University of Nebraska Medical Center

Consider Biking: A Healthy and Fun Way to Get Around, When Done Safely

source: nps.gov

Public Health Community Advisory  – There are many good reasons to consider bicycle riding. In addition to exercise and better physical fitness, biking can be a great way to socialize and meet new people. Cycling also brings you closer to nature and is a great stress reliever. And your bike can take you places! Bicycle commuting is on the rise nationwide.

Buying a bike can be a big investment, but it may be worthwhile because bikes typically last a long time. You can purchase a new bike from a specialty store, a community bike shop, or a department store. If money is short, consider buying a quality used bike.

A bike is often assembled in the store where you purchase it. A local bike store can ensure that you have a correctly assembled bike and can help you find the right size and style of bike for you budget and needs.

Safety is priority number one when riding a bike. Bring these safety accessories with you on every ride:

  • A helmet
  • A bike light when riding at night (also, wear reflective clothing)
  • Water—traveling fast causes sweat to evaporate quickly, so start drinking water early in your ride
  • A credit card, or cash, and a cell phone. Let someone know where you will be on your long rides and arrange for an emergency ride if you were to get hurt or breakdown.
  • A patch kit or spare inner tube
  • A bike lock

If you are considering commuting to work on your bike, read up on bicycle road rules and safety. Consider teaching these to a youngster as an excuse to learn yourself: http://www.dor.state.ne.us/docs/Bicycle-Safety-current.pdf

In addition to safety equipment, learning to perform a basic bike inspection is also important for your riding safety. Preventing a wheel from coming loose is as simple as tightening a lever: http://www.bikeleague.org/resources/better/beginningcycling.php

Find out more about biking in Omaha at Live Well Omaha’s “How We Get Around” webpage , where you can also learn about Omaha Bikes, a community organization that promotes and advocates for improved transportation, utility and recreational bicycling infrastructure, opportunities, and experiences for the people of Omaha and the surrounding area; about biking in Omaha at http://bikeomaha.blogspot.com/; and about the Omaha B-cycle program, a municipal bike-sharing system, at http://omaha.bcycle.com/.

This article was written by Dan Schuchart, workstation specialist in the UNMC COPH Office of the Dean.

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