It’s no secret that bike riding has become extremely popular over the past few months, and for good reason. Without access to gyms, or outdoor social activities, many people have reverted to childhood days of classic bike riding (solo or with friends) to serve both purposes. 

Not to mention, amidst growing protests over the death of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and other Black people who died at the hands of the police, Black Lives Matter bicycle rides have grown in size and popularity, spawning organized daily and weekly meet-ups such as Good Co. Bike Club, Black Rides For Black Lives and Street Riders NYC.  These mass rides have galvanized thousands of cyclists across the country— from pros to bike share newbies all sharing in the joy of cycling.

And don’t fret if you find it hard to get your hands on one, you’ve still got plenty of options. Retailers such as Schwinn, Huffy, Royce Union, iZip are all still excellent options if you want a bike of your own, instead of hopping on a CitiBike. If you’re thinking about hopping on a bike (if you can find one), you should be aware of all of the benefits that come along with riding. Here are a few excellent reasons that should get you riding today.

It has many health benefits. 

It’s easy on the joints, it’s an aerobic workout, it builds muscle and bone, and it helps with everyday activities. It also varies in intensity, making it suitable for all levels. “Since coronavirus is a disease that attacks the respiratory system, it’s important to strengthen that system and biking is one of activities that can accomplish that goal by strengthening your lower respiratory system (lungs),” says Ryan Birkicht, Sr. Communications Manager, Schwinn Bikes. “Biking also increases airflow around the participant which can help in diffusing the water droplets created by normal conversation. Those water droplets have been shown to be a primary carrier and means of passing coronavirus from person to person so it’s important to diffuse the droplets to minimize exposure to those around you (wearing a mask can also decrease the water droplets you spit into the air).”

It’s an idyllic social distanced activity.

While we all long for the days of fun with friends and family, social distancing is now still the name of the game (and for the foreseeable future). So in order to keep up with CDC guidelines for 6-feet distance at all times, biking is something that allows you to be social, outdoors but also far away from other people. “We all crave fresh air and sunshine and riding bikes is a safe and healthy way to get family and friends outdoors to live the ride and take a mental break while maintaining a safe distance from other riders,” says bike expert and enthusiast Kris Parlett, Director of Brand and Integrated Marketing at Huffy Bicycles.

It’s an eco-friendly alternative to traveling (and helps you avoid public transportation).

Using a bicycle is an eco-friendly way to move around the city especially in a really polluted and crowded one. You can reduce pollutants in the air by not being another contributor, and also effectively reducing your own carbon footprint. And you can even use it to travel far distances with the help of an e-bike. “Today you can incorporate a daily ride into your routine on an electric bike, for both physical and mental health benefits,” says Parlett. “With e-bikes, riders pedal the bike with the boost of a motor for better momentum on hills, to keep up with friends riding faster, or to ride farther.”

It helps boost your mood. 

In these times, preserving our mental sanity is essential. As with most forms of exercise — whether fun or grueling — cycling is one of the good forms of exercise and it keeps you happy due to the dopamine increase in your brain. As you cycle, the dopamine production increases and it makes you happier for a certain period. Want to change your mood? Hop on your bike!

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