As well as being able to increase your levels of physical activity, once you have your bike, choosing to cycle rather than drive or take public transport can save you money as well as help the environment.
With all the benefits of outdoors physical activity, regular cycling can reduce the risk of a number of serious illnesses such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes and stroke. It can also boost your mood, improving the symptoms of some mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety. Cycling can also help you maintain a healthy weight.
Cycling is a low-impact exercise, meaning it's easier on your joints compared to high-impact aerobic activities like running.
A bike shop will be able to advise on choosing the right bike for you. If you buy a bike second hand, consider having a mechanic check it over to make sure it is roadworthy. You do not need special clothing to ride a bicycle. However, you may consider wearing brighter clothing to help other road users see you and you must use lights to ride at night.
Cycling can be a great way to reach your recommended amount of physical activity of 150 minutes per week. Cycling to work or school some days, a couple of shorter rides during the week or a longer ride at the weekend, will help achieve this easily.
When starting out, you can begin cycling in traffic-free areas such as a local park or cycle path. Always follow the Highway Code when cycling on roads. The route you might have once taken by car may not be the best route for riding a bike. It is worth checking out the route options to help you enjoy your journey. You can build up your skills and confidence through an Essential Cycling Skills training course, app or short guide from Cycling Scotland.
Sustrans has information on the National Cycle Network in Scotland with information on routes for all ability levels.