The bicycle revolution began in the late 1880’s, giving riders another useful form of transportation. People of all walks of life were able to ride across town or even venture throughout the countryside with ease. In fact, Susan B. Anthony was noted as referring to cycles as a woman’s “freedom machine.” Of course, like many things, the popularity of cycling has experienced twists and turns. Thanks to a massive array of bike designs and the awareness of needing healthier lifestyles, the bicycling culture has been gaining speed for the last couple of years.
If you are still questioning strapping on a sleek helmet because you heard or believe biking is anything but fun, let us break you free from some myths that might be holding you back from pedaling to a newfound freedom, and a healthier body.
1. Bikes Are Expensive
Bikes can be expensive, that is true. Yet, you can find ways to obtain a cycle with little to no cost. Spread the news you would like to start biking. Word of mouth in your sphere is a great way to get your hands on a bike; perhaps there is someone you know who hasn’t used his or her cycle in ages and would love to pass it down to a dear friend. I purchased my road bike at half price through Craigslist. Spring is also the time to check out local garage sales! Nice Ride Minnesota, a non-profit bike sharing system, is a low-cost way to test drive biking in the Minneapolis and St. Paul loop area.
2. Biking Is Dangerous
Summer days move along as bikers and automobiles share the road, and the question of how safe it is to ride comes into play. Just like those who sit comfortably in their boxed-frame vehicles, bikers need to be aware of their surroundings, too. Taking caution while riding, and looking for low traffic routes can be key to staying safe.
3. I Have To Be In Shape To Ride A Bike
I hope this is not what is keeping you from hopping on a bike. Riding a bike can be hard, and the first few rides may be difficult; however, it will become easier the more you commit. Watch a handful of episodes of “The Biggest Loser” to find encouragement. YOU CAN DO IT!!! And, research has shown that cycling on a regular basis can cut the chances of experiencing a heart attack in half!
4. Spandex Bike Shorts
Spandex may not be the most attractive attire, however it can be the best way to protect against thigh chafing. Many bike stores carry other styles of biking shorts if spandex isn’t your thing. The important thing is to protect your legs, especially when you first begin riding. Either accept that you might look like a dork while riding, or look completely awful walking around holding your inner thighs in pain.
5. Bike Seats Are Uncomfortable
Bike seats play a large part in the enjoyment of riding. They come in an assortment of shapes and sizes. As you would shop for the perfect fitting shoe, you should also purchase a seat that is comfortable for you. If you want to ride fast it is best to look for a narrow seat, which helps to push your body forward, putting more weight on your hands and feet. For a casual rider going on more relaxed cruises the wider seats work well because the weight of the rider will rest on the seat of the bike.
6. People Will Think I Am A Hipster
The term hipster was mainly about clothing styles when it first came to life in the 90’s. Today, it is an overall lifestyle mix of savvy vintage and modern. The bike culture has been riding the hipster wave. Taking on the hipster name tag is considered the cool thing to do these days; wear it with pride.
7. No Place To Ride
Minnesota is loaded with fantastic bike routes all across the state. There are a ton of metro bike path guides online to direct you, too. To get you started check out these sites, Bike State Map, MN Bike Trail Navigator and Bike Walk Twin Cities. The city of Minneapolis has been ranked as one of the best biking cities in the country by Bike Score and Bicycling Magazine!
8. I Won’t Save Much Money
In The Long Run
If comparing a trip by car or by bicycle, you can’t just take into account the gas cost. There is overhead for driving a car, like insurance, oil changes, parking and new tires. Clearly, it is less money to ride a bike, which makes me think biking to nearby locations is worth the savings. It may not save enough money each month to pay the rent; however, it might make a big enough difference to be able to afford a local weekend getaway.
9. Driving Is Faster
Driving may be faster, but it depends on where you need to go. There are times when a cycle can take you on routes where cars have no access. A lot of Minnesota communities are bike friendly and provide paths and bike lanes. You may not arrive earlier than if you had driven, but you won’t be any later if you choose to bike, either.
10. No Storage Space
If a bike’s lack of cargo space is your reasoning, get ready for debunking time! Cycling bags, messenger bags, bread baskets and a variety of racks give the rider options to accommodate cargo from a simple trip to the grocery store all the way to a tent camping trip. If you want to haul something large, the bike can always pull a lightweight trailer, too. There are many health benefits to and fun to be had on two wheels.
Now is the time to embrace the simplicity biking offers. Don’t let these debunked excuses keep you from the timeless wonder and ease of cycling. It truly is a classic invention that still benefits us all to this day.