Are you ready to ride?
In honor of National Bike Month, why not dust off your two-wheeler (or treat yourself to a new one) and hit the road! You don’t need to pedal for hours or train Tour de France—style to get amazing benefits: just riding at a moderate pace for an hour burns 550 calories. Plus, it strengthens your core, butt, quads, hamstrings, and calves. Here’s how to get started.
What you need
First, grab a comfortable yet snug-fitting helmet that touches your head all the way around. One I like is the Giro Stylus ($85). To cushion the ride, add some padded shorts, such as the Sugoi Lucky Short ($75). Shoe-wise, stiff-soled cross-trainers are fine. But if you plan to bike often, invest in cycling shoes to help you get more power out of every stroke. One good pair: Pearl Izumi X-Alp Drift Bike Shoe ($100). And, of course, you need a bike.
The starting price for a good bike is about $300. The three types:
Road: A lightweight frame, low handlebars, and skinny tires make it great on roads or paved paths.
Mountain: Ideal for off-road riding, it has wider handlebars and thicker tires with rugged treads.
Hybrid: Perfect for both groomed gravel trails and paved roads, its versatility, stability, and comfort make this style best for general-fitness cycling.
Do it better
Keep your back flat, core muscles engaged, and shoulders down and away from your ears. Your elbows should be bent, not rigid, to better absorb shock and increase stability. Grip the handlebars firmly but not too tightly. When pedaling, concentrate on pushing and pulling, maintaining constant force throughout the entire pedaling cycle.