In 2020, Canada and the rest of the world experienced a cycling boom when COVID-19 hit. All of a sudden, people who hadn’t ridden in years, or even since childhood, hopped on their bikes and got out on the road. If you haven’t joined the cycling world yet, here are some reasons to do so in 2021. Tell your friends, your family and anyone else who you want to give cycling a try—there are many reasons to get started in this fun and challenging sport.
1. It’s something to do
Other than working, watching TV and eating, there’s not much to do during lockdown. Cycling, especially on a trainer, is a safe activity that will give you something to mix things up during these strange times.
2. It helps you create good habits
Do you find yourself hitting the snooze button over and over again until you only have five minutes to get ready for work? Cycling can break you out of that trend, and morning rides will help you become an early-riser. We’re not saying you’ll like getting out of bed before the sun has come up, but you’ll at least get better at it.
3. You get to join a new community
Whether you join a cycling club (when it’s safe ride in groups again), find some cycling buddies online or stick to riding on your own, you’ll automatically become part of the greater cycling community.
4. It’s addictive
Like any type of exercise, cycling releases endorphins and dopamine in your brain, causing you to feel joy and reward when you get into the habit of riding.
5. You can test out racing virtually
When you connect your bike to an indoor trainer, programs like Zwift allow you to race against cyclists at your level from around the world. These are perfect for the current event-less year, but even in normal times they’re a great way to dip your toes in the racing pool. You don’t have to commit a full day of getting to and from an event you’re not even sure you’ll enjoy.
6. It’s not indoors
Looking for an exercise option that you can do without being in a stressful indoor situation? Gyms and cycling studios are closed in most provinces, but this year outdoor cycling is an appealing alternative for those looking to get some exercise with a low-risk of exposure to others.
7. It’s a great way to explore
You can test out all kinds of cycling. Will you be into road, gravel, cyclocross, mountain biking, touring or another type of cycling? Will you stick to shorter local rides, exploring the hills in your area, or will you work toward touring distances and long full-day summer rides? It’s a world of opportunity out there, and you get to explore it.
8. You can make it a family (or household) activity
You can rope your family or roommates into becoming cyclists, too. It’ll be the start of your own exclusive cycling club, and a great way to push and encourage each other to exercise.
9. You can also go alone
You also have the option to ride all alone. We get it, you’re stuck at home with the same people day after day. Cycling can be your daily break from everyone else as you get some alone time. It’s a nice way to clear your head and reflect.
10. See what you can accomplish
You’re starting fresh in this sport. Get going and see what you can work up to in the coming months.
11. You can go at your own pace
In other sports (like stick-and-ball sports), you have to keep up with everyone else. In cycling, you can go at whatever pace you like. There’s no pressure to do anything you don’t want to do.
12. You can compete with yourself
You’re your own biggest competitor. It can be fun to first set and then beat your own personal bests.
13. It’ll get you into watching cycling
Watching the Tour de France isn’t very exciting when you don’t know what’s going on. But once you know what it’s like to climb a 10 per cent hill, and push yourself on the road, WorldTour races will become must-see events.
14. It’s exercise and transit
One of the biggest benefits of cycling is that no only will it give you exercise, it will also get you from point A to point B. It’s way cheaper than public transit or gas and with many provinces doing pick-up only from stores you won’t even have to lock your bike.
15. You won’t be the only new one
So many people have started cycling this year, so you’ll know that you’re in good company.
16. Cyclists are always ready to give advice
There’s a lot to learn about equipment, training, where to ride and what to bring with you. If you know anyone who rides regularly, chances are they’ll be happy to chat about cycling with you. The difficult part will be getting them to stop talking about bikes.
17. It’s just fun
Nothing feels quite the same as riding a bike.
A version of this article appeared in runningmagazine.ca