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Cycles have been in use ever since the 1800’s, but is cycling a hobby, or just something we do for occasional fun or exercise? It definitely can be a hobby, or a sport, or a workout, or a mixture of any of those. It’s got many widely endorsed physical and psychological benefits so there’s substantial backing for it to ramp it up on the preference chain in many different domains including what to choose as a hobby and/or as a workout.
So can cycling be considered a hobby? The answer is yes. Cycling can definitely be considered a hobby, and in fact, there are many individuals who are either mountain bikers, ridge explorers, bike hikers, or those who just like going about on a bike instead of walking. Not to forget all those bike adventurers and travelers.
Let’s explore different aspects of why cycling can be and is definitely a hobby and if you are a biker and want to be a hobbyist, then what can you do to make it a hobby.
Why it could be a hobby?
Everything physically demanding doesn’t necessarily have to be for workout purposes. That’s one of the factors that makes sports so attractive to people. It isn’t just a good workout, it’s a good sport.
Leisure biking can take on many different forms. It can be riding with a group of people or just solo riding through fun terrain. It isn’t so stressful on the body that you can’t try and notice all of the other things during the ride but also keeps you engaged physically (kind of like walking but more fun) so it’s a more complete hobby to be occupied by. You can cover relatively large distances and practice your cardio along the way to make sure you aren’t letting your body sag away too much. That combined with the relatively more directly engaging perspective of riding a bike (compared to driving, let’s say), feeling the wind through your hair and every bump along the way makes biking a more personally engaging and fun exercise/hobby.
Consider Mountain Biking
The particular type of biking that comes to mind when talking about taking up biking as a hobby is mountain biking. It can be a true and complete mix of physically demanding yet incredibly fun terrains where you normally wouldn’t wander into unless you’re going camping or hiking. It involves all sorts of bumpy, uneven, difficult-to-navigate-through sort of terrains combined with some inclines here and some downhill tracks there. There are a bunch of specialized mountain bike parks spread across the USA for people that aren’t afraid to try themselves (and their bikes). Overall it can be a demanding yet ultimately pleasing experience if taken up as a hobby. Of course, this might require a bit more investment but in return, the pay-off may very well be worth more than what you have to invest.
You might also be interested in: Everything Cyclists need to know about staying Hydrated.
Cycling for Workout
Biking for workouts can be talked about at great lengths. Biking and running (among other exercises) are virtually advised by every public health authorities including the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (the CDC). According to the CDC
“Only half of adults get the physical activity they need to help reduce and prevent chronic diseases.”
-Why it Matters| (CDC.gov)
Of course, there are precautions to take care of in every sport but these two, in particular, require almost no supervision on the person’s part as they aren’t very extreme, at least when kept under certain limits.
Comparing walking and biking, you can see very significant differences in the number of calories they tend to let you burn. Running on the more extreme side though does leave cycling behind when it comes to calorie burn but some may argue that it takes the leisure aspect out of the workout compared to biking.
Talking about these three is relevant as these three are probably among the most common and easy to take-up public exercises that people gravitate towards. And to put it plainly, walking’s fine, cycling’s better and running can be relatively tough.
Cycling doesn’t require as much time as you might think to make up your weekly dose of exercise. According to the Public Activity Guidelines for Americans (PAG), you should exercise up to 2 ½ hours of moderate-intensity workout every week. This should keep your body in shape and up to speed on the cardio front. There’s also a significance to (city or trek) biking being more of a lower-body exercise as it engages the largest muscle groups in the body. Studies have shown that larger muscle groups grow more compared to smaller muscle groups (like the biceps) when put through the increasing volume of workout. The quads are by far the largest muscle groups in the body followed by the gluteus Maximus, the gluteus Medius, and the gluteus minimus, collectively known as the ‘glutes’. The third is the calves. All of these muscle groups are engaged in biking so they can be great for lean muscle mass gain.
Calorie burn estimate table for biking/cycling
|Calories burned every 30 minutes for a person weighing 155 lbs.||221 Cal.||295 Cal.||369 Cal.|
Calorie burn estimate table for walking
|Calories burned every 30 minutes for a person weighing 155 lbs.||111 kCal.||122 kCal.||140 kCal.
As you can see, walking seems to have more of a limited calorie burn span compared to cycling (especially competitive cycling) and so puts a lower ceiling on you than what cycling may provide you with.
Efficiency and Economy
Another major reason people tend to take up cycling as a hobby is the economy of it. It can get you from here to there faster than walking or running and doesn’t cost you fuel (at least not from your own body) as a car might. Sure, you might have to leave a little early but on the upside, you’re incorporating exercise and practical application into a single activity which is a great marker for any hobby.
Biking at a moderate intensity can be 5 times faster than walking speed considering 2.5-3 mph as the normal walking speed and 12-15 mph as the moderate cycling speed.
You can start incorporating biking into your daily activities like going to school/ work or running errands to the local market. And once you know you’re into it, you can start going on 1-2 hour rides across town. Seeing the places you know are there but haven’t had the chance of visiting can be a great plus sign for a hobby. It familiarizes you with your potential routes and makes you more aware of what’s where. Overall, it’s a great way to start going about town especially if you plan to be on paved roads because race/road bikes can be super-efficient and considerably fast when you have to get somewhere in a jiffy.
Cycling is Eco-friendly
Cycling can be a great substitute for mainstream vehicles in larger cities because of the tendency of larger cities to develop a bad respiratory climate. The countries that adopted the bicycle trend early on and more or less stuck with it have been doing relatively better at keeping their climate more friendly than the countries that switched to fuel-burning vehicles.
Concern for the climate is neither a trivial nor a new thing but if it’s going to work, everybody will have to, in one way or the other, give their share to the common cause. The great thing about biking in cities that have relatively paved roads (as mentioned before) is that they’re considerably fast so they don’t slow you down much and once you have your routes down, you can get closer and closer to the timings you had to observe before you took up biking. It’s a great medium for public transport and can play a huge part in cleaning up the air as well as improving the health problems that are being seen develop across the world.
Is cycling a hobby? Depends on various factors but we have given you enough reasons to make it a hobby.
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