15 October 2019
Riding as a way to commute is a great way to include physical activity in your day and boost your health. As an added bonus it will save you money and is also better for the environment too, so why not use this year’s Ride2Work Day (Wednesday 16 October) to kick you into gear.
Also with January’s Tour Down Under just around the corner—and with many road infrastructure upgrades now incorporating bicycle friendly plans—even if you are a novice, it is a good time to give riding a go.
To help you on your way, here are 5 important things to help get you from A to B safely:
- A safer cycling route may be different to the one you take by car
Visit the Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure’s online tool to view cycling friendly routes all over Adelaide. If you are nervous about riding on the road, giving it a go on the weekend or during off-peak hours will give you the opportunity to become familiar with the road as a cyclist—it could be much different to driving the road in a car.
- Plan your commute ahead of time
Commuting by bike is different to a casual recreational ride because you are using the ride to get to somewhere you need to be. Think about whether or not you need to change into a different outfit once you get to your destination. Do you need to have a shower or tidy up? You will need to give this some thought and pack everything you will need in advance.
- It’s not a prerequisite to wear lycra
Despite lycra being the professional attire for cycling, it’s certainly not a prerequisite as part of your commute. You can wear anything that is comfortable for you as long as your pants are not loose at the ankles (to avoid clothing getting caught in the bike chain or pedal). Just make sure you choose something bright over anything dull so you are visible among others you are sharing the road with.
- Invest in bike lights
It’s a fact—flashing lights catch our attention. Whether from an emergency service vehicle, a car signalling to turn or indeed flashing bike lights. If your bike lights have a flashing function—use it. Don’t be afraid to turn them on, even during day time commutes.
- Obey the road rules and ride safely
As a cyclist, you have the responsibility to obey the same road rules as a motor vehicle driver. This includes stopping at red lights, giving way to pedestrians at zebra crossings and giving way to any oncoming traffic at intersections. Be alert at all times and ride in a predictable manner—using your arms to signal your intentions to turn left or right. The best thing to do is not assume that other road users or pedestrians have seen you.
By choosing to swap the four wheels for two, you will be actively reducing your cancer risk by keeping physically active, and prevent unhealthy weight gain.
When it comes to reducing your cancer risk, Cancer Council SA recommends:
- at least 300 minutes (five hours) of moderate intensity physical activity each week
- at least150 minutes (two and a half hours) of vigorous intensity physical activity each week, or
- an equivalent combination of both moderate and vigorous activities, each week
But what classifies as moderate or vigorous?
Moderate intensity physical activity requires some effort, but still allows you to speak while undertaking the activity.
Vigorous intensity activity requires more effort and makes you breathe harder and faster, and you cannot speak without stopping to catch a breath every few words.
Cycling can be moderate or vigorous depending how fast you ride, use the speaking test to determine what level of physical activity your bike ride is.
Find out more about increasing your physical activity: https://www.cancersa.org.au/information/a-z-index/being-physically-active