by Mary Teresa Bitti
It's good for your heart, improves your co-ordination and enhances your general well-being. Plus it's an inexpensive and fast way to get around.
"Cycling is one of the few activities that is beneficial on a holistic level," says Martin Reis, 42, a lifelong cyclist. (In fact, he has never had a driver's licence.)
"The physical exertion keeps you fit and reduces stress, and at the same time, you are actually helping make the city better. If you ride to work, that's your One-Tonne Challenge right there."
via Green Living Magazine (read on in the comments)
However, only about eight percent of downtown Toronto residents use bicycles as their main means of travel to work. BikeShare, a library-like system, hopes to boost that number by making bicycles more accessible (www.bikeshare. org)."If someone is on a bike, they aren’t in a car,”says Maogosha Pyjor, BikeShare project manager.
And that’s a good thing." The fastest way to get anywhere within 10 km in an urban area is on a bike. "It is also healthy," says Pyjor. "The Heart and Stroke Foundation recently did a survey showing a spike in obesity and inactivity among boomers. We say: get moving."
She’s right. Research shows that regular cycling reduces the risk of stroke, coronary heart disease, diabetes and osteoporosis since it provides an excellent aerobic workout, the most effective way to promote good health. Cycling just six km a day boosts fitness by 17 percent. It even improves mental health by lowering stress and depression levels and raising self-esteem. It has also been found to improve your sex life. Plus it’s a great way to shed extra pounds. Moderate cycling burns about seven calories a minute. A 30-minute bike ride five times a week burns off the equivalent of 11 pounds of fat in a year.
Fitness was certainly one of the reasons Toronto Bicycling Network (www.tbn.ca) member Loreto Manni started cycling."I’ve tried going to the gym, but it’s very difficult to get motivated when you are surrounded by walls. Cycling keeps me on a steady exercise routine." Since joining the network (the country’s largest recreational/social bike group), Manni has lost weight and built new friendships. Still, while he happily logs up to 120 km during scenic weekend rides in the country, he is wary of city riding.
And for good reason. Some 1,200 Toronto cyclists are involved in car-bike collisions each year. "The city needs more safe routes for cycling," says Reis. That’s why he’s part of Critical Mass, a worldwide movement dedicated to promoting an eco-friendly lifestyle and creating space for cyclists (www.criticalmass. info). On the last Friday of every month, he meets up with Toronto’s Critical Mass contingent at Bloor and Spadina and rides along improvised routes through the city. The group’s ideal: more bikes, less pollution.
The City of Toronto has made some progress, beefing up the number of bike paths, improving bikeway signage, kitting out some city buses with bike racks and making bike parking more readily available. Meanwhile, though, only 1 percent of the city’s 5,300 kilometres of streets have bike lanes. Clearly, there’s still a long way to go.
For a city biking map, visit www.toronto.ca/cycling/map/index.htm.
Green Living Spring 2006
I drop in this blog..
i think Canada is best place to ride bike.
I envy you.
have nice day~!
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