When it comes to a cheap, low impact, all-inclusive form of exercise, cycling is hard to beat. Opt for a second hand bicycle and you can hit the road without hitting your pocket.
Saddling up and heading out on a cycle ride with family and friends gives you the chance to explore, get off the beaten track and spend some quality time together while getting fit in the fresh air. Indeed, according to the British Medical Association, cycling’s health benefits outweigh any risks by 20:1 and it’s also a great way to tackle obesity in children. There’s a huge range of cycles available for all kinds of freewheelin’ fun, so read on to find the perfect bike for you.
Cycling is also a great green form of transport, allowing you to get from A to B without polluting the environment. As Victoria Pendleton, World and Olympic champion cyclist and supporter of Team Green Britain Bike Week says, “Choosing to cycle to the shops, school or for leisure instead of taking the car can help you get fit, save money on fuel, and reduce your carbon footprint all at the same time. If everyone were to swap one car journey a day for a bike trip, think of the collective benefit – to our planet, our pockets and our health!”
The health benefits of cycling are evident. Whether competing in high-level cycle races or enjoying a relaxing ride in the countryside, cycling is a good way to stay fit because:
- Unlike other exercises, such as running and most sporting pursuits, it has a low risk of impact injuries
- Cycling can reduce the risk of coronary heart disease
- It can help to reduce stress levels
- As an aerobic form of exercise, cycling can help build a healthy heart and lungs
- Cycling is a great way to tone muscles, particularly those in the legs, such as the upper thighs and backside
- Cycle for 20 minutes five times a week and you can boost energy levels and burn fat
There’s a huge, some might say slightly bewildering, array of cycles, with each designed for a specific purpose or riding environment. If you are considering buying a bike, it’s worth thinking about where and how you intend to use it – from cycling in town to hairing up and down mountains. If you’re looking to get the most for your money, opting for a second hand model can potentially save you hundreds of pounds, allowing you to afford a cycle that is top of the range but without the price tag that comes with being brand new! Take a look at some of the different models available before deciding which wheels to go for.
Similar to their more rugged cousins, urban mountain bikes share many of their design features, but tend to have their gears enclosed and tyres that are designed for road riding, rather than mountainsides and hills.
Hugely popular and the best choice if you’re planning to head off-road and explore some punishing loose tracks, bumpy paths and rougher terrain. They have a robust frame, and upright riding position and chunky tyres that are knobbly for the required grip. While there are many bikes that claim to be built for such rough handling, the bikes that are built for the task are usually at the more expensive end of the range.
Sleek, graceful and built for speed, road racers are cycling’s equivalent of an F1 racing car. Many incorporate the latest, lightest materials to maximise speed on the road, with extremely thin tyres pumped up to the max. Similarly, the riding position has the rider hunched forwards to lower any resistance.
As the name suggests, these cycles are made for longer rides and, although they are similar in appearance to their road racing counterparts, they are more robustly built and there is more of a nod to rider comfort with padded seats and mudguards designed to prevent numb and wet backsides!
The steady workhorses of the cycling world, traditional bikes are built for comfort and work-a-day reliance. You won’t be heading up mountains or hurtling around on a time trial, as these models are made for commuting to work in the city or on a shopping trip in town.
As England’s longest established bicycle manufacturer, Pashley has gained an enviable reputation for the quality, workmanship and sheer style of its various models. The name Pashley brings to mind iconic cycles, built to last and with timeless traditional looks. The company also produces a range of contemporary designs which still manage to incorporate that unique Pashley appeal. However, all of this style, comfort and durability doesn’t come cheap, so choosing a preloved Pashley could help you snap up a quality ride for less.
Get them cycling from a young age and children will soon attain a life-long love of the sense of escape, independence and total fun that cycling can bring. It’s also a great way for kids to keep active and fit in the fresh air. Just as with adult cycles, children’s models also come in a wide range, from tricycles to mountain bikes. And with kids growing up fast, a well-maintained pre-owned cycle could be just the answer to stop costs spinning out of control!