Bike to Win

Biking has gotten bigger in the past few years as more people are getting into the sport and becoming more aware about health and fitness.

Biking has gotten bigger in the past few years as more people are getting into the sport and becoming more aware about health and fitness. Many do it as a form of keeping their body fit, as a hobby by upgrading their exercise routines and professionally by getting into tournaments and other competitions. May is National Bike Month so thousands of bikers from all over the United States and the world flock to many famous biking spots to commemorate famous rides with family and friends. There are several activities and events planned which will surely deliver fun, prizes and excitement for everyone. But no matter your intent, you can bike to win.

About National Bike Month

Washington D.C. as well as nearby Alexandria and Arlington are full of bikers during National Bike Month. These places are known for their challenging and beautiful trails for beginners, intermediate and advanced riders. Regardless of your current level, you will find these areas very conducive to having fun and exercising. Even people who are learning how to ride a bike or do not own one can still enjoy National Bike Month through the Capital Bikeshare program. Two hundred stations are set up all over Washington D.C., Alexandria and Arlington where people can borrow and share bicycles. Through Capital Bikeshare, individuals can borrow from a list of almost 2,000 bicycles any time of the day.

After registering for the program, participants will get a Bikeshare key in their mail to activate. The closest bike station can be accessed through a smartphone application or online map. There are several membership types available depending on the kind of bike you want and the trail and location you prefer.

The Activities

National Bike Month introduces commuter convoys that will make your trips more interesting and fun. There are 20 convoys with expert bicycle commuters leading the team. Look for the schedules which meet your needs.  You can join the envoy teams from the starting point or en route.

1. Bike to School Day

The second annual National Bike to School Day commences on May 8th, with the support of the National Center for Safe Routes to School. Every Wednesday up until May 8th, there will be a winner from registered schools who will receive a Saris Stadium Rack. The activity will be included in Global Youth Traffic Safety Month. The date also falls during National Bike Month. The people who came up with the concept shared that the program aims to empower and encourage young people from different parts of the world to create and improve youth peer to peer projects on education.  It also supports and promotes the creation and enforcement of traffic laws so that kids and young adults will stay safe on roads.

2. Bike to Work Day

Bike to Work Day is celebrated on May 17th. The activity is arranged by the Washington Area Bicyclist Association together with Commuter Connections. The event is free for those who wish to join and features 70 pit stops located in D.C., Virginia and Maryland. Winners will also enjoy raffles, prizes, food, refreshments and trophies.

3. Bike to Work Week

This event starts from May 27 and ends on June 2.  The date and location will vary depending on the country or city in which it is being held. The idea is to encourage people to take their bikes to work as a great form of exercise and an alternative to regular commuting. During this period, companies and bosses encourage their employees to bicycle to work. They may combine it with other related objectives or even side quests depending on the house rules. Winners can receive ribbons or  trophies. Employees who finish particularly strong can receive bigger prizes.

4. Tour de Madison

The 26th Tour de Madison will be held in Syria, Virginia on May 18, which boasts spectacular views of the Blue Ridge Mountains and Shenandoah Valley. Participants can choose from three different routes, specifically chosen for their current skill and experience. Advanced bikers can go for the Metric Century which features a lot of hills. Intermediate riders can try the 41-mile distance while beginners can go for the Family Ride which includes a lot of flat trails. Meals and drinks will also be sold at various points.

Challenging Family and Friends

In addition to the activities during National Bike Month, you can challenge family, friends and colleagues to a fun and challenging bike ride anytime. Think of a great activity that involves getting them to ride their bikes to school, the office or other special locations. Come up with specific objectives and challenges. Provide rewards, tokens or ribbons for minor accomplishments then prepare a special trophy for the first place finisher or those who finish with the best time.

1. Biking to school or around the neighborhood.

Children and teenagers should be accompanied by adults when biking to school. Create a pack with the leaders at the front and back to keep them safe. Begin by stating the rules and how to observe traffic laws to avoid accidents. Include fun challenges such as asking them to wear costumes while riding their bikes, putting decorations and other attractive items on their bikes or going for a night ride around the neighborhood. Give ribbons to the rider with the best costume. Award the first place finisher with a huge trophy. Make sure that there are pit stops at different points on the route, where riders can get snacks and drinks.

2. Biking to work.

Bosses and supervisors can go for a challenging bike ride with their employees. They can give ribbons and other small gifts to any individuals who finish faster than them. Another great idea would be to ask them to wear shirts of the same color or get neon or glow-in-the-dark face paint and clothes that will immediately grab attention during night rides. Provide special challenges with corresponding rewards such as asking them to find a unique flower in the park, giving a free cup of coffee to the first person who reaches a café pit stop or asking them to perform specific tasks upon reaching certain points. Give a trophy to the first place finisher.

The Advantages of Biking

Many people are getting hooked on biking because of the many benefits that it provides. Some people start with a borrowed or cheap bike then upgrade over time as they get fitter.

1. Biking is good for the muscles.

Many sports and exercises do involve the lower body to the extent that biking does. Riding for 30 to 60 minutes each day will work out the biggest muscles in your body – your legs. The cycling motion will train your quadriceps, hamstrings, calves, abs and hips. People can have a very balanced and symmetrical appearance by biking regularly. Building and toning your muscles will further aid in burning fat effectively even when you’re at rest.

2. Biking is good for the heart.

As a cardiovascular exercise, biking will circulate blood effectively throughout the body. All vital organs and extremities will receive blood and get oxygenated, thereby improving function and getting rid of harmful toxins and cholesterol. The heart pumps blood as you bicycle, which will also benefit the liver, lungs, kidneys and brain. You will find that biking improves brain function and concentration and prevents cardiovascular problems, lung and respiratory problems, liver toxicity and stroke.

3. Biking is good for the mind.

Exercising is an excellent way to relieve stress. When you ride a bicycle for several minutes a few times each week, you will find time to think, reflect and recover from daily stresses and challenges. People who ride their bikes regularly find themselves more mentally active, have better memory function and focus on tasks more easily. Riding to work actually improves performance by as much as 100% according to many studies.

4. Biking is good for the environment.

National Biking Month is a great opportunity for cities and countries to have lower emissions coming from motorized vehicles. A bicycle is environmentally friendly because it does not use gasoline or fuel and does not emit harmful gases or smoke. Taking your bike to work or school is a good alternative to driving. The air is fresher and heat is significantly reduced. There is also less traffic congestion when people ride their bikes.

5. Biking for more friends.

There are so many clubs, associations and groups revolved around biking. You can opt for groups that prefer mountain and off-road trails, teams that also try other sports like swimming and running or groups that like to ride in packs on concrete highways. There are organizations that support different types of bikers. These are also organizations to approach if you wish to gain new friends who share the same passion. Start looking for nearby clubs online.

Biking for Life

Biking is an activity that you can enjoy for the long term. You will find bikers of different ages. There are even those who join tours and competitions at the age of 75 years old and above. Bicycling regularly will keep you fit and healthy, adding more years to your life and keeping you free from disease.

National Biking Month should encourage more people to take on a healthy lifestyle. Start with small challenges and fun biking activities for your family or people in your workplace, then increase your involvement and expand your group of bikers later. Joining competitions and tournaments can also result in beautiful trophies and medals that you can display proudly at home and in the office.