No more cycling excuses! Answers to the most common excuses for not riding

Is  getting fit on your to do list or in your new year’s resolutions? Do you have a bike you want to use but you’re nervous about riding on the road? I’ll run through the main excuses people give for not being able to ride a bike, and by the end of the list you’ll be raring to go!

The Australian Cycling Participation Survey of 2015 reported that 17% of Australians (four million people) ride a bike each week and you can be one of them!

It’s too dangerous!

This is the big one. But it’s not as dangerous as you think… In the 2010 study ‘Do the Health Benefits of Cycling Outweigh the Risks?, researchers wanted to find out whether the health benefits from the increased physical activity of urban commuting outweighed the heath risks such as air pollution and accidents.
They found that for individuals who changed from driving cars to riding bikes the benefits of more exercise were much greater than the risks.
Keep the dangers in perspective, all activities carry risk.
…only ride where it’s fun
Remember, only ride where it’s fun. If you aren’t having fun, are scared or just too nervous, just hop off the bike and walk. There’s no shame in walking. If intersections freak you out, just indicate and pull over to the left, climb off and cross as a pedestrian.

I don’t know which way to go or where the bike paths are!

I get lost fairly regularly (just follow me on Strava to see some of my more impressive loops of the city) but try to look at it as an exploration rather than being lost.

Ride the City provides safe, safer, safest cycling routes
Ride the City provides safe, safer, safest cycling routes
Ride the City is a great resource which allows you to search for bike routes in your city and you can select a direct route or one that is mostly bike paths. Once you have selected a route you think will work, do a test ride on a Sunday or other time when it is not busy to build up your confidence.

I’m not very good at riding!

Whenever you start something new, there’s a learning curve. Keep at it and you’ll get better!
Practice these riding skills to build your confidence & minimise the risk of falls:
  • Stay on the line – Ride as straight as you can, without wobbling or weaving. This is what cyclists and cars behind you will expect.
  • Make your presence known – When overtaking pedestrians, runners or other cyclists, you can use your bell or call out ‘Passing right’ (or whatever takes your fancy) to stop them from accidentally crossing into your path. Signal your turns so people around you can anticipate your next move.
  • Get that bum up – Speed bumps or uneven path? Lift your bum off the seat, keep both knees bent, & lean your weight back.

I’m injured!

That sucks. Injuries are frustrating. I’ve noticed I either seem to feel flat and sore from not doing exercise or energised and sore because of doing exercise.
We all need to give up the idea that we’re some kind of precious animal who deserves to be completely comfortable at all times. It’s just not realistic.
…give up the idea that you must be completely comfortable at all times.
Whilst I’m no doctor or physio (and you should definitely see one of those before starting any rehab program), most physios will tell you that cycling is a great way to rehab injuries whilst still getting some cardio exercise in.
  • Cycling is low impact & non-weight bearing (you get to sit down whilst you work out… win!).
  • The movement is controlled.
  • Using gears means you decide the level of resistance.
  • You can vary the level of effort by cycling on different terrain.
  • The moves you make riding a bike help promote the flow of fluid which in turn helps cartilage heal itself… in fancy words, cyclic movement nourishes joint cartilage.
  • Cycling uses multiple joints together which mimics real life use of joints.
Blausen_0597_KneeAnatomy_Side - no excuse for not cycling
The knee bone is connected to the no excuses bone
To get technical
by controlling the mode of cycling with varying seat heights and pedal positions, the ligaments can be relieved from these forces during the initial stages of the rehabilitative process. An exercise program can then be designed to apply controlled stress to these structures to enhance the healing and recovery processes.”
– McLeod WD and Blackburn TA from the abstract of their study Biomechanics of knee rehabilitation with cycling which appeared in the American Journal of Sports Medicine in 1980. 
Sweat is fat crying etc etc…. Just try it, go slowly, drop your seat if you need to and build up bit by bit.

I don’t want my thighs to get massive!

Cycling is great exercise but come on ladies, do you think a little bit of cycling is going to bulk you up when all those dudes at the gym have to pick very heavy things up pretty much every day just for a bit of muscle?

Worst case scenario, your legs get super dooper Arnold Schwarzenegger big…. so you just stop riding.

Trust me though, it’s not going to happen, your thighs will look toned and you’ll feel great. 

Niki Gudex Moutnain Biker no more excuses not to ride
The gorgeous Niki Gudex, Australian professional mountain bike rider

Still don’t believe me? Check out these super gorgeous female pro cyclists (who ride more than we ever will) for proof.

I don’t want to wear lycra

Guess what? You don’t have to! you can wear whatever you want! 

My bum (& etc) gets sore

Yeah, it’s called exercise, sometimes you get sore. Also, if you don’t want to wear the nappy paddy pants, try a padded gel seat cover.
You can generally find them at Kmart for under $10…
KMART gel seat cover - No more cycling excuses
Sore bum repellant

…or visit your local bike shop or search online for something fancier

Fancy seat cover
sit on something special
If you hate your bike or it’s uncomfortable, if you don’t have work out clothes you’re happy with or if you can’t keep your tyres pumped up. Find stuff that you love and use it.

Still reading?

Are you still reading or have you left to go for a ride? It’s time you became one of the millions of Australians that ride every week!

To borrow a saying from sales guru Steli Efti which I try to remember when I hear my brain start to make excuses about anything… Shut up and get over yourself, do it anyways.

Shut up and get over yourself, do it anyways – Steli Efti, founder
Let me know if I left out any of your excuses?
Cheers Verity

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