Health Benefits of Cycling
The health benefits of regular cardiovascular exercise are well known. The Department of Health and Human Services recommends 150 minutes of moderate intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity exercise per week as a minimum. A 2001 study found that moderate exercise and increased knee usage was not associated with increased knee arthritis later in life. In cases of current knee arthritis, low-impact exercise including quadriceps strengthening is typically recommended. Cycling is an excellent low-impact form of cardiovascular exercise, that when performed properly, can place very low stress on joint surfaces.
Group Cycling Safety Tips
- Be Predictable: Follow the same rules of the road as any vehicle – stop at stop signs, stay on the right side of the road, go with traffic, yield to the right at unmarked intersections. Don’t pass others on the right if you can help it.
- Don’t Overlap Wheels: This means staying completely behind the person in front of you. The person in front may move sideways and make contact with your wheel. If you happen to touch your front wheel with another cyclist’s rear wheel, YOU will crash and most likely cause those behind you to do the same.
- Be Steady: Ride a consistent speed, ride as straight a line as possible, and maintain this line. Do not brake too quickly while riding with a group, as those behind may not be able to react in time.
- Communicate All Road Hazards: If you see anything in the road that you would avoid, let others know by calling out the hazard or point if you can easily control your bike. Let others know when you are approaching an intersection or any significant change in your course. If you hear a hazard being called from the front, pass it on. Announce oncoming traffic from the rear by saying “car back.” If you hear these warnings, then call it forward. Don’t assume someone else will.
- Signal: This way everyone knows what you are intending to do. Vocalize your intentions to the group – “right turn ahead.”
- Climb with Steady Speed: Try to stay consistent with your cadence. Be careful standing, as this will cause an abrupt slowing of your speed and this creates havoc with those behind you.
- Going Down Hills: Increase your distance between yourself and other riders. Keep pedaling to keep your legs from getting stiff and to help maintain your spacing.