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How important is cycling as an antidote to Covid?

Many public transportation services are still operating on reduced timetables or carrying capacity due to COVID. As a result, cycling is now the greatest alternative form of transport for many journeys as a natural way to social distance, particularly those in town and city centres. Riding to work or the shops is one of the most time-efficient ways to combine regular exercise with your everyday routine. An estimated one billion people ride bicycles every day – for transport, recreation, and sport. The 2016 census found the average commute of those working in London was 9.1 miles. Cycling 9 miles twice a day is easily achievable on an e-bike and should take about 40 minutes while rewarding you with several benefits outlined in this article.

Natural protection and distance

Cycling protects you from the virus in many ways. When cycling, you automatically keep a distance. This reduces any stress associated with wearing a face covering and maintaining a safe space. People who avoid buses and trains minimise the risk of infection because a droplet infection mainly transmits the coronavirus over short distances, explained Michael Barczok, a pneumologist from Ulm. “Touching anything in public is a risk,” said Barczok. The lung disease specialist rates the chance of inhaling the coronavirus on a bicycle as ‘zero’. By cycling instead of taking public transport, you avoid many risks for yourself and others. Virologists who specialise in the coronavirus also see bicycles as the perfect self-protection. German paper “Der Spiegel” reports: ‘There are no objections to cycling. The bicycle is the perfect form of self-protection because you not only keep your distance but also do not touch infected surfaces.’

Boost your health

Cycling has another incredibly positive effect on your physical and mental health. To stay healthy, adults should be active every day and aim to achieve 150 minutes of physical activity over a week. This can be broken down into intervals of any movement to suit the person and their lifestyle. In Washington, D.C., the Transport Research Board’s 92nd Annual Meeting reported that people who walk or cycle to work tend to be more satisfied, less stressed, more relaxed and experience greater freedom than people who drive or get public transport to work. According to the German virologist, during cycling, your airways are well ventilated: ‘The deeper breathing helps cleanse the lungs better. That is optimal when it comes to virus protection. Cycling pumps more blood around the body faster, which allows hormones such as dopamine, serotonin, and endorphins to be received in the brain, promoting positive mental health.’ Cycling also has social benefits and enables you to join a community of like-minded people. Being outdoors compared to being stuck on a bus or train results in your body receiving more vitamin D from direct sunlight, which boosts your body’s immune system and improves mood and sleep. Cycling can also have a preventive effect. Cycling reduces blood pressure, body fat percentage and improves cardiovascular health leading to a decreased risk of many long-term chronic conditions. It exercises all your joints. The physiological and psychological advantages of cycling are underestimated and significantly improve health as studies show increased life expectancy by years.    

Save the planet and its environment

Climate change has always been on our minds; however, the last 18 months has brought the issue to the forefront of our minds. Pictures we saw the previous year clearly showing an improvement to air quality proved we are taking steps in the right direction. Commuting by bike improves the air quality in our cities and is an essential step to carbon net-zero by 2050. This can only be achieved by reducing the number of harmful emissions and carbon dioxide we produce. A recent study conducted by the Transports Studies Unit from the University of Oxford found that those “who switch just one trip per day from a car driving to cycling reduce their carbon footprint by about 0.5 tonnes over a year”. The potential to decrease carbon emissions is enormous and could impact the future immensely. 

Cut your spending and improve your budget

Cycling burns calories rather than cash. Cycling is one of the most economical ways of travelling a reasonable distance. Comparing public transport and cars, eliminating these can be thousands of pounds a year per person and possibly even more significant. The energy used by an electric bike costs only about £15 a year.

Government investing and the future

Many cities worldwide have recently established initiatives to assist cyclists in safely returning to work, avoiding congestion cars and buses produce. This has been aided in the U.K. by a £250 million emergency active travel fund, part of a more extensive £2 billion programme to improve facilities for cyclists and pedestrians. With the government planning for any short-term initiatives to have long-term benefits, now is an excellent time to make cycling work a permanent habit. Unsurprisingly, we believe that nothing beats riding a bike to work. Even so, there are other compelling reasons to get back on your bike, in summary, social distancing, freedom to roam, substantial benefits to physical and mental health, environmentally friendly and very economical.

We all understand and recognise that we need to do more for the environment, and the pandemic has opened our eyes to the damage we are doing. Travelling by bike instead of a car could change your life and the world. In May, Prime Minister Johnson told the U.K. parliament that the near future “should be a new golden age for cycling.” With all the benefits and positive reasons to commute by bike, we certainly believe so too. 

Emu bikes have sponsored this article; Emu bikes start at £32 per month or £999 to purchase outright. A long term warranty backs the quality, and you won’t find better value. Full details are on our website www.emubikes.com.

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