Published on March 1st, 2014 | by Joe Starks0
Exercise Spotlight: Cycling
Cycling is a skill most of us learn as children. Most of us think of a childhood memory when they think of bicycles and yet in human history the mass creation of children’s bicycles began only after the First World War. It takes some balancing skill to learn how to ride a bicycle and some people are so daunted by the task that they never manage to learn. Bicycles are rather recent inventions, as they require materials and engineering that was almost impossible to create before the industrial age. In this article we’ll discuss the history of the bicycles, why people love them so much and all the benefits cycling will do for you.
A brief history of cycling
The “walking machine” is the first example of a device that really looks and works almost like a modern bicycle. The big difference is that the “walking machine” had no pedals and you actually pushed it along with your feet. This made it more of a walking aid than a real bicycle.
After the walking machine came to velocipede, which had the unfortunate effect that it was uncomfortable to ride because of the materials it was made of. The combination of wood and metal made it shaky and annoying to ride on cobblestone roads.
Then the iconic high wheel bicycle for men and the tricycle for women were created. The high wheel bicycle was not very popular because if you stopped abruptly you might land on your head very unceremoniously.
After that the modern bicycle begins to take its many shapes. Now it is exists in many varieties, from hardy mountain bikes, to speed bikes and city bikes.
How to train for cycling
Most of us learn cycling very young, between the ages of four and ten. This is actually a very beneficial training for our children, because it teaches them coordination and balance in a very basic and useful way. Skills like these give children self esteem and character. The ability to master a skill like cycling is precious for the child to remember as an achievement.
Even if you never cycled as a child you can still learn the skill as an adult. It is beneficial to start training your cycling skills on a stationary bike. Then you move on to a bike with added training wheels. Don’t be embarrassed to use these. You can get seriously injured if you try to cycle as an adult without any training.
As you get more comfortable with cycling you steadily move the training wheels a bit higher so that they don’t touch the ground, but still assist you if you lose your balance. Once you are confident in your cycling skill simply remove the training wheels for more maneuverability.
Remember never to reach speeds you can’t safely slow down from. Racing down hills can be extremely dangerous if there isn’t time and room to slow down.
Benefits of cycling
There are many benefits to cycling. This is why it is such a common sport and why so many people consider it more a tool than a sport in their life. Here are some of the most important benefits:
- You can get to places very fast. If things aren’t too far away from your home, cycling can replace your car for many rides. It is cheaper, healthier and more fun.
- It trains you smoothly. As long as you cycle safely, you actually don’t hurt your joints and muscles when cycling. It is a low impact sport
- It is very fun. You can see more of the world while cycling than if you was simply running or walking.
Remember that if you use your bicycle like a car, using streets, you should know the rules of driving a car safely first. You must know how to read road signs and how to stay safe. Don’t hinder cars and stay on the side of the road if there isn’t a special cycling pavement available. Follow streetlights and don’t hinder walkers. You can hurt someone very much if you simply cycle into them.
Cycling is an extremely fun and simple sport, loved worldwide. It is safe, it is ecologic and it is good for your health. If you do it responsibly you have nothing to fear from cycling.