As we're coming to the end of 2016, it's a perfect time to start reflecting and looking forward to the new year. An excellent New Year's Resolution is to bike more often - it has infinite benefits for health, the environment, and general mood boosting. We've compiled a list of easy ways to incorporate more biking into your life, all year long!
1. Bicycle when you travel
When you live in a city that isn't very bikeable (i.e. not enough bike lanes, dangerous roads, and a lack of awareness of cycling laws), it can be difficult to incorporate biking into your life. When you travel you have countless possibilities! If you're anything like us, your travels happen mostly over long weekends, so you have to squeeze in as much of a city as you can in a short period of time. Bikes allow you to experience more things in less time than any other form of transit - faster than walking or sitting in traffic, and less restrictive than public transportation, they get you where you need to go with the freedom to stop and explore. Many hotels and Airbnb hosts offer free bikes with your stay (see a comprehensive list here) so get out there and start biking a new city!
2. Take a group ride
Many local cycling groups and shops will often organize group rides. There are usually rides for every intensity level: an easy ride is a great way to introduce more cycling in your life in a less intimidating way, and also can be a fun way to socialize and make new friends in your community. Check your local bike shops for smaller, more informal rides. There's also a great list of group rides here.
3. Bicycle somewhere safe and relaxing
A lot of people are hesitant to ride bicycles due to fear, especially in cities where you share the road with cars. A good way to ease your way into biking is by doing it in a car-free environment or a low traffic area. Small neighborhoods, large parks, nationals parks, or bike paths (like the Atlanta Beltline) are all good options. And just for fun, the 10 Best Car-Free Bike Paths in the USA.
4. Bicycle when you have nowhere to be
Starting your bike resolution by commuting to work can be scary, and might put you off biking for good. Flat tires, unexpected traffic, being late, and arriving disheveled or sweaty are all deterrents in a time crunch. Instead, bike on the weekends or after work. A lot of cities now have bike share programs - bikes available for public transport - that you don't need to reserve ahead of time, and can try out whenever you have a free afternoon.
5. Dress appropriately
The only potentially difficult thing about biking as a New Year's resolution is that it means in the majority of North America, you're taking up biking when it's cold out. We suggest an extra layer (both top and bottom) under whatever you'd normally wear on a winter day, plus warm, practical shoes, and the classic hat-scarf-gloves triumvirate.
There are many more ways to incorporate biking into your life, but these are some easy ones to get you started and instill the joy of cycling into your life.
Have other suggestions? We want to hear from you. Leave your thoughts in comments or tag us on social media using #BrooklynBicycle.
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