Category Archives: safe biking

Your ticket to ride …

I am thrilled to report that today marks the 17th anniversary of my retirement. On October 2 of 2000, I bade the financial world adieu and started my life as a guy who didn’t have to get up for work. I got my first job at the age of 10 sweeping the floor of a dry cleaner and continued to work till I reached 60. Although my degree is in Finance, I went into the publishing world writing and editing. I liked markets, but always knew I would write. I wrote and practiced journalism for most of my career, spending 20 years working for Reuters covering markets and then teaching journalism at Medill for several years. Because I had written about markets for 30 years, my boss at a major philanthropy asked me if I would like to manage some money. So, I managed $900 million in bond investments for the final five years of my working life.

No mas. I thought I would celebrate with this biking post. When I was working I used to tell my friends at the office that when I retired I was going to ride my bike on the Chicago lakefront every day. They thought that was funny. I was never more serious.

You all know how I ride my bike nearly every day year ’round here in Chicago. I do it because I love it. Period. Everything else is gravy.

I am always excited to run across items like the ones below. They point to some of the fun I get cycling. If you aren’t doing it, or haven’t done it for a while, think about giving it a spin. You might find that flying across the pavement feels really nice. As you can see from the infographic below, there are some notable physical benefits, too. 

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Tony

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Filed under biking, cold weather biking, commuter biking, Exercise, exercise benefits, regular bike riding, safe biking

Bike commuting may extend your life – Study

Mark Twain famously said, “Get a bicycle. You will not regret it. If you live.”

Few people realize that he was talking about riding the penny farthing bicycle which had a huge front wheel and took some skill to master. If you want a fun read on his adventure, you can experience Mark Twain in the original – Taming the bicycle.

But I digressed. New research by the University of Glasgow and published in the BMJ, has found that cycling to work is associated with a 45% lower risk of developing cancer and a 46% lower risk of heart disease, compared to a non-active commute.

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Overall the study found that commuters who cycled were associated with a 41% lower risk of premature death.

Walking to work was associated with 27% lower risk of developing cardiovascular disease and a 36% lower risk of dying from cardiovascular disease, but not cancer or premature death overall.

This study analyzed data from 264,337 participants from UK Biobank who were asked questions about their usual mode of commuting to work and then followed up for 5 years. The new cases of cancer, heart attacks and deaths in that 5-year period were assessed and related to their mode of commuting.

The researchers believe that their findings suggest that policies designed to make it easier for people to commute by bike may present major opportunities for public health improvement.

Dr Jason Gill, from the Institute of Cardiovascular and Medical Sciences, said: “Cycling all or part of the way to work was associated with substantially lower risk of adverse health outcomes. Those who cycled the full length of their commute had an over 40% lower risk of heart disease, cancer and overall mortality over the 5 years of follow-up.

“If these associations are causal, these findings suggest that policies designed to make it easier for people to commute by bike, such as cycle lanes, city bike hire, subsidized cycle purchase schemes and increasing provision for cycles on public transport may present major opportunities for public health improvement.”

The greater benefits seen with cycling compared with walking may be because cycle commuters covered longer distances in their commutes than the walkers, the intensity of cycling is higher than walking and the cycle commuters had higher levels of fitness

Dr Carlos Celis-Morales, said: “Walking to work was associated with lower risk of heart disease, but unlike cycling was not associated with a significantly lower risk of cancer or overall death. This may be because walkers commuted shorter distances than cyclists – typically 6 miles per week, compared with 30 miles per week – and walking is generally a lower intensity of exercise than cycling.”

For the record, I consider walking to be the Cinderella of the exercise world – totally unappreciated. Check out my Page – Why you should walk more for additional details.

Tony

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Filed under bike commuting, biking, Exercise, exercise benefits, safe biking

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

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 around 7000 miles a year, an average of over 20 miles per day. So cycling is a labor of love for me.

I have tried to explain to myself first as well as others who asked, 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

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Filed under biking, cardio exercise, Exercise, exercise benefits, regular bike riding, safe biking, summer biking

Harvard on resuming bike riding

This seems particularly timely as I wrote about my own cycling – Riding a bike on Chicago’s Lakefront on Chicago’s Lakefront yesterday.

The Harvard Health Publications has a nice positive blog post on starting cycling again presumably as a senior.

Heidi Godman, Executive Editor of the Harvard Health Letter, states that she loved riding as a kid, but now only rides occasionally.

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“It’s fun, it’s socially oriented, and it gets you outside and exercising,” says Dr. Clare Safran-Norton, a physical therapist at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Plus, cycling is an aerobic activity, it’s easy on the joints, and it helps build muscle and bone. Continue reading

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Filed under aging, cardio exercise, cycling, regular bike riding, safe biking, Weight

The joy of cycling …

Just thought I would share some of these with you.

Maybe they will inspire you to get out there and pedal some. It couldn’t hurt.

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Yes, I went for a ride after I posted this.

Tony

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Filed under biking, Exercise, safe biking, summer biking

One of the Secrets of Safe Cycling

I fell while riding my bike last week and got hurt, so I thought it might be worthwhile to write about the accident, how/why it happened, and, most importantly, what you can do to prevent having it happen to you.

As I have said previously, my pleasure in riding my bicycle is, literally, the act of riding itself. I don’t ride to sightsee. I don’t ride to get any place. I may do those things incidentally, but they aren’t the reason I ride my bike every day I can in a four season city like Chicago.

For me riding a bicycle is a combination of swimming and flying through the air. My legs doing the pedaling feel like I am swimming while my body rushing through the air is distinctly flying. So, I usually feel like I am swimming at a high speed through the air.

Wet sidewalk from rain or runoff

I rode hundreds of miles last year in a huge parking lot that has a circumference of about a half mile. When it was empty I simply rode around it over and over … and loved every minute of it.
Continue reading

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