An activity that is present in my life and that of family is bicycle riding. I go touring out on bicycle adventures with my lil dude and whether we have a pre planned route or are engaging in an exploratory freestyle tour, our adventure bike rides have garnered us some of our most memorable moments to date.
Bicycles – the Locomotive of Choice
I visited an exhibition of Leonardo Da Vinci’s sketchbooks on display and they were magnificently beautiful to absorb. He had sketches of bicycles that date back to the 1400’s but some written records show that the first chain driven model of the bicycle wasn’t actually concretely developed until the late 1800’s. No one can really know what transpired in history, unless of course, they were there to witness and document it, so I will just go with what I would deem an accurate fact, and that is that bicycles have been around for a really long time. At least 200 years. That’s a pretty long stretch and being a bicycle owner and rider, I can easily see why.
Not only are these machines used for recreation, commuter transport and competitive events but are also implemented in many professions ranging from courier mail delivery services to the police force, and even the military. As the years have progressed, so have the designs and evolution of the bicycle. Nowadays we live in such an advanced technological world that the majority of us take for granted what it would have been like before such an invention was available that would provide such great convenience and more importantly, freedom to anyone without a horse and carriage.
The numbers of bicycles that have been produced exceed the millions and into the billions. It is a super economical and healthy way to get from one point to another. I drove down to Mexico from Vancouver, Canada and witnessed people on bicycle trips going from one country to another. I am not that hardcore a bicycle fan, but it is proof positive that whatever your level of commitment to physical activity, the bicycle is a viable, easy and solid way to locomote.
From Toddlers to the Elderly It’s All Good
When I was little, I had the coolest pink bmx bike with streamers. My dad had to put training wheels on that little disco beast while I was learning to ride and eventually as I mastered riding and grew older, I outgrew my dirt bike and was kindly given a speed bike. Some of my most defining moments in my younger life that speak to my fortitude of self were developed through my experiences on my adventure bike rides with friends. Broken chains, courageous jumps, wipe outs, flat tires, doubling a friend home from school – all of these experiences remain a part of my growth.
When I became a Mum myself, I learned of the pedalless bikes that you can get for your kids that kind of circumvent the whole needing training wheels thing because it teaches your child balance. We had our little dude on a pedalless bike as early as 18 months old. He stood at 9 months and was full on walking at 11 months. We were living in the South of Mexico at the time and not many kids were touring around on bicycles independently. We actually had to put a “do not touch me” sign in Spanish on his helmet because so many locals just wanted to adoringly touch his head. I can totally understand the appeal of a lil ginger guy but he did not respond well to the grabby hands so we fashioned a sign with cardboard and duct tape. (On a side note, I feel like duct tape can do anything.) My lil guy and I would tour out, me on my bike and him on his little one. I had an oldschool bike seat for kids on the back of my bike so being little, he ran out of steam, I could hang his bike on the front of my handle bars and he could chill in the baby seat on the way home.
My partner, the papa bear of our little guy invited his folks to visit us in the South of Mexico from Vancouver, Canada. They are originally from the Netherlands. Have you ever been to the Netherlands? I haven’t been all over that area of land, but I have been in some areas of it, and the spots I have experienced are designed specifically for bicycle travel. In fact, there are more bicycles than there are people which shows that bike riding is fully embraced in the social culture. I thought perhaps the heat and the maneuvering of bicycles on the local mexican roads would prove to be overwhelm for my dude’s folks who are well into their early 80’s, but no. These two have retained their childlike sense of wonder and enthusiasm and for a good duration of their stay, we were all touring around encompassing the bicycle explorers vibe and loving it!
If you are a toddler or a senior, the bicycle is a great option for recreation. A really great family activity to engage in.
Bicycle Route to Health
If you take a look at the content on this site, you will have gained the knowledge that I am an advocate for healthy living.The reason that I am is because I lived in such an unhealthy and disempowering state of mental and physical health for so long that now that I am on the flip side of that, i really feel like the hindsight of that life experience has shown me how profoundly fun and easy life can be, if we can commit to a mindset and intention of it being so. I, am, however, just one person, so don’t just take my word for it…let’s see what that trusty thing called science has to say about the health benefits of bicycle riding.
Riding a bicycle increases your body’s metabolism so if you need to shed some pounds in the amount of a little or alot, having a daily 30 minute bicycle adventure or even using the bike machine at the gym, can diminish the fat in your system by 5 kilos in a span of 365 days – one tour of the Sun. Go slow and steady and build up your endurance and soon your body will shift and you will be wondering who that larger person was before who didn’t like bike adventures.
Posture and Coordination
Learning to ride a bike takes a commitment to developing your balance and coordination. The cool thing about this investment, no matter your age, is once you learn, it is unlikely that you will unlearn it. If you are a little one then this activity is ideal for enhancing the developing journey of learning of ones body and how to use it properly. If you are older, then the low impact ease of bicycle riding is a great way to maintain your coordination and good posture which, if unattended, can
Anti-Depressant and Anxiety Reducer
When I read that bicycling can help resolve depression and anxiety, I didn’t really need to know the science behind that information for proof, as I have myself, experienced the unencumbered freedom and joy that booting down a hill at what seems like warp speed on a bicycle with the wind blowing in your hair can offer. It allows for you to exercise your body (the most underused anti-depressant there is in my opinion) and vary your perceptions as you are doing so which can prove to catapult you out of negative thought patterns and get you feeling inspired and eager to keep moving. Seeking out new experiences by taking adventure bike rides can and will lead to a healthier, happier and elevated state of mind and body
Muscle and Joint Power –
Getting moving on a bicycle proves to exercise all of the major muscle groups in your legs. The impact level of the activity has a broad range, so depending on your physical ability can be dialled in to your body’s specifications. If problems with your joints is a thing in your life, then bike riding can be done at a super low impact intensity level that proves easy on you that can gradually be increased to a higher impact intensity if that is your goal. Otherwise, it can prove to be a great method to maintain muscular strength and endurance. A good portion of us were gifted with two legs to make good use of. Let’s ensure we do, yes?
Respect Yourself & Protect Your Brain
Anyone who has been gifted the opportunity to create a human being knows that it is no small feat. There are so many factors to consider in terms of your mental and physical health when you are bringing a child into the world and to date, it has been one of the most rewarding, yet most challenging experiences of my entire life. As a parent and knowing the fortitude and energy it takes to not only to grow a child in your own body, but to then bring them into this world and care for them 24/7 it always confounds me why I see children riding around on bicycles, scooters, skateboards and tricycles without any helmets on. In my view, what was the point in doing all that work investing in the creation of a being only to have them go about on equipment without protecting their operating system – their sponge like and expanding neural network aka the formidable human brain.
Growing up, my parents always made me wear a helmet, and with good reason. The amount of injuries, hits and accidents I have endured having been an active child are too many to count. The ones I have sustained as a grown woman and having chosen to protect my head by wearing a secure fitting helmet have left me in situations where I am overwhelmed with gratitude for having done so. It is a very simple thing to do and yet has enormous benefit to your well being. Also, the kinds of styles and models available today in helmet gear is pretty awesome. Seems like a goodvibe all around!!
Be Easy About It All
If you have grown up without much influence of physical exercise or you never learned how to ride a bike when you were growing up, it’s all good! Getting outdoors to engage in physical activity for the betterment of your health is only difficult if you allow it to be with the way you think about it. I have witnessed so many people waste so much energy on reasons, explanations and excuses as to why they can’t get into physcal activity rather than just being easy about it and letting those goodvibes flow by releasing resistance to it. Our bodies were made to move and let me tell you, when you get your body moving as it was designed to do, it’s like a domino effect…you feel better, you have a better frame of mind, you look better, you have more energy…the list goes on. So be chill, be willing. There is fun to be had everywhere. Get into it.