SunLive         

Whether it’s for fitness and wellbeing, commuting to work, or simply to get out and about in our beautiful Bay of Plenty, cycling offers a fun and affordable way to travel.

Cycling as a mode of transport is growing in several cities and towns across New Zealand, and the benefits of getting on your bike are numerous.

Firstly, it’s great for your health. Cycling provides a great aerobic workout, which improves cardiovascular health. It builds muscle and, as cycling is an excellent exercise for burning calories, it’s a fun way to help with weight loss. It also helps boost your endurance and stamina, and will increase your energy levels.

The health benefits are not solely physical either: Cycling can help reduce stress levels, improve your mood and increase your self-esteem as you accomplish rides you may not have thought you could.

It can assist with your performance at work – you may find you have increased motivation, improved ability to manage time and workloads, and increased ability to concentrate.

Then there’s the benefit to the environment. If you choose to cycle as a way of commuting to work, this decreases the traffic congestion and reduces gas emissions. And with more cars on the road and increases in commuter times by car, you may find you can get to work quicker by two wheels!

It’s great to see our local councils taking action to support safer cycleways and implementing long-term plans to improve access for commuters with the development of the CyWay in Rotorua and the Tauranga and Western Bay of Plenty Urban Cycleways Programme.

If these reasons aren’t enough inspiration to start cycling, there are the added social opportunities. You can have more quality time with your partner or family, or choose to get a group of friends together to go for a ride.

Many towns and cities are seeing an increase in cycling groups that new riders can join, to enjoy the camaraderie among cyclists and for a chance to meet new friends.

There are a number of Bay of Plenty groups available for long-time or first-time riders – to find one near you, visit our Activity Directory online at www.sportbop.co.nz/get-involved/

But, of course, don’t forget the safety considerations. Make sure you wear a helmet and brightly coloured clothes so you can be seen, and if you haven’t exercised for a while, or have any medical conditions, check with your doctor before jumping on your bike.

Catherine McCulloch
Community Manager
Sport Bay of Plenty