Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Cycling to work 'improves wellbeing'

The physical health benefits of regular exercise are well known. A new study reinforces the idea that switching from driving a car to cycling or walking to work has positive psychological effects too.

Cycle commute along the riverside in Worcester
The Universities of East Anglia and York have just published the results of an 18 year study of 18,000 UK commuters.

Those who cycled or walked to work were found to have a higher level of
wellbeing than those who went by car or public transport.

When analysing those who swapped the car or bus for cycle or going on foot they found they became happier after the switch.

The study looked at feelings of worthlessness, unhappiness, sleepless nights and being unable to face problems. The researchers allowed for factors that are known to affect wellbeing, including income, having children, moving house or job and relationship changes.

A more surprising finding was that commuters even felt better travelling by public transport, compared to driving. Lead researcher Adam Martin from UEA’s Norwich Medical School said ‘Our study shows that the longer people spend commuting in cars, the worse their psychological wellbeing’.

With growing concerns about congestion in Worcester this study gives yet another reason why it makes sense for employers and the City and County Councils to encourage more commuters to leave their cars at home.

This is what cities such as Bristol have been doing. As a result commuting by car is no longer the norm for the under 40’s. By 2011 57% no longer drove to work and cycle commuting for all age groups increased to 7.5%.

If you’d like to improve your own health and wellbeing then why not give cycling to work a try?


You’ll find links for downloading local cycle maps on the Push Bike! blog. There’s also lots of information on local cycling events and clubs and the many benefits of getting around the City and Worcestershire’s wonderful countryside on a bike.

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Charity bike rides

Most weeks, we read stories in the Worcester News of cyclists who have taken on a major challenge to ride from Lands End to John O’Groats or a more local charity ride around Worcestershire’s wonderful countryside.

In some cases, these are people who have never ridden much at all or are returning to cycling. In either case, they were inspired to re-start cycling to support some worthy cause.

If the challenge has hills and long day rides, much training should be done in advance. A one hour cycle ride in jeans will soon suggest that cycle clothing would be a better choice. Anyway, having acquired the kit, fitness becomes a high priority and a “regime” starts. Many miles are burnt on the roads, punctures repaired, gears adjusted and saddle sores dealt with.

Quicker than you think, the day of the event arrives. Off you go with others who have experienced the same preparation. An immediate esprit de corps is generated as you all find a common cause and face the same challenges. The ride itself becomes a very sociable experience.

Having got into the habit of cycling regularly in training, its good to continue the momentum. Its true to say that every time you finish a cycle ride, you feel the benefits of the fresh air, of companionship, the sights and smells of the countryside and most of all the after effects of good exercise.

To help you find your own local challenge Push Bike! produces a regularly updated “What’s On”. This lists most of the local charity rides. You can download your free copy here.

A charity ride suitable for the whole family is the annual St Richard’s Hospice ‘Sanatahon’ at Top Barn Activity Centre on Sunday 30th November. Cycle, run or do both around a 4 or 8 mile route. Santa suit provided! You’ll find a registration form on the St Richard’s website or on the What's On page of this blog.

Santathon

Monday, 6 October 2014

Worcester St John's Cycle Club

Worcester St John's |Cycle Club stand at the Tour of Britain 2014

Established in 1888, Worcester St John’s Cycling Club is one of the oldest clubs in the UK. Former members have won a Gold medal at the 1908 Olympic Games, played football for Manchester United and won European stage races, long before Team Sky became so dominant.

From the outset the club has focussed on the competitive side of cycling and is affiliated to British Cycling and the CTT.

Every Sunday, regardless of the weather, there are two club rides. The first starting at 8.00am is a quick group ride while the 9.30am offers a steadier pace.

For those new or returning to cycling there is a monthly café ride where a steady spin around the local lanes is rounded off with a stop for a chat and a slice of cake.

For the more competitive and experienced rider there are weekly time trials. These run every Tuesday from April to September over a variety of distances and terrains. Other group training rides and indoor winter training sessions are used to improve and maintain fitness.

The club organises two major local road races every year, one in spring and the other late summer. These can draw some of the biggest names in cycling, as demonstrated when Bradley Wiggins entered and won in 2001.

Some of the hardier souls take part in Cyclo-cross racing during the harsher months when the road race and TT seasons end.

There are also a large number of rides that our members undertake to raise money for charity. One to look out for next year is Dave Preece, who will be riding from Lands End to John O’ Groats on his Penny Farthing in support of the National Deaf Children’s Society.

A new event for 2014 is the first ever open hill climb time trial to be run at Shelsley Walsh, the World's oldest motor sport venue. It takes place on Sunday 5th October and promises to be an outstanding day of competition. Spectating is free so please come along and give your support to the local riders.

If you would like information on taking part in cycling activities, or are interested in becoming a member of our club, go to http://www.wsjcc.co.uk/ and click on the contact tab at the top of the page. Alternatively you could visit our Facebook page for more information on rides and events.
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