Benefits of Cycling for Health

Since 96th edition of the Giro d’Italia, one of cycling’s three European grand tours (along with the Tour de France and the Vuelta a Espana), took place a few weeks ago there was renewed attention on the benefits of cycling for health.

Here are ten of the most significant benefits of cycling for health:

  1. First, and perhaps most important, cycling is a great low-impact mode of exercise. This is important for people who are just starting to exercise that may not be in the best of shape, people with joint conditions, people with injuries to the legs or hips, and individuals who are overweight. Since approximately 70% of a cyclist’s body weight is distributed through the saddle and handlebars instead of through the rider’s ankles, cycling offers a cardiovascular workout without stressing weight-bearing joints. There’s compelling evidence that cycling benefits people with very low initial physical fitness and that it can cause considerable reductions in cardiovascular-disease mortality.
  2. Compared to other forms of exercise, cycling is one of the most convenient. Swimming requires a pool. Weight lifting means a purchasing costly equipment, or at the least, a gym membership and a commute. The only expense associated with cycling is a bike. An exercise routine that is convenient is more likely to be adhered to than one that requires lots of preparation. Not only can cycling be easily incorporated into daily life, but the exercise can be done at varying intensities and has few side-effects. Although cycling gear could be moderately expensive, you can always protect yourself against crash damage or theft by buying a bicycle insurance policy.
  3. There are numerous studies detailing the many health benefits of cycling as a form of exercise. These include reduced body fat, better sleep quality and lowered risk of Type 2 diabetes.
  4. According to Preventive Medicine, cycling regularly has been proven to reduce anxiety, depression and stress. Scientists say regular aerobic exercise such as cycling has been shown to decrease overall levels of tension, elevate and stabilize moods, and improve self-esteem.
  5. Cycling helps you live longer too. According to the Archives of Internal Medicine, found at Consumer.org,  “a 15-year study associates cycling with a 40% reduction in mortality for both males and females over all ages.”
  6. Another way cycling is good for your heart is that it improves the ratios between good (HDL) and bad (LDL) cholesterol. According to MayoClinic.com, exercises like bike riding can help reduce bad cholesterol and increase good cholesterol.
  7. Riding your bike is an excellent way to gain improved cardiovascular fitness, as well as a lower your risk of coronary heart disease.
  8. Cycling is also a safe exercise alternative for expecting mothers. Bicycling magazine claims that women who cycle while pregnant improve their overall cardiovascular fitness and that regular exercise may ease childbirth.
  9. A 1998 study conducted by Allot & Lomax and the Policy Studies Institute found that since bike riding is an activity that doesn’t require you to bear your own weight it is a much safer form of exercise than other methods. The study also discovered that regular cycling leads to improved muscle strength and improved mobility and coordination.
  10. Last but not least, cycling is fun. Not only can riding your bike put you in a good mood, but it’s also a proven stress reliever. In fact, a study published in the Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics journal found that cycling boosted energy levels by 20 percent and decreased fatigue by 65 percent. The lead author of the study, Patrick O’Connor, Ph.D., a professor of kinesiology at the University of Georgia at Athens, claims that cycling causes your brain to release dopamine, which is linked to energy.

Although you may not win the Giro d’Italia or the Tour de France, if you commit to including cycling as part of your routine, there’s no doubt you’ll end up a winner in the health department! To stay protected, get a free and easy bicycle insurance quote.


2Toms Donates 10% of Profits to the Bikes Belong Foundation

Through the ‘Be a Hero Challenge,’ 2Toms donated 10% of Profits from Online Orders made between 11/23 and 12/21 to Bikes Belong Foundation, the group that works to encourage more children to ride and make bicycling safer.

We are proud to announce that our virtual fundraising event called ‘Be a Hero Challenge’ was a great success. Through this challenge we encouraged our customers to buy 2Toms products online and then donate them to a group in need, such as School Athletic Departments, Sporting Groups, Churches, Community Centers, or Youth Programs. In return, 10% profits from this effort were given to the Bikes Belong Foundation.

“We’re very pleased at the outcome of our fundraising efforts,” says Katie Smith, Director of Operations at 2Toms. “Our online community consists of runners, cyclists, endurance racers and professional athletes. We knew our online community would be more than willing to help the Bikes Belong Foundation.”

To learn more about the Bikes Belong Foundation, visit them online at http://www.bikesbelong.org/bikes-belong-foundation/.

All of us at 2Toms thank those that participated in the Be a Hero Challenge to help us donate to this great cause.


How the Chrissie Wellington’s book ‘Life Without Limits’ changed my day.

I went to the cycle shop, Center Cycle, this week with the goal of test-riding a road bike. It’s a huge store and the smell of bike tires smacks you in the face when you walk in. But it’s a friendly store I’ve been in before, although just to look.

On this day, an easygoing guy named David helped me figure out what bike might be in my price range.

I tried one inside the big shop–down and back on the shiny, squeaky cement floor. I had not been on a road bike since the 8th grade. I am 35. I was happy I didn’t fall in front of all the men in the shop…or my mom, who was visiting from California (yes, I dragged her bike shopping).

I was also surprised at the lightness compared to my beast of a mountain bike at home. I handed the first bike back over to David. That’s when he offered to let me ride a bike outside. By myself. As luck would have it, it was clear and dry out in Seattle in December. But I got nervous.

“Oh, I forgot my helmet,” I said, stupidly.

He waved his arm around the cavernous store. “We’ve got one.”

Crap. I wanted to ride the bike outside, but at the same time, I didn’t want to. I declined the offer.

How the Chrissie Wellington’s book ‘Life Without Limits’ changed my day.

I am reading Chrissie Wellington‘s book “A Life Without Limits.” The only thing I knew about her, before starting her book, was that she won the Ironman World Championships in 2007 as a newcomer to triathlon.

But if you read the Chrissie Wellington book you’ll find out that she was no newcomer. Maybe combining the three sports in one race was relatively new for her, but she’d been a swimmer pretty much from birth, and running fast seemed to come naturally when she first started. She also biked all over Tibet and Nepal, among other places!

This is a woman who has been on more adventures already (and I’m only up to the year 2005 in the book) than I’ll ever go on in my entire life. And we are the same age!

Tonight, something struck me while reading Chrissie’s story.

She’s not afraid to try.

And whenever she tries anything, she usually surprises herself at how well she does.

I am happy to report that I tried riding the bike outside. I changed my mind. I decided I would try. I won’t say I wasn’t hesitant, though.

As I walked the bike out of the store, I looked back at my mom. I was secretly hoping she would follow me outside into the 32-degree weather just to make sure I would be okay. But she was looking at a rack of jackets.

This bike was a little taller and bigger than the first one I rode inside a few minutes before. (I have a long torso.) I swung my leg over and, in my jeans, rode off through the nearly empty parking lot.

As I pedaled through turns and on a long straightaway, shifted and braked, I felt completely at home. Riding the road bike felt more natural than my mountain bike. I felt light, fast and not timid at all.

I was very happy and completely surprised.


Perfect Gifts for Bikers

Not to be out done by our last Holiday GIft Guide.  I wanted to make sure we put together one for our cycling community as well.  Now, of course this won’t encompass everything that there is.. This is just a few of our choices and we had alot more.  But really.. I didn’t think you’d want 50 options!

So for your bikers..

 

Give the gift of BUTT RELIEF!!  2Toms ButtShield allows for no more pain from saddle sores and chafing You’ll be the hero of the day helping your cyclist to go longer and further with more comfort!

 

 

Afraid of your cyclist getting hit when biking at night?  Give them the gift of safety with the Blinky Safety Set by  PlanetBike.  These lights help them be seen by motors and give them a safer riding experience.

 

 

Know someone that is always losing stuff?  Maybe they need a safe place for their ID, keys and phone?  Topeak, a UK company, has the top saddlebag wedges on the market.  It would make YOU happy to not have to worry anymore!

 

Riders clothes STINK!  Make your biker more confident with  2Toms Stink Free Sports Detergent! Our odor eliminator is guaranteed to remove the smell left by sweat in those stinky, smelly biking gear!!

 

 

 

 

Keep your rider warm this winter with Pearl Izumi socks.  You can never have to many socks right?  Pair this with 2Toms Stink Free Detergent and you’ll be on the way to saving your favorite cyclist money all thru the new year.

 

 

 

And don’t forget that as part of our 2012 Holiday Season…2Toms is pledging to donate 10% of profits of all online orders placed NOW thru 12/21 to Bikes Belong Foundation

       

Bikes Belong Coalition launched the Bikes Belong Foundation that focuses on:
  • Bicycle safety projects
  • Children’s bicycle programs

“Now is the time to encourage more children to ride and make bicycling safer. The two go hand-in-hand..”   Click here to Learn More.

 

Hope this helps in your holiday shopping.. and don’t forget to check back next week for our “Gifts for Hikers” Guide.  Please feel free to add other products to out list as well!!

 

Happy Holidays!


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2Toms Launches ‘Be a Hero’ Fundraising Challenge to Benefit the Bikes Belong Foundation

This Season, the 2Toms Customer is the Hero. 10% of Profits from Online Orders made between 11/23 and 12/21 will go directly to Bikes Belong Foundation, the group that works to encourage more children to ride and make bicycling safer.

The ‘Be a Hero’ fundraising challenge is easy. You can be the hero by purchasing any of the 2Toms products online to donate to local School Athletic Departments, Sporting Groups, Churches, Community Centers, Youth Programs, or stock up for yourself.

The Bikes Belong Foundation is such a wonderful organization that creates great programs to make bicycling safer and get more kids riding. This year we wanted to do something a little different and get you (our favorite customer) involved in our charitable donations by making YOU a hero in your community. Together, we can give generously to the Bikes Belong Foundation and many other local groups in need.

As an added benefit, we’re is offering Free Shipping on US web orders placed between 11/23 – 11/26. To help us in our effort to raise funds for the Bikes Belong Foundation, place your order on our website anytime starting Friday, 11/23 through Friday 12/21/12.

To learn more about the Bikes Belong Foundation, visit them online at http://www.bikesbelong.org/bikes-belong-foundation/.


How to Choose Your Best Bike Seat

Having your bum go numb on your bike is frustrating. Your legs are willing to go, but you just can’t, er, stand to sit any longer. I’m hoping to complete a triathlon next summer, so I’m spending a lot of time on my bike now in order to become comfortable with cycling. While my mind and legs are getting used to being on two wheels, my behind is not.

I know someone who is training for an Ironman. She went on a 4-hour ride the other day. Four hours in a bike seat?! But, according to Selene Yeager in her book Every Woman’s Guide to Cycling, a good bicycle seat can be as comfy as an easy chair.

Finding the right bicycle saddle is about trial and error. Some bike shops even let you take a bike seat home to try for a certain period of time.

Here are a few things about bike seats and what you should know to choose the best one for you:

Bike Seat Shapes & Cutouts

There are many shapes of bike saddles. An article in Bicycling magazine describes the general differences between bike seat shapes for men and women: “The ischial tuberosities, or sit bones, of females are generally more widely spaced than those of males – hence women-specific saddles are wider.” The article, “How to Choose A Saddle,” says this about choosing one “…a sweat that’s too wide will chafe and rub, while one that’s too narrow will make you feel like you’re straddling a banister.”

Some bike saddles have cutouts to help relieve pressure on the perineum, which helps, but the goal for cyclists is to try to sit back and put most of their weight on their sit bones, says Matt Russ, an elite coach, in the article “Selecting the Right Bicycle Saddle,” on BeginnerTriathlete.com. “In my experience, once acclimated, some of the most comfortable saddles have very little padding,” he says. “Some saddles have a cutout or center channel that is designed to increase arterial blood flow or remove nerve pressure. This design does transfer weight to other areas of the saddle, but may be just the thing needed to resolve numbness issues.”

Seat Position

Surprisingly, or not, saddle position can make or break your ride. Coach Russ says if you’re sliding forward, the seat may be titled down too much. “For a recreational cyclist, a saddle that is nearly level may be appropriate, whereas a triathlete or time trialist may require a downward tilt of several degrees to accommodate their lower torso angle.” Place a level on the seat before you adjust it.

Choosing a New Bicycle Saddle

REI, the outdoor retail store specializing in hiking, cycling and running, has a few tips helpful tips in the article “How to Choose a Bike Saddle.” Here are their tips and a short interpretation of each:

  • “Don’t get the saddle your friend recommends.” Everyone is shaped differently.
  • “Consider the way you ride.” Soft doesn’t mean more comfortable; it depends on the type of riding you’ll be doing. But fit is important. Aggressive riders need aggressive saddles. A groove or cutout will help take pressure off the perineum, the area between the sit bones that can be damaged if you spend too much time on the wrong seat.
  • “Don’t ‘kick the tires.’” The best way to test a saddle, is to put it on a bicycle and ride around on it. Most stores will let you test bike seats this way. When testing it, try different positions, go over bumps – really test it out.
  • “Check out the rails.” The rails attach the seat to the seat post and they can make a difference in the comfort of your saddle. Most rails are made of chromoly, but more high-performance titanium rails provide a smoother ride overall.
  • “Look at the saddle’s construction.” REI says good saddles will feature cover material made of premium or synthetic leather. They will have impact guards on the rear and scuff guards on the side of the seat. The rails will be made of titanium or manganese, and the seat will weigh approximately 400 grams or less.