Cycling. What's good about it what's bad about it...?

(30 Posts)
MrsWolowitz Sat 19-Jul-14 14:29:48

I'm thinking of getting a bike on the cycle to work scheme.

I'm a bit scared of cycling on roads but will hopefully get over that with practice. It's a financial sacrifice each month for a year so I don't want to waste money but I'm quite keen.

I run at the moment and suffer from shin splints so need to ease up so think cycling is a good new sport to fit around my family life.

So should I do it? Is cycling a good hobby or should I save the dosh and keep on running? Help, I'm overthinking it and getting myself all worked up about making a decision!

<ditherer>

jollygoodthen Sat 19-Jul-14 15:41:57

The good: cycling can be addictive, so as it's a great way to get exercise, this belongs in the 'good' column.

The bad: cycling can be addictive, to the exclusion of neglecting family life – and in cases of extreme addiction, long distance events such as the London to Brighton, End to End, Race Across America, and What The Hell, Let's Just Go Around The World. So this belongs in the 'bad' column.

I'm not much of a runner other than to trains or away from bees, so can't help with that comparison.

MrsWolowitz Sat 19-Jul-14 15:45:22

I'm not much of a runner other than to trains or away from bees grin

I think I'm going to go for it. I really like to push myself and beat my last distance/time and my pig-headedness is knackering my shins so maybe I'll be able to get my 'beasting myself for no reason' fix from cycling without the shin abuse.

Doyouthinktheysaurus Sat 19-Jul-14 15:47:09

It's low impact, gets you out in the fresh air and it's good cardio exercise.

I've 2 bikes, but I prefer running. Cycling decent distances eats into my day too much and every time I decide to get my bike out the wind picks upgrin

I ended up out for nearly 4 hour rides when I was cycling good distances, that's a huge chunk of your day. Plus it's tricky to avoid busy roads. And I fell off.....that's the main reason I stopped, lost my nerve and ended up walking down hillsblush

I love running so I stick with that. I still fall over but the injuries aren't quite so dramatic!

RudyMentary Sat 19-Jul-14 17:50:09

Running vs Cycling?

You can do both! I love both for different reasons.

Running is quick, I can just pull on my stuff - bra and trainers the only essential kit, and go. If I run for too long/far I get injuries though and I'm aware that it's not something I will be able to do forever. I worry about impact on my joints.

Cycling is more time consuming but also a great method of transport so you can use it to actually go somewhere as opposed to just exercise and keep it up for longer
without injury. It's also fun! The downsides
are cost and time really.

If you need any advice about riding on roads do ask
me.

pootlebug Sat 19-Jul-14 21:54:04

Do a mix of running and cycling? That's what I do (and some swimming.....)

The good thing with a mix is:

- cycling is much lower impact, so mixing them up helps prevent running injuries whilst still keeping you fit
- if you're short of time, you can just go for a run
- cycling is better for getting from a to b though. If you can cycle to work etc you've got somewhere you needed to be anyway AND exercised already. Win win.
- If you cycle hard, it's great cardiovascular training and will help your running too in my experience.
- if it's shite weather you can run. I'd much rather run in windy rain than cycle
- you can learn to swim / improve your swimming, and do triathlon

Suzannewithaplan Sun 20-Jul-14 00:30:18

I find that Cycling is a bit like flying, running for me is always quite a slog.
Only downside I see is the danger of cycling on roads but I'm pretty lucky where I live with routes that avoid roads.

MrsWolowitz Sun 20-Jul-14 09:13:08

Thanks all.

I'm quite excited but scared of the whole cycling on roads aspect. Luckily the route to work is all 30mph and residential and for days off there are some lovely off-road tracks.

The bike I'm getting is a hybrid so will do both. I'm far to wimpy to get the clip in shoes though! Maybe one day I'll be brave enough to try them!

JoffreyBaratheon Tue 22-Jul-14 14:46:33

I used to run but it shot my knees. Now I cycle and have no problem at all.

Find I enjoy it so much I get out a lot more than if I was running - and instead of taking an hour out to jog (mainly pain and discomfort) I will take several hours out, go somewhere more interesting than I could ever have jogged to, and have a million times the fun... Also you get to look at bikes.

Lizzylou Tue 22-Jul-14 14:52:18

Like doyouthink, I hate the downhills! Have cried down some steep hills in sheer terror blush
If you have the nerve, I think it would be fab. Last year in France we took bikes and loved the cycle lanes through forests to lakes etc, was wonderful exercise for us all. But as I live in a very hilly area it is not going to happen here.

JoffreyBaratheon Tue 22-Jul-14 14:52:32

Ooh forgot to say but re. roads, the cyclists' bible is John Franklin's Cyclecraft.

Riding on roads has changed massively since I first did it in the 1970s... We used to ride in the gutter, virtually. Now, cyclists are encouraged to take a more assertive road position - which is safer. The new cycling proficiency, Bikeability, is based on this book too - there are also Bikeability courses for adults, I think, designed to make you more confident on the road. Might be worth asking in your local bike shop about these?

Chopstheduck Wed 23-Jul-14 11:43:43

I'm not much of a runner other than to trains or away from bees

On my bike, the bees run for ME! I got stung inside my mouth last week where one flew into my mouth. Swallowing insects has to be a big downside of cycling!

It can also get expensive - spares, upgrades, newer/better bikes, clothing... As for shoes - they are a lot easier to use than clips. I've never fallen with shoes, but I have got my feet stuck in clips and done the comical fall to the side. Nearly landed on a poor pedestrian.

I love cycling and running. I'm hoping to learn to swim properly too and do triathlon next summer.

Agree with the advantage that cycling actually gets you places. I cycle the kids to school, to the shops, to the gym, to the swimming pool, to their after school actvities. Anything within about a 5 mile radius with the kids, and 10 miles without. Saves a fortune on petrol and keeps the kids fit and active too. It's good for them to get in the habit of cycling - then they get THEMSELVES to places once old enough!

Sky rides do fantastic guided rides, either as a family, or without. They do women only rides too. Might be helpful for gaining road confidence. I hadn't really considered how much it has changed, but a more assertive position def makes the world of difference in road safety. I teach my kids to be assertive and considerate on their bikes.

Speed comes with experience and being used to your bike. I love coasting down a hill at 30mph - it is so exhilerating! But it took time to trust my bike enough to do that.

Cycling is also nicer than running in the heat - I find it really hard to run when it gets warm out, but cycling creates a nice breeze.

Suzannewithaplan Wed 23-Jul-14 12:01:10

If you very into it and treat yourself to an expensive bike locking and leaving it anywhere becomes less of an option.

I like running but would rather cycle. Once you have the bike, running costs are fairly low (unless you're doing 1000s miles per year). However, don't forget to factor in accessories, such as basket/panniers, lights, decent lock, helmet and high-viz gear.

If you want to gain confidence on roads, see if there's a training scheme nearby www.sustrans.org.uk/change-your-travel/get-cycling/cycle-training.

Enjoy!

Chopstheduck Wed 23-Jul-14 15:20:48

Suzannewithaplan - which is why you end up needing multiple bikes grin I wouldn't leave my road or mountain bike anywhere. My hybrid I think is fairly safe.

Suzannewithaplan Thu 24-Jul-14 09:34:04

Yes it seems that at least 3 bikes are necessary, although had I a garage that number would rise grin

Chopstheduck Thu 24-Jul-14 10:08:34

Oh, wouldn't it jsut! We don't have a garage neither sad And the dts are both angling for second bikes - we're going to end up needing a second shed I think!

Suzannewithaplan Thu 24-Jul-14 10:21:35

I live in a 3rd floor flat, how I wish I had a shed grin

Chopstheduck Thu 24-Jul-14 13:48:34

Oh no!

You need this Suzanne.

www.singletrackbikes.co.uk/m11b207s484p20851/Gear_Up_Off-The-Door_Single_Bike_Vertical_Rack/RS_GB

I tried to persuade Dh to let me have one so I could keep my road bike indoors bit he wouldn't lete sad

Suzannewithaplan Thu 24-Jul-14 16:54:51

wow, ingenious but also looks terrifying, thanks for the link grin (I keep all my bikes in my bedroom)

Happydutchmummy Thu 24-Jul-14 17:16:23

How long would it take you to cycle to work roughly? And what kind of roads will you be cycling on, are there any steep hills or off road tracks, etc? Will you need a mountain bike, a town bike, something with loads of gears, or is a bog standard bike going to be good enough.

There is no point in spending a gazillion pounds on a super duper tour the France racing bike for a short commute over residential roads, and you'll need to buy a really good lock if it's an expensive bike. Maybe try getting cheap bike off ebay and giv e it a month to see if cycling is for you.

The good - it's exercise without really knowing you're doing it. I view cycling as simple getting from a to b but my body is getting some cardio without my mind realising it.

The bad - depending on how much you push yourself (on the days you sleep through your alarm clock) or how gruelling the hills are you may arrive at work slightly sweaty. So pack some wetwipes and keep a spare shirt at work.

ThatBloodyWoman Thu 24-Jul-14 17:18:42

Good-its a great way to explore the countryside
Bad-its scary to think of falling off (wimp)

Suzannewithaplan Thu 24-Jul-14 22:58:18

Easy to carry stuff with you, put a rack on the bike and you can take water, keys phone, extra clothing, or shed clothing as you get too hot

I'm a distance cyclist and hate running (trying to get Into it though) so I'm massively biased.

Cycling is low impact, you cruelly get somewhere, bit of a thrill sport if you get into steep downhills and high speeds.

I graduated from just commuter cycling in London for years to moving to California and taking part in a 545mile ride each summer. Long distances DO take up a lot of time and I've ended up spending a pretty penny but to be honest only upgraded myself to a lovely road bike after years of commuting on a cheap hybrid, and it was my 30th birthday present! Gear you can get by with one or two kits and just wash and rotate, I never commuted in Lycra / only got into that (and clip in shoes and drop down handles) since starting to do long distances. I have a million kits now thanks to doing the big ride and getting fundraising incentives and riding for a team.

It's addictive though! I've promised not to do it this year as training takes up a lot of time and the ride itself takes a week and DH wants to do it so now I'm going to try my hand at crit racing and move from distances to speed.

Have also signed up for a triathlon (just a sprint for now) to try to encourage a running habit

Best thing about cycling is climbing a massive hill and the adrenaline and sense of achievement as you get to sit on your arse and still travel on your way down! At the top of a hill running I'm just knackered and have to run down the other bloody side in order to keep going

Also - I have kept my hybrid because I don't want to put a kids seat on my precious road bike and am constantly in flux about whether to cycle somewhere on my hybrid and lock it up happily or get here quicker and with more fun on my road bike then constantly panic I haven't locked it up tight enough.

I might sometimes love my bike more than I love my children blush

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