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Cycling vs Running – What’s the Best Way to Get Fit?

· Articles, Beginners, Blog

runningAs an avid cycler and lover of all-things fitness, I often get asked the same question time and time again: is cycling the best way to get fit, or is running the better option? The answer isn’t as black and white as you – or I – would like. In my own experience, I’ve found benefits and drawbacks to both.

The Benefits of Cycling Over Running

When it comes to getting fit, cycling has quite a few benefits over running.

  • Faster results. Want to get fit faster? Jump on a bike. Cycling is low impact, so you can keep going for longer. But running leads to muscle fatigue and soreness quickly. I don’t know about you, but I have a much easier time cycling for six miles than I do running for six miles.
  • Muscle growth. Let’s face it – you’re not going to build muscle running. I’ve tried it – and so have countless other people. Even with hill training, the strain is spread throughout the entire body. But with cycling, all of your power is generated by your quads, hamstrings and glutes. You’re working your legs, and you’ll see gains after cycling consistently.
  • Fewer injuries. I don’t mind working hard to get fit, but not at the expensive of my health. That’s why I love cycling. The risk of injuring yourself is minimal – especially if you’re using a stationary bike. But even for avid cyclists like me, the risk is still low – as in 6 injures per 1,000 hours on average. And it’s easier on the joints. As for running? Eleven injuries per 1,000 hours is the norm.
  • It’s something you can do forever. Cycling is an activity you can do for the rest of your life – even in old age. It’s easy on the joints, the risk of injury is low and you can move as slow or as fast as you want.
  • Cycling is a mode of transportation. When you’re trying to get fit, it can be hard to squeeze in that time during the day to exercise. But if you bike to and from work or the store, you’ll get your workout in without even realizing it. Running to work is impractical – unless your boss is okay with you wearing sweaty clothes all day.

Cycling is a great way to get fit – and it’s fun too. But there are some drawbacks to consider too.

The Drawbacks

Running does have a few advantages over cycling when it comes to getting fit. Some drawbacks to consider are:

  • Fewer calories burned. If your primary goal is to burn the most calories possible, running is the obvious choice. That being said, there are many variables that affect the number of calories burned. Jogging at a light pace on flat terrain might not burn as many calories as cycling at a moderate pace uphill. The number of calories burned will depend on how much effort you put in and how challenging the terrain is. But under the same conditions and at the same pace, running generally burns more calories.
  • Running is cheap. You can buy some good running shoes and you are good to go, this is obviously not the case with cycling. Good road bikes can set you back at least $1000. However during winter months, when weather is not suitable for running or cycling there are treadmills and exercise bikes that will keep you busy. However after reading a few treadmill reviews it seems like exercise bikes are cheaper and better on the knee joints than the cheap treadmills.

Call me biased, but I think cycling is a better way to get fit than running. It’s easier on the joints, helps you build stamina and gives you a great cardiovascular workout.

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New UK Active People Survey Shows Cycling is On the Rise

· Beginners, Blog

cyclingCycling is on the rise in the UK, but swimming, the nation’s most popular sport, is on the decline according to the latest Active People Survey.

More than two million people over the age of 16 cycle at least once a week in England. That’s 66,000 more people than in October 2013. The data comes from Sport England’s most recent Active People Survey, which also shows that the nation’s top sport, swimming, is on the decline.

Two million people may be cycling today, but in 2005, just 1.6 million people participated in this sport in a week. Over the last decade, nearly 400,000 more people have taken up this sport.

To qualify, participants must have engaged in the sport at moderate intensity for at least 30 minutes or more once per week. For cycling, this includes competitive and recreational, which means commuters who cycle to work are not included in the survey results.

Cycling is undoubtedly on the rise in England. So much so that the Department for Transport has plans to double cycling by 2025 and hopes to secure more funding for cycle schemes across the country. The goal is not only reduce congestion and pollution on England’s roads, but to also improve the health and wellbeing of its citizens.

Funding for cycling has steadily increased over the years. Currently, the country spends about £5 per person per year on cycling. Ultimately, the department hopes to increase that funding to £10 per person by 2020.

cycle raceBritish Cycling was also welcoming of the news of cycling’s increased participation levels. CEO Ian Drank says that the appetite for cycling in England is greater than ever before. He says more people are riding every week no matter the weather. British Cycling will now focus on helping the sport grow. The organization has forged new partnerships with transport authorities, councils and the private sector.

The future of cycling sure looks bright, but the same can’t be said for other sports surveyed by Sport England.

While the number of people participating in weekly athletics has risen from 1.4 million in 2005 to 2.2 million in 2014, there’s been a decline in the number of people participating in sport between 2013 and 2014. According to the survey, 125,100 fewer people took part in sport last year.

Swimming took the biggest hit. Exercise, movement and dance also lagged behind. Other sports to see a decline are squash and racketball, basketball and rugby.

Swimming still leads as the most popular sport, but cycling may surpass it in the near future. In 2005-2006, there were 3,273,800 (or 8.04%) people swimming once per week. In 2013-2014, that number dipped down to 2,689,200 (or 6.16%).  With 245,000 fewer people participating in the sport since last year, the sport may see a decrease in funding from Sport England. Funding has been cut in the past for other sports that were in decline.

Athletics and football both saw an increase in participants. However, the number of people playing football is still on the decline. In 2005-2006, there were roughly 2 million people playing the sport, but by 2013-2014, that number had dropped to 1,894,400 participants. No changes were reported for other popular sports, such as tennis, golf, badminton and equestrian.

As of 2014, cycling ranks as the third most popular sport according to the survey. Athletics comes in at a close second (2,161,600), and that sport has seen an increase as well over the last year.

The latest Active People survey shows an encouraging shift in the number of people engaging in sport. In December 2013, the survey showed a distressing decrease in the number of people playing sport.

Our advice for anyone looking to get involved in cycling is to find yourself a cheap beginners bike and just start riding in your local area. For anyone who doesn’t want to brave the British winter but still wants to keep fit, just find some exercise bike reviews and see which will suit your needs, then enjoy practising for the real thing when the weather improves.

 

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Taking a closer look at the Tour de France

· History, Travel

Going back to the roots

Back in the year 1903, Tour de France was just an act of publicity in the newspaper. It has become a tool for businessmen to promote their products, cycling gears such as bikes, shoes, tires, and even telephones.

tour de france

These were the eager sponsors who wanted to take advantage of this event to increase their business sales. In addition, the bicycle race was also in its vision to increase the paper sales of a daily sports magazine known as the L’Auto.

The original plan of the first Tour de France consists of five stages that will start on May 31 to July 5. The race will begin in Paris going to Lyon, Marseille, Bordeaux, and Nantes and then back to the origin. Henri Desgrange, the editor of the L’Auto magazine discarded the original plan.

He cut the time frame down to nineteen days, which will begin on the first of July and he offered financial assistance to riders who can average of at least 20 kilometers per hour on all different stages. The registration fee was only 10 francs from the original plan of 20 so that more and more people will be attracted to join the event. The first prize is worth 12000 francs and winners for each stage will receive 3000 francs, which is actually a huge amount of money back then.

On July 1 of the year 1903, there were sixty men who rode on their bikes outside of the Café au Reveil Matin that is located in Montgeron. Of the sixty men who participated, most of them were French. There were few contestants who were Belgians, Germans, Italians, and Swiss. Some participants were really professional in the world of bicycling while others are just there for the sake of sports. Those professionals were even supported by famous bicycle manufacturers at that time.

After the long race was over, Maurice Garin was the first in history to win Tour de France. With an average speed of 25 kilometers per hour, he beat all of the other contenders and won a total of 6,075 francs.

Interesting facts about the Tour

Although 2013 was the centennial celebration of the Tour, it is actually 110 years that year since the Tour did not operate during the World War. The fastest average speed at 25.8 miles per hour recorded was in the year 2005, which almost doubled the record in the year 1919 at 15 miles per hour. As the years went by, the Tour has actually become greater than what it started. Because more and more people are becoming aware of this event through the years, different nationalities outside Europe were able to participate in this event.

It has also provided campaign for people with heart problems. Representing the United States, Lance Armstrong won the Tour for seven times and he was able to come back after fighting cancer. Participating in cycling events is encouraged among women because it gives them health benefits and it promotes a more active lifestyle to them.

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Hybrid and Electric bikes – a better cycling experience

· Articles, Beginners, Blog

Bicycles today are actually manufactured depending on the road condition and driving application. There are bicycles made for city road purposes, for touring, and for mountain trekking. What makes the Hybrid Bikes totally new and different is that they are a combination of those specialized bicycles. You get to have a bicycle that can work for both road and mountain conditions, which is clearly of advantage especially if you are fond of cycling.

hybrid bike

The anatomy of the hybrid generation

Hybrid Bikes have an upright seating posture and frame just like a mountain bicycle. This is a great feature for beginner cyclists because it is guaranteed to be comfortable. The upright sitting position allows you to maintain a good posture while cycling. Back and neck pain is avoided using this type of bicycle. Some hybrid frames will tell you that they are “cro-moly,” which means that they are made of lightweight aluminum steel. The material is a good choice because it is relatively cheaper than other frame materials and this is guaranteed strong and durable as well.

The handlebars are flat, which is greatly similar to mountain bicycles. It also has a wider grip that is perfect for correct positioning and leveled vision. Gearing is of wide range, which is great for the rider when climbing hilly tops or going on a steep and down road. The pedals are platform and some riders can also choose to have the toe clips to secure the positioning of your feet to the pedals.

All in all, the hybrid bicycle has more similarities with mountain bicycles than the road ones because the taller frame is of greater advantage. In addition, you go easy and fast along a flat surface because of its lightweight bicycle frame. A lightweight frame means that you can easily maneuver your very own bicycle considering various road conditions.

The increasing interest with electric bicycles

Called as booster bike or an e-bike, electric bicycles are high-powered types because they can travel 25 to 32 kilometers per hour. Depending on the country of origin and its manufacturer, these electric bicycles vary in gears and parts but all have an integrated electric motor to help the pedals speed up more to conquer faster distances. It is popular worldwide because it is faster compared to the conventional types and they are more eco-friendly than those powered by fuel. They can be rechargeable, which is very convenient on the part of the consumer.

How to choose the best among other Hybrid Bikes

When you are finally considering having your very own hybrid bicycle, all you have to do is to select the model or design that you want to have and make sure to read plenty of hybrid bike reviews. You can always go to the nearest store that sells bicycles and related parts or you can visit some display shops to have more options. Another thing, you should also consider your budget. Do not limit yourself to the cheapest choice. Make sure that you buy a bicycle that will last longer and totally worth the price.

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Top 3 cities around the world for cyclists

· Travel

Cycling is a fun thing to do especially for people who want to wander around the city or just around their neighborhood. For some, they use their bicycle as their mode of transportation while others treat cycling as their hobby. Whatever is your purpose, it is important to know where you can have your bicycle ride safely. Some places may be very busy, which makes it unfriendly for cyclists. Because of this fact, knowing the cities safe for cyclists is a must.

copenhagen

Top 3 cities in Europe for cyclists

  • Amsterdam, Netherlands

Probably owning the title of being the most famous cycling city worldwide, Amsterdam accounts 32% for trips made using bicycles beating car usage at only 22%. The local government of Amsterdam is actually planning to provide more facilities for bike parking.

  • Budapest, Hungary

The fellowmen of Budapest are leaders in organizing events for promoting awareness on the benefits of bicycling as effective transportation alternative. They are also conducting annual bike ride event, which coincides with the celebration of Earth Day.

  • Copenhagen, Denmark

Copenhagen is this year’s European Green City, which is attributed to 50% of their population using bicycles as their mode of transportation. The current target of the city is to make their CO2 levels neutral by year 2025.

Top 3 cities in the United States for cyclists

  • Jackson Hole, Wyoming

For bikers who are always on the go for the road, Jackson Hole Community Pathway is the best area to wander around. The entire pathway will lead you around the area going to Jenny Lake. Their mountain resort is also a great place for road bikers.

  • Minneapolis, Minnesota

Minneapolis never gets out of the list of cyclist-friendly cities in the United States because of their 92-mile bikeway situated beside the street. They also have 85 miles of off street bikeways that you can enjoy.

  • Tucson, Arizona

For riders who want to have a great view of the Sonoran Desert and nearby mountain ranges, Tucson is the place to be. If you want to socialize and keep up with other riders, you can always participate in their bicycle events that they organize annually.

Top 3 cities in Asia for cyclists

  • Beijing, China

Chinese people are also known for their simple yet healthy lifestyle, which makes the city of Beijing friendly for commuters who use bicycles as their mode of transportation. Aside that it promotes physical wellness, it contributes a greater part to their lifestyle.

  • Kaohsiung, Taiwan

Known as the most cyclist-friendly city in Taiwan, Kaohsiung local government has provided an additional of 150-kilometer bike lanes all for the benefit of Taiwanese cyclists. Kaohsiung is also the first to provide bike rental services for people.

  • Kyoto, Japan

If you are going to observe, people in Kyoto actually ride on bikes whether they are businessmen or just ordinary people. The popularity of using bicycles here in Kyoto is actually attributed to its topography. The traffic is tolerable so it is not a problem to use bicycles as your mode of transportation at all.

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