Biking is an amazing, low-impact way to stay fit while getting outside. And while some may think that biking is limited to painted lanes on roadways, the fact is that there are many different and unconventional places to ride your bike. This National Bike Month, it’s time to think outside of the box and start a new adventure.
You can ride your bike on paved trails in national parks, around lakes, and of course you can always take your mountain bike out in nature on rugged terrain. There’s almost no limit to where you can go and what you can see when you’re on your bike.
Seeing Someplace New
Biking is a fantastic and easy way to see new places. Whether you bike to a new place straight from home or take a trip somewhere, you can easily see more by bike than you ever could on foot. If you’ve travelled to someplace for vacation and have taken your bike, then a great way to explore a new area is to begin with a simple bike tour so that you can cover more ground, and then either narrow that down to smaller areas that are easier to see in detail on foot, or revisit places you’ve biked to on your tour so that you can see them more closely while walking.
According to the NPD Group, bike sales rose almost 63% in June of 2020. It seems that bike enthusiasts were purchasing road, gravel, mountain bikes, and electric bikes at an astounding rate in an effort to combat isolation and anxiety during the Covid-19 pandemic. But where were they taking their latest purchases? Chances are they were escaping to some of these amazing bike trails that were first profiled by Fodors Travel below:
The Presidio in San Francisco, California
The Presidio, a former military base, has since been turned into a national park with 25 paved and packed trails with gorgeous views of coastal cliffs, forests, beaches, the San Francisco Bay, the Golden Gate Bridge, and the city skyline, among others.
Down East Sunrise Trail, Ellsworth to Ayers Junction, Maine
This 87 mile segment of the East Coast Greenway offers an amazing variety of multi-use paths. Riders can see seaside villages, cranberry bogs, ponds, rivers, dense woods, and blueberry thickets. If you keep your eyes open, you might also spot moose, beavers, deer, or wild turkeys.
The Rio Grande Trail, Aspen to Glenwood Springs, Colorado
This 42-mile trek is complete with views of snow-capped mountains, glacial rivers, rust-colored hills, Aspen groves, and gorgeous flora and lush fauna. Be aware, though, that the air can feel thin on the slight grade of the terrain. This trail is definitely a sight to behold.
Clayton River Walk, Clayton, North Carolina
This wide track in Johnson County runs for four miles along the edge of the Neuse River until it crosses over it. You won’t find any motorized vehicles on this trail, except for the occasional ATV. The trail also connects to the Neuse River Greenway, which extends an additional 27.5 miles. It winds down at the Falls Lake Dam in Raleigh. While on this scenic beauty, you’ll see green pastures, wetland boardwalks, lush forests, and areas to both picnic and canoe.
Walkway Over the Hudson, Poughkeepsie to Highland, New York
This raised bridge sits 212 feet above the Hudson River. It was rebuilt in 2009 from what used to be the longest bridge on Earth. While you pedal along this marvel, you’ll take in panoramic sights of the Catskills, historic architecture, sailboats, neatly groomed bank parks, and others. You can also connect to the Hudson Valley Trail from the Highland side, which will take you through rock corridors and calming leaf canopies past the Black Creek Preserve to New Paltz. If you travel in the opposite direction, you’ll take in views of rural barns, rolling countryside, and a mile stretch of trail that’s been lovingly dedicated to our veterans that caresses the Dutchess Trail. This part of the ride closes up at Hopewell Depot, a quaint little photo gallery and museum.
Regardless of where you go by bike, your ride certainly won’t suffer from a lack of scenery or miles to travel. The hardest things you’ll have to do are decide where to travel and which way to go.
Revisiting Favorite Places
Never underestimate the value of biking to an old favorite place that you’ve seen one thousand times before. In doing that, there’s always an opportunity to discover something new and exciting to love about a place that feels comfortably familiar. Moreover, since you already know the terrain, you’ll be able to focus more on your workout should you decide to do so. Riding through familiar territory gives you the opportunity to get creative with your biking workout.
What Can Biking Do For You?
Biking can do a great number of things for your overall health and wellness. Some of the many amazing ways that biking can benefit you are:
- You can get and stay in shape through biking. Not only does biking help to tone your leg muscles, it’s also phenomenal for your cardiovascular health. Depending on how intense your ride is, biking has the potential to burn anywhere from 400 to 1,000 calories an hour.
- Biking can strengthen your lungs. In order to stay healthy, we should all strive to live an active lifestyle. Moreover, breathing deeply helps to both improve lung capacity as well as clear out the lungs in general. When your lungs are healthy, your body can more efficiently fight off respiratory conditions like allergies, asthma, or respiratory infections because the body will be more effective at transferring oxygen to the brain as well as the muscles.
- Regular biking can help improve mental clarity and sharpness. When you exercise, you increase blood flow throughout your body as well as oxygen intake. That blood that is now rich with oxygen, is also making it to your brain. When more oxygen gets to your brain, it helps you to become sharper and more mentally alert. Not only that, but your mood will also improve, allowing you to feel more positive throughout your day. This occurs through an increase in both your adrenaline and endorphin levels.
- Biking is low-impact. While exercises like running and jogging can be a wonderful way to become physically fit, the truth is that because these activities are high impact, they produce more wear and tear on your body, which can bring on injuries over time. Biking is a great low-impact activity that will help you get and stay in shape because your feet never hit the ground. When you bike, your feet apply even pressure to the pedals as they cycle around. In running, when the feet strike the ground, it places a harder impact on joints and muscles.
- Biking can save both time and money. If you’re using your bike to ride to work in an urban center, then chances are you will get there a lot faster. Think about all of the time you’ll save not having to sit in traffic to and from work. Not only that, but you’ll also save money by not filling up your gas tank as often since bikes don’t require fueling.
- Biking builds strength. This one should be a no-brainer. As you increase your riding time, you’ll also gain muscle strength and overall endurance. Biking offers a unique way of resistance training because it helps to tone your glutes, hamstrings, calf muscles, and quadriceps, which are all the major muscles in the lower half of your body.
- Biking is great for coordination. Whether you’re riding in the city or on a trail, biking can help you vastly improve your coordination, balance, and reaction time. Biking on trails is especially great for this because you must anticipate the twists, turns, and unexpected terrain you’re riding over. When you improve your coordination, you’ll feel more confident and at peace within yourself overall.
What’s the Best Way to Rest and Recover?
There are many different ways to rest and recover from a long ride. The important thing, though, is that you set aside the time to relax and let your muscles repair themselves. In doing so, you will decrease your chances for injury.
Some great tips to help you recover are as follows:
- Sleep: Getting quality sleep is a wonderful way to help your body repair from the physical and mental demands that you’ve placed on it. If sleep is hard for you to come by, then consider trying FAB CBD’s “Nighttime” PM CBD Chews. These delicious Acai flavored gummies are formulated using beneficial sleep-supporting ingredients including CBD, L-Theanine, 5-HTP, Melatonin, Ashwagandha, and GABA. The chews are also dairy-free, gluten-free, fat free, and do not contain any artificial sweeteners.
- Eat and Hydrate: It’s absolutely vital that you replenish your body of what it lost during any vigorous exercise. When you fuel your body with the right kinds of clean foods as well as keep your body hydrated by drinking water, you’re helping the body restore its energy supplies. Even though it’s good for you, sometimes drinking plain water may not be enough to help refuel and replenish what your body has lost. Therefore, it’s always a great idea to add some meaningful nutrients into your water. FAB CBD’s Green Superfoods do just that and more. Whether you choose Cocoa Crisp or Citrus Mojito, when you add a single scoop of these superfoods into your water, you’ll be taking in over 80 key micronutrients that help assist in the removal of harmful toxins and help to boost your energy levels. FAB CBD Green Superfoods are vegan, gluten-free, Keto friendly, non-GMO, and dairy- and soy-free.
- Massage the Muscles: Whether you massage your muscles or receive a professional massage, the simple act of working the tissue helps to relax the muscles, eliminate built up lactic acid, and increase both oxygen and blood flow to the area, which helps to bring much-needed nutrients into sore and overworked muscles. If you’re looking for a product that might feel good on tired and overworked muscles, then FAB CBD Topical Salve will do the trick. This salve is a phenomenal option for tired, grumpy muscles because it contains both a heating and a cooling effect. It is perfect for the active cyclist, golfer, runner, gardner, crossfitter, and keyboard warrior. The salve has been carefully crafted with menthol crystals to cool, cinnamomum camphora oil to warm, organic golden jojoba oil, organic beeswax, distilled full-spectrum hemp flower extract, rosemary oil, ginger oil, eucalyptus oil, and other beneficial natural ingredients. Once applied, this plant-infused blend will absorb directly into the skin where it can then work its magic on your muscles.
- Use Hot and Cold Water Therapy: Water can be very therapeutic to muscles if used the right way. One way to help muscles recover is to alternate between hot and cold water. For example, alternating between an ice bath for a few seconds and a hot shower for three to four minutes will help to increase blood flow to your muscles so that they can quickly eliminate lactic acid waste that ultimately causes pain and soreness. If hot and cold isn’t your thing, then an ice bath might just do the trick. Ice baths are a great way to help push blood away from the muscles through the constriction of the blood vessels. Then, once you get out of the tub and begin to warm up again, blood and oxygen start to flow back into the muscle, thus allowing the tissue to repair itself.
Adventure Awaits During National Bike Month
Regardless of whether you hit the road or the trail this National Bike Month, make it a time worth remembering. Enjoy the sights, smells, and sounds that nature and the world have to offer as you get one of the best low-impact workouts around. Spend some time seeing new places, revisit favorite paths and trails from your past, or just simply enjoy your newfound commute to work as you think about all the ways riding a bike can help you both mentally and physically. Use your time on your bike to scope out places you’d want to see in more detail while on foot. Grab your friends and create a bike circuit filled with interesting sights, landmarks, and nature. However you decide to celebrate National Bike Month, just make sure you take some time to rest, relax, and recover from all that pedaling.