National Bike Month
● By Hood Magazine
Spring has sprung and the school year is coming to an end. May is a tipping point time of year that can be loads of fun, but can leave even the most energized parents a little stressed. It’s times like these when multitasking comes in handy. Anything to save a few moments of precious time and cross one more thing off the checklist! Riding a bicycle may not be the first thing that comes to mind, but take a closer look and you might be surprised at all the perks you can juggle with a single bike ride.
Studies show that cycling increases focus and productivity at work and academic performance at school, and can even help ease symptoms of conditions like ADHD and anxiety. Biking to school as a family can have the whole crew starting the day off sharp. Consider biking to school together once a week to kick off the summer right. Make sure to pump up the bikes’ tires with air and lay out everyone’s helmets the night before so that you can just hop on and ride.
Physically, on a 20-minute bike ride at a manageable 12-14 mph pace you will cover about 5 miles and burn around 175 calories. This is done without pounding on your joints or having to step foot in a gym! Think about all the places you go within 5 miles of home. The National Transportation Authority reports that most car trips are less than 5.94 miles. By choosing to ride a bicycle for some of the shorter trips you can save yourself the extra trip to the gym later.
Even when you least expect it, kids are very "monkey-see-monkey-do." When they see you being healthy it makes them want to be like you. When you hit the gym, you’re typically separated from the kids and they can’t see or learn from what you’re doing. Biking provides a unique opportunity to show your children that daily physical activity is important to you and spend time together in the process. Here are three fun, must-do biking activities for you and your family this summer:
1. Ride the Sioux Falls bike trail. Covering about 30 miles of ground in a beltway around the city, this paved trail is separated from traffic so interaction with cars is limited, making it a great option for riding with kids. Just remember: you have to turn around and ride back! Keep an eye on your kids and their energy levels. Don't wait until they are running on empty to head home.
2. Learn to change a bike tire. Go to a local bike shop and ask about a maintenance clinic where experts will teach you how to change a flat tire on your bike. Learn from the experts, and then go home and practice with your kids. Together you all gain a valuable skill that will save the day if you ever get a flat tire on a bike ride!
3. Go off-road at the Big Sioux Recreational Area. You’ll find more than 8 miles of off-road bike trails that you can ride with the whole family.
4. Take some "me time." If you just need a break, go for a ride. The breeze on your face and the rhythmic cadence of the pedals spinning can be like a moving meditation. If you’re looking for some grown-up socialization, look for group rides in the community. It’s a great way to get some fresh air, meet new people, and enjoy the perks of group fitness without the gym membership or blaring pop music.