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Bike Riding for Weight Loss – Tips for Beginning A Bicycling Plan

If you are one of those people who leisurely pedal around the block or over a flat stretch of scenic road, you’ve probably been riding for sheer pleasure. Riding bikes for pleasure is a good form of aerobic exercise. But unless you map out a plan to “push yourself,” you probably won’t lose much weight.

I really get sick of hearing people say, “No pain, no gain!” But the old adage is true when it comes to riding bikes to lose weight. By pushing your cycling distance or speed, you are sure to feel some pain in your leg muscles, your hands, wrists, and your derriere– even some pain in your throat and lungs as your body tries to accommodate your increased demand for oxygen.

HEALTH TIP: Stretching exercises prior to exercising are helpful in preventing injury!

GETTING YOUR BICYCLE READY…

TO ROLL OFF THE WEIGHT and big and tall bicycles

Your first concern will be outfitting your bicycle. If you need an excuse to purchase a new bike, this is an excellent opportunity! I went from a 3-speed bicycle for leisure riding, to a 24-speed bicycle for more committed exercising. Once I learned how the different gears worked, I was very thankful for the extra speeds. They make my ride faster and the hills a lot easier to handle.

We’ve found the guys at the bicycle shop to be very helpful, big and tall bicycles

Rather than simply steering us toward the most expensive bicycle available (as I had expected), they asked how much riding we would be doing, whether we were trying for speed or leisure, and whether we would be riding on paved roads or dirt trails. When you honestly share your goals and level of experience, the sales clerks can match you with exactly what you need. They want you to be successful in your biking venture!

Some state laws require bicycle lights. But if you will be riding anytime from dusk to dawn, common sense demands that you have lights on your bicycle. These little accessories are battery-operated and last a long time. There are a variety of lights to choose from. My tail light has different blinking speeds, and is designed to make my bike visible to cars approaching from both the rear and the sides. Check for brightness before you buy one. Install the light where it makes the most sense.

We held off on buying a speedometer and odometer unit for our bikes, but once we got serious about losing weight and getting in shape, this feature became a “must have.” You simply cannot track your progress without knowing how far and how fast you’re riding.

If you already have a bicycle, take it to the bike shop for a safety inspection each season. They should check the gears, tires and brakes to make sure everything is working properly. They can adjust your seat to fit your height and adjust the handlebars to fit your reach, making your ride more comfortable. If you’re lucky, they might even clean and polish your bike!

If you want to save money in the long run, you can find books and videos that teach you how to care for your own bicycle. It’s always a great idea to know how to change your own flat tire and adjust a loose chain.

Another must have is a bicycle pump. Ask your bike dealer how many pounds of air pressure to put in your bicycle tires. Check the tires each time you get ready to ride! We guessed at the air pressure one summer day, and lived to regret it. We rode the bikes to the swimming pool, not realizing that one tire was too full. While we were cooling off in the water, the hot sun was rapidly expanding the air in the tires-one tire blew as it sat in the parking lot. The day in the sun was not so fun, once the pool closed and we had to wait for a truck to haul us home!

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