14 Reasons Why Bike Riding Is Seriously Badass
Girls on Bikes Are Making History
According to Liv Cycling, industry experts have concluded that women’s cycling is the industry’s hottest trend. Which is to say: Girls on bikes is the new Orange Is the New Black. Duh. In 2015, the number of female cyclists in the United States will make history. The American Bicyclist Study reports that women now make up 55 percent of Generation X bicycle riders. In a historically male-dominated sport, this is a game changer. Who run, ahem, ride the world? Girls. (Already feeling inspired? Just make sure to keep in mind these 5 Questions to Ask Before Buying a Bike.)
Because a Bike Shows You That You Can Do the Impossible
"I feel like a badass on a bike because I can get places near and far through the power of my own body and mind. Everything feels under my control. When I encounter things that aren't under my own control (bad weather, a crash, difficult terrain), and I survive—I feel empowered. The more I ride, the more I know I can ride no matter what, the more I'm motivated to take on new challenges, new roads, new distances. Limitations only exist because I've set them as such, and cycling reminds me that I'm capable of lots of things that seem impossible or impractical at first." —Liz Barcheck, Rapha Women's Ambassador and middle-school teacher
Ride a Bike, Save the Planet
What's more badass than saving the planet? More people on bikes means cleaner air, cleaner water, and a healthier environment. For example, bicyclists in Philadelphia ride 260,000 miles daily, saving 47,450 tons of carbon dioxide from being emitted by cars each year, according the Bike Coalition of Greater Philadelphia. And considering that moderate-paced cycling burns 472 calories per hour, you'll increase your hot-body factor while decreasing emissions. That's superwoman status right there.
It's a Workout for Your Body and Mind
"Cycling has a complexity that challenges the mind and the body and yet, it can also be quite forgiving. After all, you are sitting down and you can coast! It never truly gets easier (you just learn to go faster) but it's almost always enjoyable, definitely addicting, and a sport you can do for life." —Connie Carpenter-Phinney, a twelve-time U.S. cycling champion and the first female cyclist to earn an Olympic gold medal in cycling in the women's road race at the 1984 Olympic Games.
Cycling Lets You Forget About Your Problems
"Every time I get on a bike, all my problems are gone. I am in charge. We are playing by my rules. I can free my mind, body, and soul in as little as an hour on my bike. It makes me feel powerful and unstoppable." —Elizabeth (Bud) Reeder, Rapha Women's Ambassador and road cyclist
A Bike Combats Burnout
found that stressed-out workers who started cycling or performed other cardio exercise for at least 30 minutes three times a week reported significantly less burnout after just four weeks. They also felt less stress and emotional exhaustion while enjoying a greater sense of well-being. Translation: Spin out your stress and you'll feel less bogged down by the deadlines and to-do lists at work and more prepared to be the kick-butt employee that you are. #LeanIn, ride on.
Because a Bike Can Change Your Life
"There's no other place I feel all the feelings than on the bike. I go from strong to challenged, focused to free in a matter of minutes. The struggle gives me perspective from where I've come—130 pounds heavier, to where I want to be—faster and stronger. I've never felt more accomplished than pushing through a tough and breathless climb, reaching the top, and turning around to look back at that hill with a smile. I've made some of my best life decisions and friends on a ride. The bike is everything." —Kelly Krause, Rapha Women's Ambassador, Head of SXSW Interactive Publicity + SXstyle
You'll Look Amazing in Spandex
What many people don't realize is that cycling is a total body workout. You're not just engaging your legs (though those suckers will slim down and strengthen up for sure). You're also utilizing your abs to stabilize and balance the bike, your arms to support your upper body, and your booty to power those pedals. The average woman will burn around 560 calories per hour at a pace of 12 to 14 miles per hour and that rev in your metabolism will continue to burn calories well after you get off the bike. So the mid-ride ice cream cones and recovery beers are truly NBD. (Learn more on how to Turn Your Bike Ride into a Fat-Burning Workout.)
Cycling Helps You Conquer Your Fears
"I feel extra badass when I'm working on conquering a fear, which for me is going off a jump and learning to do it successfully and confidently. But conquering fears can be any kind of challenge: taking your longest ride from 10 to 20 miles, riding up a climb you've walked up before because it was so steep, riding a single track. As a pro, I feel the same way about fear as everyone does—heart pounding, really nervous—but I tackle it anyways." —Lea Davison, American cross-country mountain bike racer for Team Specialized, and 2012 Olympian
Bikes Lead to BFFs
Ask any cyclist and they'll likely tell you that some of their closest friends are fellow cyclists. Why? There's something about riding a bike—the effort, the adventure, the struggle, the pure fun—that bonds you with the people you ride with. Take, for example, the Rapha Women's Ambassador program. They recently held a ride camp for 18 female ambassadors from all over the country who are passionate about getting more women involved in the sport of road cycling. Most of them were strangers, with all different levels of experience from newbies to pro racers, and they all spent three days riding together in Texas Hill Country. They supported, encouraged, and empowered each other through every ride. At the end, 18 strangers became friends for life. They will all return to their home cities to help pay it forward by hosting rides and events and inspiring women all over the country with the power of the bicycle and the strength of friendship. To find a Rapha Cycle Club and women-led ride in your area, click here. (This is a great example of Why Having a Fitness Buddy Is the Best Thing Ever.)
What Goes Up, Must Come Down
A steep climb is where you put in the hard work on a bike. The reward? That badass feeling of making it to the top, then flying downhill.
"There's an adrenaline that comes with racing and the speed that comes with riding and throwing myself down a fast descent." —Marianne Vos, multi-world and Olympic champion, pro rider for Rabo Liv Women Cycling Team
Cycling Makes You Dig Deep
"For me, cycling is how I connect to a place, others, and myself. On two wheels and not stuck in a vehicle, you're forced to be present and really pay attention. Each ride in an education and I think choosing to learn from the world around us in a respectful manner is the way to go. It makes us dig deeper." —Bronwen Gregory, Rapha Women's Ambassador and former bike tour guide
"When I go out for a solo ride, I feel badass. Riding alone and being independent on the bike is a great feeling. There is a cool sense of accomplishment to be able to go out for a ride and explore without needing someone to show you around. I feel empowered to find my own way." —Kate Courtney, American U23 mountain bike racer for Team Specialized amd 2013 XC & STXC National Champion
Cycling: It Hurts So Good
"I have a healthy addiction to riding. I love the way it makes me feel. I like being healthy and fit. I like suffering and pushing myself as hard as I can till my body cracks. The days when I can suffer and go fast, those are the best."—Katie Compton, Trek Cyclocross Collective Team rider
(Ready to start biking? Gear up with Rad Bikes and Cycle Gear to Enhance Your Ride.)