Join in an informal cycling ride

Informal cycling along the ‘black-topped’ Trans Canada Trail is proposed, starting Monday, Aug. 8 at 10 a.m.

Nigel James is ready to go cycling when you are!

Nigel James is ready to go cycling when you are!

We all know that exercise is good for us, but did you know that cycling is one of the best ways we can enhance our mental, physical, and overall health?

Riding a few times a week for just 30 minutes, or even occasionally, helps to build muscle strength, as well as improve your heart and lung functioning—not to mention the social aspect of friendship.

To encourage wellness and health in Grand Forks, informal cycling along the ‘black-topped’ Trans Canada Trail is proposed, starting Monday, Aug. 8 at 10 a.m. It is wise to avoid heavy traffic; also the heat of midday even though cyclists have built-in air conditioning.

As a trial, there will be two main meeting points on the initial route (or join-in en route). Arrive on cycle or by vehicle (remember to put your bike in the back!) in the west at the arena parking lot, and in the east at the Trans Canada Trail’s (TCT) parking on 68th Avenue.

Depart from the arena at 10 a.m., cycle towards the east via the TCT, through Ruckle, Second Street to TCTs parking (10:15, 4.5 kilometres), groups join, then by TCT to the nursery bridge (10:20, six kilometres).

For the beginning rides, it is suggested we turn around and follow the route in reverse to the arena (10:40, 12 kilometres), west-enders say “Adios”, then east-enders return to TCTs parking (10:55, also travelled 12 kilometres).

It is also proposed to have an evening ride —same route starting at 6:30 p.m., TCT parking at 6:45, home by 7:30 p.m.

Any bike is suitable providing it is safe.  Ordinary clothing is fine, a drink is useful, helmets should be worn as they are a legal requirement.

This is suitable activity for all ages and genders, though it is suggested 10 years for minimum age accompanied by an adult.

For the early rides, a guide will accompany and offer cycling tips and provide detailed history of the area (in fact, he will learn from long-standing residents). Following that, rides can be self-controlled.

Once abilities and desires are known, separate groups, speeds and routes can be developed especially on the quiet roads to the south towards and along Carson Road. After the ride, go for coffee, or minor shopping, or …

Any questions or comments can be sent to Nigel James at jamesng@telus.net or 250-442-8845.

If you’re still not convinced that cycling is one of the best healthy activities, just look at the benefits below:

Weight loss: Not only does cycling burn calories and fat, it helps build muscle too.  More muscle leads to an increased resting metabolic rate, which will give you more energy; also improved muscle function will help to tone your body and make you physically stronger.

Stress relief: Research has shown that exercise reduces stress levels, and cycling is no exception.

Help your heart: Cycling is known to reduce the risk of heart disease. Your rides will improve your cardiovascular system.

Sleep soundly: Incorporating cycling into your daily routine supports a healthier sleep pattern; it also helps rid your body of the stress hormone cortisol, which can prevent us from reaching a deep, regenerative sleep.

Improve Appearance: Cycling regularly can help reduce the signs of aging by increasing the circulation of oxygen and nutrients to skin cells—all while flushing out the harmful toxins in your system and improving collagen production for a younger looking appearance.

Other Benefits: Studies show that cycling aids in building new brain cells in the hippocampus—the area of the brain that functions as a memory gateway. Cycling activates immune cells which helps you to fight off infection. Research shows that women who cycle often can reduce their risk of breast cancer. Cycling improves your vascular health which in turn boosts your stamina.  Increased physical activity contributes to a better functioning digestive system.

Finally: Cycling is an activity you can do well into your elder years. As you age, cycling can help you stay active without over-taxing your body’s joints.