars produced every year in this world.
- In the USA, people like to choose bikes for one out of every 100 trips.
We know that sometimes cyclists need more encouragement and motivation to remember to have fun because the world is becoming full of motor vehicles day by day. But this is also true that cycling is one of still the most exhilarating sports.
Our Say – The Final Verdict
Cycling has huge health and professionals benefits. If you do not want to become a professional, then you can ride it just for fun. Above all, when adverse effects of global warming are increasing, we should encourage cycling to make earth an ideal place live in.
“Plant more trees, do not waste water and go for cycling” should be our new motto. Do you like riding a bicycle and if not till now, would you like to give it a try now? Let us know in the comments below.
Bjarne Riis, 1996 Tour de France Winner – “Suffer. Sacrifice.”