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Why You Should Cycle to Work

Cycling to work: major new study suggests health benefits are staggering

by Jason Gill, University of Glasgow and Carlos Celis-Morales, University of Glasgow

Research has consistently shown that people who are less physically active are both more likely to develop health problems like heart disease and type 2 diabetes, and to die younger. Yet there is increasing evidence that physical activity levels are on the decline.

The problem is that when there are many demands on our time, many people find prioritising exercise difficult. One answer is to multi-task by cycling or walking to work. We’ve just completed the largest ever study into how this affects your health.

Published in the British Medical Journal today, the results for cycling in particular have important implications. They suggest that councils and governments need to make it a top priority to encourage as many commuters to get on their bikes as possible.

Bicycle Racing Poster

Bicycle Racing Cycling Poster QuoteOff the Front - beautiful cycling poster on wooden panel. This is a unique work of art, with an original graphic design,  printed on superior quality birch wood. Choose from 10 sizes and create a statement piece that’s perfect for your office or your home. Ready to stand, or hang.

The findings

Cycling or walking to work, sometimes referred to as active commuting, is not very common in the UK. Only 3% of commuters cycle to work and 11% walk, one of the lowest rates in Europe. At the other end of the scale, 43% of the Dutch and 30% of Danes cycle daily.

To get a better understanding of what the UK could be missing, we looked at 263,450 people with an average age of 53 who were either in paid employment or self-employed, and didn’t always work at home. Participants were asked whether they usually travelled to work by car, public transport, walking, cycling or a combination.

We then grouped our commuters into five categories: non-active (car/public transport); walking only; cycling (including some who also walked); mixed-mode walking (walking plus non-active); and mixed-mode cycling (cycling plus non-active, including some who also walked).

We followed people for around five years, counting the incidences of heart disease, cancers and death. Importantly, we adjusted for other health influences including sex, age, deprivation, ethnicity, smoking, body mass index, other types of physical activity, time spent sitting down and diet. Any potential differences in risk associated with road accidents is also accounted for in our analysis, while we excluded participants who had heart disease or cancer already.

We found that cycling to work was associated with a 41% lower risk of dying overall compared to commuting by car or public transport. Cycle commuters had a 52% lower risk of dying from heart disease and a 40% lower risk of dying from cancer. They also had 46% lower risk of developing heart disease and a 45% lower risk of developing cancer at all.

Walking to work was not associated with a lower risk of dying from all causes. Walkers did, however, have a 27% lower risk of heart disease and a 36% lower risk of dying from it.

The mixed-mode cyclists enjoyed a 24% lower risk of death from all causes, a 32% lower risk of developing cancer and a 36% lower risk of dying from cancer. They did not have a significantly lower risk of heart disease, however, while mixed-mode walkers did not have a significantly lower risk of any of the health outcomes we analysed.

For both cyclists and walkers, there was a trend for a greater lowering of risk in those who commuted longer distances. In addition, those who cycled part of the way to work still saw benefits – this is important as many people live too far from work to cycle the entire distance.

As for walkers, the fact that their health benefits were more modest may be related to distance, since they commute fewer miles on average in the UK – six per week compared to 30 for cyclists. They may therefore need to walk longer distances to elicit meaningful benefits. Equally, however, it may be that the lower benefits from walking are related to the fact that it’s a less intense activity.

What now?

Our work builds on the evidence from previous studies in a number of important ways. Our quarter of a million participants was larger than all previous studies combined, which enabled us to show the associations between cycling/walking to work and health outcomes more clearly than before.

In particular, the findings resolve previous uncertainties about the association with cancer, and also with heart attacks and related fatalities. We also had enough participants to separately evaluate cycling, walking and mixed-mode commuting for the first time, which helped us confirm that cycling to work is more beneficial than walking.

In addition, much of the previous research was undertaken in places like China and the Nordic countries where cycling to work is common and the supporting infrastructure is good. We now know that the same benefits apply in a country where active commuting is not part of the established culture.

It is important to stress that while we did our best to eliminate other potential factors which might influence the findings, it is never possible to do this completely. This means we cannot conclusively say active commuting is the cause of the health outcomes that we measured. Nevertheless, the findings suggest policymakers can make a big difference to public health by encouraging cycling to work in particular. And we should not forget other benefits such as reducing congestion and motor emissions.

Some countries are well ahead of the UK in encouraging cyclists. In Copenhagen and Amsterdam, for instance, people cycle because it is the easiest way to get around town.

It was not always this way – both cities pursued clear strategies to improve cycle infrastructure first. Ways to achieve this include increasing provision for cycle lanes, city bike hire schemes, subsidised bike purchase schemes, secure cycle parking and more facilities for bicycles on public transport.

The ConversationFor the UK and other countries that have lagged behind, the new findings suggest there is a clear opportunity. If decision makers are bold enough to rise to the challenge, the long-term benefits are potentially transformative.

Jason Gill, Reader, Institute of Cardiovascular and Medical Sciences, University of Glasgow and Carlos Celis-Morales, Research Associate, Institute of Cardiovascular and Medical Sciences, University of Glasgow

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

Off the Front…

With two laps to go and the field stringing out under the pressure of riders trying to break off the front, he got the saddle and sprinted past the lead rider and out into the wall of wind…

He glanced back and saw no one had followed his attack. He slid back into the saddle, put his head down, knowing what had to be done.

He came out the last corner and glanced under his arm to see a gray bubbling blur, the field bunched behind him. He tucked down low and drove it to the finish line, legs and lungs burning…

Success soothes everything.

Nothing quite drives home an idea as quickly and as powerfully as visual art.  Off the Front is a striking and inspiring piece of art encapsulating the “secret” of success in cycling and in life.

Bicycle Racing Cycling Poster Quote

Soak in success every day…

Off the Front adorns your space with beauty, creating an environment of success.

  • Enjoy motivation and inspiration every day
  • A constant reminder of what is important
  • Beautifies your office and your home
  • A great conversation piece
  • Likely to make your fellow cyclists jealous

Each piece is printed on natural birch wood, giving each a unique and subtle wood grain texture.

  • Beauty of birch wood
  • Natural wood shows through on light areas
  • Includes anchors, screws and table stands so you can put it on display immediately

Check it out: Off the Front

Introducing “Monarch”: Vintage Cycling Tee Shirt

A new cycling tee shirt design from Velo Logic

The Monarch Model No. 10 bicycle was a steel-framed beauty with wooden rims, weighing in at 22 lbs. It was built by the Monarch Cycle Manufacturing Company in late 19th century Chicago.

Here at Velo Logic we love vintage and natural, and the No. 10 was both: built in 1894 of all natural steel, wood, rubber, and leather.

Velo Logic’s latest tee shirt design pays homage to this bicycle of a bygone era. The subtle earthy colors complement the natural cotton shirt. With the design on the front and the back, you get double the cool.

Vintage Cycling Tee Shirt "Monarch"
The “Monarch” is printed on a top quality tee. Comfortable, casual and loose fitting, our heavyweight t-shirt will easily become a closet staple. Made from 100% cotton, it wears well on anyone. This shirt is double-needle stitched to ensure it lasts and looks great for years.

Get your summer kick back gear here:

https://www.zazzle.com/z/y8a7l?rf=238429190391645040

Ladies Tank Dress

Why should guys have all the fun? Velo Logic’s designs look even better on ladies apparel. Check out the ladies jersey tank dress with “Monarch”.

Ladies Tank Dress with Cycling Design

Vintage Cycling Tee Shirt

Monarch Cycle Manufacturer

Monarch Cycle Mfg rose to become a prominent bicycle maker in the late nineteenth century. Here’s a bit of their history…

In 1889 John William Kiser, resigned went to Chicago, Ill., and became a manager at the Chicago Sewing Machine Company.

Kiser was practically without funds when arriving in Chicago, but with the energy of a young farmer and the brains of a captain of industry, he took advantage of the opportunities that confronted him and through untiring efforts, within a few years, he had accumulated a large fortune.

Out of the sewing-machine company came the Monarch Cycle Manufacturing Company, which was organized by Mr. Kiser in 1892 with a capitalization of $500,000. He was the president and majority stockholder. He seized the wonderful opportunity offered by the bicycle and made this concern one of the strongest in the field.

In 1899 Mr. Kiser sold the Monarch Cycle Manufacturing Company to the “Bicycle Trust,” and in so doing displayed that fine judgment which has crowned all his business ventures with such phenomenal success, for very shortly the crash came. He saw that the automobile would soon succeed the bicycle in popular esteem and so conserved his resources at the outset.

Source: https://chicagology.com/cycling/monarch/

Kiser was obviously a smart man who anticipated the car and got out at just the right time. Of course, after the auto craze tapered off, bicycles did make a comeback, but not to the heights of their previous glory.

Vintage / Retro Cycling and Bicycle Tee Shirts

Introducing “Velocipedes” – New Cycling Tee Shirt

Stay cool and look cool in Velo Logic’s latest cycling tee shirt.

A quality running tee shirt from New Balance featuring a classic design. Velocipedes is a one-of-a-kind cycling tee shirt only available from Velo Logic.

The Spring classics are underway, summer is just around the corner…. time to get your summer gear together. Velo Logic has you covered.

Velocipedes is now available exclusively from Velo Logic in the Velo Logic Store.  Paying homage to ye olde bikes of yesteryear, Velocipedes is unashamedly old, old school. With graphics on the front and the back, this turns heads whether you’re coming or going.

Cool Cycling Tee Shirt Design

With summer almost upon us, we wanted a shirt that not only looked good with short, jeans or on the trail, but also was light with a wicking technical fabric to keep us cool.

New Balance’s running shirt is perfect for summer. It’s cool and it looks casual. We specifically designed Velocipedes for the gravel gray version, but honestly, it looks great on white, green and everything in between.

With Velocipedes you can’t go wrong. You get a classic design on a top quality shirt made to last.

“Velocipedes” Cycling Tee Shirt on New Balance Performance Tee

“Velocipedes” Cycling Tee Shirt on Quality American Apparel Tee

Danny MacAskill’s Wee Day Out

Here’s a phenomenal new video from Scotland’s wunderkind on wheels, Danny MacAskill. Danny takes a train then rides across hill and dale to meet his dad. Danny’s creativity is on full display with some great moves and amazing sequences.

Bicycle Racing Poster

Bicycle Racing Cycling Poster QuoteOff the Front - beautiful cycling poster on wooden panel. This is a unique work of art, with an original graphic design,  printed on superior quality birch wood. Choose from 10 sizes and create a statement piece that’s perfect for your office or your home. Ready to stand, or hang.

Danny’s creativity is on full display with some great moves and amazing sequences that have never been seen before. Many of the shots are shown twice, so you can see the original shot, and then how it was done.

Watch right until the end. If you’ve ever wondered if Danny crashes… the outtakes will leave you in no doubt.

More Danny MacAskill Videos

Amateur Rider Relives Bygone Era on Vintage Bike

An amateur cyclist from London took on the daunting Haute Route Dolomites, a 900 km ride over some of Europe’s most intimidating climbs, on a retro single speed bicycle.

“I’m in awe of the largely forgotten cycling heroes of the early part of the 1900’s who tackled these climbs on old, heavy single speeds.” -Mike Gluckman

The Haute Route Dolomites is a challenge under the best conditions. The 7 day sportif includes a whopping 21,000 meters of climbing through the Swiss Alps. That wasn’t enough for Mike Gluckman, who wanted to experience what it was like for cyclists in the early 20th century, who rode single speeds.

Gluckman loaned a Bianchi L’Eroica from Bianchi fitted with a 48×23 gear combo, and hit the road.

Cyclist Tackles Swiss Alps on Vintage Single Speed Bicycle

Makes my 39×25 climbing gear look positively wimpish! Nice going Mike!

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Vuelta 2016 Stage 17: Hellish Climb to the Finish

Watch the final 10km of stage 17 of the Vuelta featuring a brutal climb at the end. The climb averages 10% but kicks up to a muscle lacerating 21% in places.

Quintana and Contador mercilessly attack Froome while he desperately tries to hang on…

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Cool Gifts for Cyclists
"The Amazing Machine" tee shirt highlights what a simple but fascinating machine the bicycle really is with the quote: "an ever-saddled horse that never eats."
Unique and Cool Gifts for Cyclists A collection of unique gift ideas for the cyclist in your life, sure to amuse, entertain and thrill. These are gifts that will remind them of their passion and of you for years to come. Read: Gift Ideas for Cyclists  

Attila Atay Training for the Cycling Speed Record

Not much to go on, but from what I can gather, Attila Atay is a 50 year-old Turkish cyclist attempting to break the cycling speed record.

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Common Cycling Injuries and How to Fix Them

We’ve all had it at some time, pain. And I don’t mean the sweet pain of going full gas, I mean the niggling, sometimes agonizing pain of a poor fit or misalignment.

Usually new cyclists are the most vulnerable, as they tend to go looking for a bike and either buy it used, regardless of size, or who buy their bikes from a clueless shop assistant who just wants to make a sale.

I bought my first bike from a very reputable local bike shop. The only adjustment they made was the seat height, but the bars were too narrow, the stem was too long, and due to the slightly awkward reach, my back and shoulders hurt. I just thought that was normal.

Bicycle Racing Poster

Bicycle Racing Cycling Poster QuoteOff the Front - beautiful cycling poster on wooden panel. This is a unique work of art, with an original graphic design,  printed on superior quality birch wood. Choose from 10 sizes and create a statement piece that’s perfect for your office or your home. Ready to stand, or hang.

It was a year later that I was fortunate to meet pro mechanic who ran a bike shop who measured and fitted me to a new bike…. and suddenly I was one with the machine and my cycling experience was completely transformed. Cycling became painless and a pleasure.

My go-to guy won’t sell you a bike until after he’s measured you. Then he’ll recommend a make and model based on your measurements and your style of riding. Then he’ll fit you on your new bike on a raised trainer and tweak everything while you ride. He’ll shim your shoes if you need it. The bike will be truly yours, it will fit like a glove.

Never underestimate the power of a good fit. It can optimize your power output, your aerodynamics and your comfort.

If things don’t feel quite right on your bike, I recommend getting fitted by a pro. But sometimes you can tweak just one thing on your bike and eliminate that nagging pain or discomfort. This guide shows you what to look for.

Common Cycling Injuries and How to Fix (and Prevent) Them

Infographic: Cycling Injuries and Bicycle Fit

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Bicycle Maintenance Repair Videos

From Novice to Pro, Bicycle Upgrade, Maintenance and Repair Instruction You Can Trust

Whether you want to learn more about your bike, feel confident on the road, save money, or you're considering becoming a pro bike mechanic, this bicycle repair course has got you covered.

Taught by pro bike mechanics and packed with insider shortcuts and tips, it covers everything from minor repairs to the heavy stuff... and makes it easy to follow along, step-by-step, so you're never confused or wondering what to do next.

If you want to have an entire video encyclopedia of bicycle repairs at your fingertips, that covers you in every situation, then this package is worth a close look.

"Much easier to follow than a book, comprehensive, and loaded with insider tips and shortcuts... these DVDs belong on every cyclist's bookshelf." -Velo Logic

Learn more about the DIY Bike Repair Course