If your 2021 goals include healthier and happier living despite Covid, civil unrest, and the challenges that dawn daily, keep on doing what you’re already doing to live a healthier, happier life: Discover bicycling or up your game and ride more. Follow our tips, and you’ll be in the best mental and physical shape of your life.
According to Alek Asaduryan from YesCycling, these are the six basic steps to adding bicycling to your life.
1. Get your hands on a bike and schedule short trips, increasing your distance slowly, so you don’t feel overwhelmed.
2. Enlist a cycling partner. It’s harder to skip a ride when you know that someone else is depending upon you to show up for scheduled rides.
3. Master easy bike maintenance tasks. You’ll feel smarter. More independent. Safer, too. Keep reading to find out which tasks are the most important to learn.
4. Sign up for an easy bike race in a category that feels comfortable. No 24-hour ultras until you’re ready!
5. Change up routes and terrains. Terrain unfamiliarity will shock your muscles, test your cardio, and you’ll be introduced to new scenery.
6. Promise yourself a sexier bike once you’re hooked. Need motivation? Hang an IOU on your ‘fridge to remind yourself of that promise.
Eat more local produce
Getting your butt onto a saddle is just the first step to increasing your health and happiness. Why work hard to tone your temple when you fill that sacred space with crap? Registered Dietician Liz Amisson wants to convince every health-conscious person on the planet to eat local. You’ve probably been dining on produce that has been trucked from far distances, most likely in excess of 100 miles away.
Not only does produce begin to lose nutrients after it is picked, but within the first 24 hours, fresh fruits and vegetables continue to bleed nutrients. Not many people know that produce on display at supermarkets are picked before ripening, so add that extended time to the equation when evaluating “fresh foods” on store shelves. Instead, enjoy completely ripened fruits and veggies at local farmer’s markets.
Here’s another reason to stick to farm-fresh produce: Variety. Every season has its superstars – summer peaches, fall apples, and seasonally-grown grape varieties. You’ll stay healthier, save money and please your taste buds if you stick to just-picked varieties. Because they ripen more slowly, you get extended benefits when buying green bananas and hard avocados, super fruits that play major roles in a healthy diet.
Knowing how to fix your bike makes you happy and healthy, too.
Admit it: When you overcome challenges and prove to yourself that you’re capable of mastering skills like diagnosing and repairing a bike, you feel invincible. That’s what education can do for you. Acquiring repair skills not only ups your self-confidence but boosts your self-esteem, too. These seven basic skills are critical to know:
1. Fix a flat tire. It’s easier than you think.
2. Learn to change your brake pads. Turn to YouTube for instructions.
3. Replace a broken spoke. Let your bike shop pro show you how.
4. Undertake a chain cleaning and suspension. Supplies? And old toothbrush and chain lubricant.
5. Adjust derailleurs. Here’s a tutorial:
6. True a wheel. Stop the wobbling. Yes, it helps to own a truing stand to get the job done, but it’s not required.
7. Repair a broken chain. Start by learning to replace a few links and graduate to the entire chain.
What tools should you own? Your kit should include a spare tube, a few plastic tire levers, a hand pump or CO2 cartridge, bike multi-tool, and zip ties or ski straps. Don’t have a tool budget? Put these items on your wish list when your birthday rolls around.
Read more books
According to a University of Liverpool study, folks who read regularly have higher self-esteem levels and are better at dealing with challenges. Think about that. Biking gives you self-esteem. Learning to repair can help you grow even more confident once you realize that feeding your mind is as critical as feeding your body.
Where to start? It’s easier than ever – GoodReads announced the winners of the 12th Annual Goodreads Choice Awards, the only major book awards decided by readers. If you’re already into reading about cycling, check this collection of the 101 Books Every Cyclist Should Read.
If none of these work for you, might we suggest putting in more hours in on that bike, especially if those rides get you to farmer’s markets where healthy foods await?