bike has tripled in some U.S. cities since 2000.
Perhaps you’ve noticed more bike trails
and bike lanes in your hometown. City leaders are recognizing that amenities like these
make cycling safer and enhance residents’
quality of life—and health.
Dr. Michael Schaefer, director of musculo-skeletal physical medicine and rehabilitation
at Cleveland Clinic and an avid cyclist, says
bicycling is an excellent form of exercise, especially for those with long-term joint problems.
“It’s a nonimpact activity,” he explains,
“and lessens stress through the hips, knees and
feet.” Schaefer, 43, chose a career in medicine
because of his love for sports and considers
physical activity a means of medical treatment,
especially in managing the problem of obesity.
“Motion is actually good for joints, which
are designed to self-lubricate,” he continues.
Bicycling also provides an excellent cardiovascular workout and strengthens major leg
Cycling is accessible for most people,
even those who are not in the best shape. “All
you really need is a bike and a helmet,” says
Schaefer. And if you learned as a child, your
By Peggy Sijswerda
COSTCO MEMBER TOM Demagall has
happy memories of riding a bike as a kid
growing up in southwestern Pennsylvania.
“It’s your first taste of freedom,” recalls
Demagall, 41, owner of Golden Triangle Bike
Rental in Pittsburgh. Today he commutes by
bike as often as he can. “It adds adventure to
your day,” he says.
Most of us remember that exhilarating
sense of freedom as we pedaled around our
neighborhoods as kids. We didn’t even know
it was exercise. We just loved the sensation of
May is National Bike Month, the perfect
time to recapture the feeling of being young
and enjoy the many benefits of cycling.
Besides, everyone can use a little adventure
now and then, right?
Cycling is a growing sport. Surprisingly,
one of the fastest-growing groups is cyclists age
55 and up. Millennials are also contributing to
the bike boom. Many are shunning cars in
favor of cycling to work. In fact, commuting by
ability to ride a bike is a durable skill, part of
the procedural memory embedded in your
brain. Balancing should come naturally. Of
course, before you get started, check with
your health-care provider to make sure
cycling is an appropriate activity for you.
Next, ask yourself what kind of cycling
you plan to do since that will determine the
kind of bike you get. There are three basic
types: road bikes, designed for speed; moun-
tain bikes, meant for off-road use; and hybrid
bikes, perfect for paved trails.
Once you’ve decided, finding equipment
that fits right is key. “You need to find a bike
that fits you,” Demagall says. A poorly fitting
bike can “make it not fun.” And make sure
you purchase a properly fitted helmet.
Demagall also suggests that beginners
learn basic bike mechanics: “Adjusting your
brakes and repairing a flat tire are two basics
you need to know.”
Next, choose where to cycle. Many cities
offer maps of suggested routes. Also, review
bicycle safety rules before you hit the road.
Demagall shares his passion for cycling
with clients who visit his Pittsburgh shop to
rent bikes, join local tours and get outfitted for
cycling trips along the Great Allegheny
Passage, a 150-mile trail connecting Pittsburgh
and Cumberland, Maryland. “We love when
people come back from bike tours and you see
that light in their eyes,” he says.
As for the future of cycling, Demagall
expects it to continue growing as more people
move into cities. “It’s a natural progression,”
he says. C
Editor and writer Peggy Sijswerda loves to
bike Virginia Beach’s First Landing State Park.
The Costco Connection
Costco and Costco.com offer a selection of
men’s, women’s and children’s bicycles as
well as helmets, bike carriers and hoists.
TO ENCOURAGE A more bike-friendly America,
the League of American Bicyclists, an advocacy
group, recognizes bike-friendly communities,
businesses and universities each year. According
to the league, bicycling brings people together,
and when more people ride bikes:
; Life is better for everyone.
; Communities are safer, stronger and
; The nation is healthier, economically
stronger, environmentally cleaner and more
Visit bikeleague.org to see how your city measures up. Also check out the league’s cycling tips
and safety videos.—PS
OUR DIGITAL EDITIONS
Click here to watch a video from The
League of American Bicyclists on bike
maintenance. (See page 15 for details.)