Category Archives: bicycle riding

May is National Bicycle Month – The Joys and Benefits of Bike Riding

There will be lots of celebrations of the bicycle in the coming four weeks because May is National Bicycle Month. As regular readers know, I ride more than 100 miles a week here in Chicago, all year ’round. So cycling is a labor of love for me.

I have tried to explain to myself first, as well as others, why I love to ride my bike. Until recently, the best I could come up with is that I feel like I am flying. Not soaring high, just flying along several feet above the bike path.

Riding on Northerly Island in Chicago

Riding on Northerly Island in Chicago

I know that when I ride, I am at once totally in the moment of propelling the bike forward and at the same time I experience a very enjoyable feeling of expansion – an almost out of body sensation.

This has been wonderfully explained by former University of Chicago professor, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi in his book Flow. Continue reading

7 Comments

Filed under bicycle riding, Exercise, exercise benefits, Flow, National Bicycle Month

Fitness over 50: Overcoming a sedentary lifestyle – Harvard

I remember 20 years ago when I was in the working world, I definitely lived a sedentary lifestyle. Long hours at the office, a child at home and all the aspects of family life made it difficult for me to exercise a lot. Vedging out in the evening in front of the TV proved a welcome relief from daily demands. In addition, my motivation was elsewhere. Now that I am retired that has all changed, but I understand if you may be where I was back then.

btd2-12

Here I am riding with Gabi. Cycling is a super form of exercise for both mind and body.

Blame it on a job change, a chronic health issue, or simply a loss of motivation: whatever took you away from your regular exercise routine has led to a sedentary lifestyle. But don’t assume you can jump back into the same exercise regimen you followed when you were younger. “Your body has aged, and things have changed,” says Dr. Clare Safran-Norton, clinical supervisor of rehabilitation services at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

What’s different

Age-related physical changes aren’t always obvious. “We lose muscle mass and strength as we get older, and the muscles become less flexible and less hydrated,” says Dr. Safran-Norton. Arthritis weakens joints. And vision changes, neurological disease, joint pain, or problems inside the ear can throw off your balance. Continue reading

21 Comments

Filed under aging, bicycle riding, cycling, fitness, fitness facts, men's fitness, successful aging, walking, women's fitness

Solar-powered cycling paths and more coming … Harvard

As a daily bike rider here in Chicago, I was thrilled to learn of the advancements for cyclists overseas reported by Harvard.

Solar-powered bike paths that can melt snow and ice; pollution-eating vacuum towers near bicycle paths; bicycle parking stations with lockers, rest rooms, and showers; and bicycle wheels with rechargeable batteries that help propel riders up hills are just a few of the 70 innovations—some already in place, others still on the drawing board—outlined in a new compilation of inventive ideas aimed at encouraging people to bike. “Promoting Bicycling Through Creative Design: Innovations for Bicycles and Cycling Facilities” was compiled by Anne Lusk,  research scientist in the Department of Nutrition, in partnership with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the League of American Bicyclists, with support from the Helen and William Mazer Foundation.

bike-escalator-lift-in-norway.jpg

Bike escalator in Norway

In a podcast, Lusk talks about ways to make biking safer and easier.

“The hope is that these innovations will move the needle faster in getting people to take up cycling,” said Lusk. There are lots of good reasons for doing so, she said, noting that bicycling is good for people’s health and good for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. It may also boost local economies, she said. She cited a 2010 study of a retail area in Melbourne, Australia that found that $31 was generated per hour for each square meter of parking allotted to bikes compared with $6 for similar space allotted to cars—because bikes take up so much less space than cars, thus allowing for more shoppers in the area. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under bicycle riding, biking

Einstein on His Bicycle

As bicycle riding season seems to be coming into bloom, I thought you might enjoy this ….

Tony

Willing Wheeling

I have this poster three feet high framed in my living room. I absolutely love it. Einstein looks like he is having the kind of enjoyment that a child gets out of riding a bike. I feel good every time I look at it. That is also exactly how I feel when riding my bicycle.

Joy in motion

I found the following quotes on the Argonauts website.

I thought of that while riding my bicycle – Albert Einstein on The Theory of Relativity

Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving ~ Albert Einstein

Whenever I see an adult on a bicycle, I have hope for the human race. ~ H.G. Wells

Cycle tracks will abound in Utopia. ~ H.G. Wells

When the spirits are low, when the day appears dark, when work becomes monotonous, when hope hardly seems worth having, just mount…

View original post 111 more words

4 Comments

Filed under bicycle riding

The Ultimate Guide to Biking – Infographic

Must confess my bias here. I ride so I love this infographic and wanted to share it with you.

If you also ride, you may also dig it. If you aren’t a rider, perhaps it will pique your interest.

The-Ultimate-Guide-to-Biking-Cycling

Ride on!

Tony

1 Comment

Filed under bicycle riding

What are the Health Benefits of Walking and Bicycle Riding?

Regular readers know I ride my bike regularly and I also consider walking to be one of the finest exercises. It is nice to see this documentation from the People Powered movement.

I have written about the health benefits of walking and bicycle riding previously. Regular readers know that I rode my bike over 6000 miles last year. To read further, check out the following posts: Seniors walking, walking in general, bicycle riding. I consider walking to be the Cinderella of the exercise world, totally unappreciated.

The People Powered Movement has issued a benchmark report on some fascinating aspects of walking and bicycling.

Public Health Benefits

• Bicycling and walking levels fell 66% between 1960 and 2009, while obesity levels increased by 156%.
• Between 1966 and 2009, the number of children who bicycled or walked to school fell 75%, while the percentage of obese children rose 276%.
• In general, states with the highest levels of bicycling and walking have the lowest levels of obesity, hypertension (high blood pressure), and diabetes and have the greatest percentage of adults who meet the recommended 30-plus minutes per day of physical activity.

We could easily leave the car and walk on many errands, according to the report.

Tony Licata (cq), of Chicago, and his pet poodle Gabi make circuits of the Northery Island bike path Monday, Sept. 21, 2009. (Michael Tercha/Chicago Tribune)

My dog and me in Chicago out on a bike ride.

• In 2009, 40% of trips in the United States were shorter than 2 miles, yet Americans use their cars for 87% of trips 1 to 2 miles. Some 27% of trips are shorter than 1 mile, yet 62% of trips up to 1 mile long are by car. Residents of the largest U.S. cities are 1.7 times more likely to walk or bicycle to work than the national average.
• 12% of all trips are by bicycle (1.0%) or foot (10.5%).
• From 2000 to 2009, the number of commuters who bicycle to work increased by 57%.

Some folks say they won’t ride a bike because it is not safe. But the study indicated otherwise.

Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety
•14% of all traffic fatalities in the U.S. are bicyclists (1.8%) or pedestrians (11.7%).
• In the 51 largest U.S. cities, 12.7% of trips are by foot and 1.1% are by bicycle, yet 26.9% of traffic fatalities are pedestrians and 3.1% are bicyclists.
• Seniors are the most vulnerable bicyclists and pedestrians. Adults over 65 make up 10% of walking trips, yet comprise 19% of pedestrian fatalities and make up 6% of bicycling trips, yet account for and 10% of bicyclist fatalities. As a senior citizen who rides his bike almost daily, this bullet point was not fun for me to learn. I do believe that wearing a helmet and biking gloves would reduce those numbers.

3972e700ca84f01348e68d3840717600

I love this Mark Twain quote.

Please do consider walking more often and/or taking up bicycle riding. Each is a wonderful, very inexpensive way to get that much-needed daily exercise.

Tony

4 Comments

Filed under bicycle riding, biking, walking

How Healthy is Exercise for Seniors? – Tufts

Older people who are highly fit, such as recreational cyclists, are physiologically more similar to young people than to more sedentary seniors. That’s the conclusion of a new British study that sought to explore the effect of physical activity on key indicators of aging. As one scientist put it, “Being physically active makes your body function on the inside more like a young person’s.” So reports Tufts Health & Nutrition Letter.

Must confess I feel very gratified reading these words as they confirm most of what I have written in this blog for the past five-plus years.

bikingpictures07 copy

My dog Gabi and me riding on Northerly Island on Chicago’s lakefront in a past summer.

Published in The Journal of Physiology, the study recruited 85 men and 41 women, ages 55 to 79, who were serious recreational cyclists. Participants were put through a battery of physical and cognitive tests, with results compared against standard benchmarks of normal aging. On most of the tests, the highly fit cyclists performed more like young adults. Even participants in their 70s scored decades “younger” in metabolic health, balance, memory and reflexes. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under aging, bicycle riding, Exercise

What are the Health Benefits of Walking and Bicycle Riding?

Regular readers know I ride my bike regularly and I also consider walking to be one of the finest exercises. It is nice to see this documentation from the People Powered movement.

I have written about the health benefits of walking and bicycle riding previously. Regular readers know that I rode my bike over 6000 miles last year. To read further, check out the following posts: Seniors walking, walking in general, bicycle riding. I consider walking to be the Cinderella of the exercise world, totally unappreciated.

The People Powered Movement has issued a benchmark report on some fascinating aspects of walking and bicycling.

Public Health Benefits

• Bicycling and walking levels fell 66% between 1960 and 2009, while obesity levels increased by 156%.
• Between 1966 and 2009, the number of children who bicycled or walked to school fell 75%, while the percentage of obese children rose 276%.
• In general, states with the highest levels of bicycling and walking have the lowest levels of obesity, hypertension (high blood pressure), and diabetes and have the greatest percentage of adults who meet the recommended 30-plus minutes per day of physical activity.

We could easily leave the car and walk on many errands, according to the report.

Tony Licata (cq), of Chicago, and his pet poodle Gabi make circuits of the Northery Island bike path Monday, Sept. 21, 2009. (Michael Tercha/Chicago Tribune)

My dog and me in Chicago out on a bike ride.

• In 2009, 40% of trips in the United States were shorter than 2 miles, yet Americans use their cars for 87% of trips 1 to 2 miles. Some 27% of trips are shorter than 1 mile, yet 62% of trips up to 1 mile long are by car. Residents of the largest U.S. cities are 1.7 times more likely to walk or bicycle to work than the national average.
• 12% of all trips are by bicycle (1.0%) or foot (10.5%).
• From 2000 to 2009, the number of commuters who bicycle to work increased by 57%.

Some folks say they won’t ride a bike because it is not safe. But the study indicated otherwise.

Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety
•14% of all traffic fatalities in the U.S. are bicyclists (1.8%) or pedestrians (11.7%).
• In the 51 largest U.S. cities, 12.7% of trips are by foot and 1.1% are by bicycle, yet 26.9% of traffic fatalities are pedestrians and 3.1% are bicyclists.
• Seniors are the most vulnerable bicyclists and pedestrians. Adults over 65 make up 10% of walking trips, yet comprise 19% of pedestrian fatalities and make up 6% of bicycling trips, yet account for and 10% of bicyclist fatalities. As a senior citizen who rides his bike almost daily, this bullet point was not fun for me to learn. I do believe that wearing a helmet and biking gloves would reduce those numbers.

3972e700ca84f01348e68d3840717600

I love this Mark Twain quote.

For fun, and because I love Mark Twain, I have to include his wonderful quote: “Get a bicycle. You will not regret it, if you live.”

Please do consider walking more often and/or taking up bicycle riding. Each is a wonderful, very inexpensive way to get that much-needed daily exercise.

Tony

Leave a comment

Filed under bicycle riding, walking