The Impressive Benefits of Riding to Work in Brisbane

Some people ride to work just because it’s fun, but it provides so many other benefits, like increased wellbeing and convenience… And get this, it can reduce your risk of developing heart disease by almost half!

That’s pretty amazing…

But if you need more than just fun to get you on your bike, these impressive benefits are sure to get you cycling to work in Brisbane in no time.

Benefits of cycling to work infographic

Source – Queensland Government

Experience the outdoors: Brisbane is a beautiful city and enjoys wonderful weather all year round, but for the majority of us, working means 8 hours stuck inside a building. Riding to work allows you to get out and experience the outdoors and feel more alive. That’s extremely beneficial.

Improves overall physical health and fitness: Riding is a great aerobic activity, giving your lungs, blood vessels and heart a workout. It also offers other health benefits, including:

    • Improved joint mobility
    • Stronger bones
    • Increased cardiovascular fitness
    • Stronger heart muscles
    • Reduced resting pulse rate
    • Lower blood fat levels

As a result of these health benefits, cycling lowers your health risks: Research has found that riding to work can lower the risk of various health problems including heart disease and cancer. 

Improves strength: Cycling improves muscle strength, coordination and balance, and because it’s a low impact activity, it’s great for people with joint issues such as osteoarthritis. Allowing them to keep active without doing damage.

Supports positive mental health: Mensline Australia promotes cycling as one of the best exercise activities for positive mental health. Cycling offers exercise and exposure to the outdoors, this combination is especially beneficial in:

    • Improving mood due to the fun and wellbeing created from cycling, also known as the ‘cycling high’.
    • Better sleep. We all sleep a little better when we exercise regularly.
    • Improves memory by building new brain cells.
    • Promoting a new way of thinking which increase the feeling of wellbeing.

Time-saving: We all hate wasting time sitting in peak hour traffic. Riding to work avoids all that, it’s predictable, you reach your destination in the same amount of time every day. And for distances of under 5km, cycling can even be quicker than by car.

Money-saving: It’s easy to see that it’s much cheaper to buy and maintain a bicycle than a car. It also saves transport costs, riding a bicycle 10km each way to work each day will save about $1,700 per year in transport costs (including all running costs and depreciation)” – Queensland Government. 

Riding to work a couple of times a week provides all the exercise you need, so there’s no need to spend money on the gym.

Environmentally friendly: Requiring no petrol and producing no harmful emissions, cycling to work is a great way to do your bit for the environment.

If you’ve ever wanted to ride to work in Brisbane, this list of impressive benefits should give you the push needed to take the next steps and start seriously considering riding to work.

And if you’re wondering about bike storage options in Brisbane, contact the team at cycle2city, we have wonderful facilities right in the heart of Brisbane. Get in touch or GRAB A FREE 7 DAY TRIAL.


Don’t Try Riding To Work Without Reading This First

So you’ve seen them riding to work, and you want desperately to be one: the content cyclists, cruising past traffic and happily getting to work on time and getting fit at the same time.

They’re not at the mercy of the bus that may or may not show up, or stuck in time zapping traffic. They know when they cycle to work it takes the exact same time each day.

But before you get on your bike and join them, here’s a few key points that will make your first ride to work all the better:

Commute to work safely:

Safety is a major concern when cycling to work, but there are plenty of things you can do to make it safer for yourself, these include:

  • Stay alert
  • Know the cycling road rules for your state
  • Avoid busy roads
  • Take the bike path if possible, even if it’s a little longer
  • Take your time
  • Wear bright, highly visible clothing
  • Make eye contact with drivers and pedestrians
  • Be aware of vehicle blind spots
  • Maintain a roadworthy bike

Don’t go too hard too soon:

For a short ride, you could ride to and from work straight up. But as with anything, it’s a good idea to start out slow when riding to work for the first time….

Totally wasting yourself on your first day will only put you off ever riding again, and you’ll likely be unable to move properly for the next few days.

For longer commutes of 45 – 60 minutes, think about riding one way for the first day and building up your rides as you become fitter. Another option is to drive some of the way, park, and cycle the rest, making the ride more doable.

Wear bike pants:

You’ve seen them, those baggy bottomed pants cyclist wear…

Consider getting some!

There are plenty of stylish options out there and they’ll really make your ride much more comfortable.

Do a test ride:

Getting to know the route you’ll take to work ahead of the big day, will remove the fear of the unknown and provide confidence. 

If you don’t have the option to store your bike in your office or building, you can also test out where you’ll park your bike. Or you could look into ‘end of trip’ bike facilities like those offered by cycle2city in Brisbane. These facilities can make your ride absolutely hassle-free.  

Now you’re equipped with a little more knowledge to make your first ride to work a pleasure. For a deeper look at preparing to ride to work, check out our recent blog.

If you’re considering riding to work in Brisbane, contact the team at cycle2city, we have wonderful bike storage facilities right in the heart of Brisbane. Get in touch or GRAB A FREE 7 DAY TRIAL.

 


8 Things to Consider Before You Ride To Work

So, you’re thinking about riding to work…

You’d love to whizz past the traffic and people waiting at the bus stop, happy in the knowledge there’s nothing slowing you down on your way to work. Or perhaps you’re keen to get fit without spending hours at the gym each week. 

There are so many benefits to riding to work, even if it’s just a few times a week…

But before you get on your bike and start pedalling to work, it’s important to stop and get prepared. This article lists 8 things to consider before you ride to work.

Level of fitness:

The health benefits of cycling are well known and it may be the main reason you’re interested in riding to work. Cycling suits any level of fitness, and it’s important to know your limits when first starting out. You don’t want to go too hard too soon and end up hurting yourself. 

Equipment:

Cycling is pretty simple, the necessities are a bike and a helmet. But there is more to consider to remain safe while cycling, such as:

  • A bike that is set-up for your body size is ideal
  • Bicycle lock
  • Correctly fitting helmet, it’s illegal to ride without one
  • Front and rear lights for riding at night
  • Well maintained brakes and chain 
  • Spare tube & well-equipped tool bag
  • Comfortable seat
  • Panniers to carry things if needed, but a backpack is fine

Plan your ride:

The aim here is to avoid heavy, fast traffic and narrow roads and to work out which route suits your level of fitness and time constraints. You can access bikeway and ride information from your local council and online. Ask other cyclists for route information and consider taking a test ride on the weekend. If you live further away from work, consider driving part of the way and riding from a distance that you’re comfortable with.

Safety:

This is the number one consideration when cycling. Here are some tips to protect yourself when riding to work:

  • Remain alert
  • Wear a helmet
  • Dress to be seen, fluorescent colours are great
  • Be prepared for the weather
  • Use rearview mirrors
  • Avoid fast or heavy traffic areas and narrow roads
  • Ride with traffic, never against it
  • Follow the road rules
  • Use signals
  • Don’t be in a rush

What to wear:

You can ride in work clothes, change at work or use end-of-trip facilities, such as city2cycle in the heart of Brisbane. Unrestrictive, light, and comfortable clothing are ideal and bright colours for maximum visibility are wise. 

How to carry your stuff:

For light loads, a backpack or bike basket is fine, but for heavier items panniers (bags secured to the sides of bikes) are perfect

Where to store your bike:

Depending on your situation, there are a few options for the safe storage of your bike at your place of work or nearby. These include:

  • Inside the office, ask the boss first
  • Lock your bike on the street. This is not ideal because of the possibility of theft, not only of your bike but of the accessories attached to it. A good bike lock is important.
  • End of trip cycling facilities where for a fee you not only can store your bike but can have a shower, store shoes and clothes in a locker and even get your bike serviced while you’re at work.
  • Bike storage parking where you rent a space to store your bicycle safely undercover.

Looking fresh for the office: 

Sweat patches and helmet hair are not a good look at work, but these things are easily avoided by a bit of planning. Here a few tips to look your best after a ride to work:

  • Become a member of an end of trip cycling facility near work like cycle2city in Brisbane. Where you can safely store your bike and then spruce up for work using their showers, towels, lockers and even blow dryers.
  • Pack a comb and gel or dry shampoo to easily remove the helmet hair look
  • Freshen up using face or body wipes, they remove dirt and sweat in a flash.
  • Avoid wearing makeup on your ride and apply when you arrive at work
  • Avoid using a backpack as this often ends in a sweaty back

There are so many benefits of cycling to work, and by considering these 8 things before you get on your bike your commute will be all the better.

If you’re wondering about bike storage options in Brisbane, contact the team at cycle2city, we have wonderful facilities right in the heart of Brisbane in King George Square. Get in touch or GRAB A FREE 7 DAY TRIAL.


Become a Better Cyclist: Nutrition Basics

Good nutrition and a balanced diet is important for everyone, but you could argue that it is even more important for those who are active; particularly if you’re actively trying to improve at your sport!

Having a basic understanding of nutrition is important from a health perspective, so let’s jump in!

What are macronutrients?

Protein, carbohydrates and fat are called “macronutrients” because they are needed in relatively large amounts. They have slightly different functions in your body.

As cliche as it sounds, protein really is your body’s building blocks. It is made up of 20 different amino acids – some essential, and some non-essential – and is responsible for repairing, maintaining and growing tissue, including muscle tissue.

Protein is found in almost all foods, but complete and essential amino acids are really only found in meat and dairy products. Legumes, tofu and other vegan protein sources are great dietary additions, but have a lowered ability to repair and grow muscle tissue.

Carbohydrates are your quickest energy source, and will make up the majority of the daily caloric intake for most people. Carbs, as they’re also known, can be further segmented into sugars, starches and dietary fiber.

Carbs are converted to simple sugars like glucose and fructose in your small intestine and can quickly be released into your bloodstream for a burst of energy. It can also be converted into glycogen and stored for when you need it later – particularly during exercise!

Food sources that contain carbohydrates in spades include bread, pasta, vegetables and fruits, and all sorts of sweets.

Dietary fats, like carbohydrates, can be divided into several subcategories: saturated fats, polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats, trans fats, and cholesterol. It is a complex and confusing topic in and of itself.

Sources of  “healthy” fats include avocados, fish, nuts and seeds, and cooking oils like olive oil. Saturated fats and trans fats are the types that you’ll want to limit, which is found in all the tasty foods we love: chips, bacon, butter, ice cream, pies, pastries, pizza and burgers.

What are micronutrients?

The reason for micronutrients’ name is the same as macronutrients; they are needed in small doses, usually less than 100 milligrams per day. Examples of micronutrients are vitamins like vitamin A, B, C – and so on – and minerals like iron and zinc.

Multivitamin tablet may be the most common dietary supplement in the world, though it is largely regarded as unnecessary unless you have nutritional deficiencies that you cannot adapt to. If you’re a healthy individual with a balanced and nutritious diet, you are probably already covering your micronutrient needs.

Image source: Examine.com

What should I eat before a ride?

Carbohydrates are especially good before working out, as its energy is easily converted and used by the body for the energy you’ll need to get through strenuous exercise! Adding a source of protein to your pre-workout meal is also a great idea, as it will help your body repair the stress you put on your muscle tissue when exercising.

Caffeine is the most common performance enhancing drug in the world, and has a long list of physical and cognitive effects, including increased alertness and increased strength output. Consider having a cup of coffee or tea before hopping on the bike.

What should I eat after a ride?

Post-workout nutrition is arguably more important than what you eat beforehand. This is the meal that will help repair muscle tissue and replenish the energy you just spend!

A well balanced meal is in order here: protein will repair and rebuild muscle tissue, carbohydrates will help replenish the energy (glycogen) stored in your muscles, and fat will give you that long-term energy to keep you going for hours more.

As big advocates of weekend rides with friends and family, a classic Aussie cafe breakfast is pretty ideal! Smashed avo on toast with bacon or a generous helping of savoury mince should cover all of your needs and keep you going for the rest of the day!

If you want more in-depth information regarding nutrition, you can read the Australian dietary guidelines online here.

This blog is a part of our Become a Better Cyclist series. You can find the previous entries here:

 

 

 

This blog does not provide medical advice. It is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the cycle2city blog. Consult your GP before making changes to your exercise regimen or diet.


Become a Better Cyclist: Is HIIT or LISS the Best Way to Get in Shape?

In this blog we will take a closer look at two of the most dominant forms of cardio: HIIT and LISS. What do the acronyms mean, why should you do them, and which is better for getting in shape?

What is HIIT?

HIIT is an acronym for High Intensity Interval Training. As the name implies, HIIT revolves around doing cycles of high intensity – typically around 90-95% effort or heart rate – followed by short rest periods.

Sprints (on foot or on your bike), swimming and rowing can all be excellent HIIT exercises. It can be configured in a number of different ways, with one of the more common options being four intervals of 4 minutes broken up by two minutes of active rest between. Going for shorter and more intense cycles is also possible, where 1:20 of intense effort followed by 40 seconds of rest is popular.

HIIT’s leads to short, but intense workouts that can be completed in 20 minutes or less. It will greatly increase your stamina, and the intense effort will be very demanding for your muscles. Don’t be surprised if your legs feel like jell-o for a couple of days afterwards!

What is LISS?

LISS, the acronym for Low Intensity Steady State, is opposite HIIT on the cardio spectrum, and it is a far more common way of exercising.

Less physically taxing than its above counterpart, LISS involves steady exertion over a longer period of time, usually somewhere around 40-65% of your heart rate. This is how our wonderful members commute to work, and can also be done through brisk walking, jogging and swimming.

You typically won’t have periods of rest when doing a LISS workout (though there’s nothing wrong with that), and it can last for as short as 30 minutes and as long as several hours. LISS will burn more calories than HIIT due to lasting much longer, but will be less efficient in increasing your maximal oxygen uptake.

Is HIIT or LISS the Best Way to Get in Shape?

The two are often seen as diametrically opposed training styles. In reality, the fact that they have different strengths and weaknesses means that they complement each other very will. Doing both will likely be better for you than doing just one.

During aerobic training such as LISS, the intensity is low enough that oxygen is constantly available to your muscles. HIIT and other anaerobic exercise is performed at a high enough level of intensity that the body relies on additional energy stores like ATP (adenosine triphosphate) and glycogen to fuel the body instead of just oxygen.

Doing HIIT workouts and pushing into your body’s red zone, so to speak, will increase your VO2 max, your maximal oxygen uptake. Both exercise styles will burn calories and fat, and help maintain a healthy heart and strong muscles.

In the end, the only “best” way to get in shape is to find a form of exercise that you enjoy enough that you will stick to it and continue doing it! For most people, it is irrelevant that HIIT is better at increasing your VO2 max. The most important thing you can do is choosing a form of cardio that you enjoy.

It simply doesn’t matter how optimal a workout is if you don’t do it. So go ahead and enjoy your rides and workouts, however you personally prefer doing them!

Are you cycling to work or thinking of starting? Our state of the art facilities offer more than 400 bike parking spaces utilising the latest German engineering, secure personal lockers, plenty of showers, on-site bicycle repairs and valet laundry service, all on King George Square in the heart of Brisbane CBD!

Learn more about our wonderful amenities on our website or book a free 7-day trial to try it yourself!

This blog is a part of our Become a Better Cyclist series. You can find the previous entries here:

 

 

 

This blog does not provide medical advice. It is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the cycle2city blog. Consult your GP before making changes to your exercise regimen or diet.


Become a Better Cyclist: Strengthening Exercises for Cyclists

Cycling is very unique in that it puts your body in the same position and has you performing the same motion thousands of times every time you ride.

Your body will adapt to this stimuli and strengthen your muscles to produce maximum power output in certain ranges of motion. It’s great for cycling, but it may be less than optimal from a every day health perspective.

For example, riding will put your back into flexion; leaning forward and bending your back. Therefore, strengthening muscles that pull the back into a neutral position could be a good idea to avoid becoming hunched over.

All of these exercises will be possible to do at home! Try to aim for 3-5 sets of the same number of repetitions. You don’t want to burn yourself out completely, so try to stop when you feel like you could do two more reps: this is more effective for muscle growth than going to failure, and should allow you to repeat the same set a couple times.

Without further ado, let’s look at our top 5 strengthening exercises that will make you a better cyclist!

Glute bridge

Your glutes are some of the most powerful muscles in your body – or at least they should be. As part of the muscles that extend your hips and let you stand up straight, glutes can often become weakened if you have a sedentary lifestyle or spend most of your workday sitting down.

Glute bridges are a great way to strengthen one of the key muscles in cycling. Better yet, you can do it at home – right now – with no additional equipment needed. Simply lie down on your back, plant your soles on the floor shoulder width apart, and use your glutes to drive your hips up.

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Try to keep your shins as perpendicular to the floor as you can. Engage your core to keep your upper body straight, and that’s it! Single leg glute bridge, the more advanced version, is a great option if you find glute bridges too easy: do this by keeping one leg straight and in line with your torso, and the other planted as normal.

Bent-over row

Since most of our time spent on a bike is leaning forward, it’s important to strengthen your back muscles so that we can avoid getting hunched over. The bent-over row is an excellent exercise that targets the middle and upper part of your back while using your core to stabilise your position.

Place your right hand and right knee on an even surface – you could use two chairs, a table, or even a sofa or bed. Engage your core to keep your back straight, and keep your neck in a neutral position. Grab your dumbbell with the left hand and use your back muscles to drive your elbow back. Simple as you like.

If you don’t have access to dumbbells or kettlebells at home, there are plenty of ways to improvise! A three litre milk bottle (or two) could be plenty for a beginner. You could also put a couple in a backpack or use a bucket – just be careful not to spill it! Resistance bands are also a great option here.

Russian twist

Cycling requires a strong core. A lot of time spent on the bike is with your torso in front of your centre of gravity, and strong abdominal muscles will help balance your body. Core exercises can be quite tricky; sit-ups can sometimes be a bit hard on your back, while lying leg lifts can end up using your hip flexors – muscles that already see plenty of use when pedaling – more than your abs.

Few exercises develop strong abdominal muscles like the Russian twist, though. Here’s how you do a Russian twist: simply sit down on the floor with your feet out in front of you. You can keep your heels on the ground if you like, but try not to put too much weight on them. 

Start by holding your clenched fists above your hips. Twist to one side, touch the ground lightly and then do the same on the other side. Add weight if you find this too easy! Dumbbells, kettlebells and medicine balls are optimal, but you can also be creative and fill an empty milk bottle with water. Taking your feet off the ground will make it harder, as you will need to use your core muscles to stabilise your body.

Push-ups

Now that we have exercises that cover your back, glutes and core muscles, it’s time to cover the chest and triceps. Although they aren’t directly related to pedaling power, it’s important to ensure that no muscle groups are underdeveloped. Strong triceps will also make it easier to ride for longer periods, as strong arms help support your bodyweight.

Place your hands under your shoulder joint or slightly outside. Keep your core engaged and straight, and lower yourself down before pushing up. If you find it hard to know how low you need to go, you can put a tennis ball or orange beneath your chest!

There are a lot of push-up variations available if you find them too easy: deficit push-ups, pike push-ups or using a weighted backpack are great options if you are more advanced.

Dumbbell deadlifts

Deadlifts are a fantastic way to train your whole posterior chain in one exercise: you’ll feel this in your back, glutes and hamstrings as well as your abs. It’s deceptively simple, but slow and controlled movements will still make this one challenging.

Simply stand up straight with weights in your hands. Unlock your knees and pull your hips backwards to start the movement. “Paint your legs” with the weights on the way down to keep your centre of gravity over your midfoot. Stop when you feel your hamstrings stretched far enough that you can’t go lower without using your knees; usually just below the knees.

Too simple? Try one-legged for an added challenge! Yes, this does require weights, but getting creative with a bucket of water, a bag of cement or two milk bottles is an option if you don’t have dumbbells or a kettlebell available.

This blog is a part of our Become a Better Cyclist series. You can find the previous entries here:

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This blog does not provide medical advice. It is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the cycle2city blog. Consult your GP before making changes to your exercise regimen or diet.