The humble bicycle has been used by the human population for nearly two centuries and in the technological age of the 21st century, it is certainly not being left behind! Road bikes (also known by many different names) are designed specifically for efficient travel on roads and pavements and are popular worldwide, both as a means of transport and exercise.
But are road bikes fun?
The answer is a definitive “YES”. Road biking caters to people of all ages, fitness levels, and personality types. People enjoy road biking for a variety of reasons including fitness building, outdoor adventure, and social bonding.
To explore these reasons and understand why road bikers cycle, read on.
Why Road Bikes Are Fun? (9 reasons)
1- The Scenery Is Amazing
Road biking provides you with a richer experience of the world around you than you would receive when traveling in a car because you are moving slower and engaging all of your senses.
Cycling allows you to take in the sights, sounds, and smells at your leisure.
You also experience more than you would on foot due to the increased traveling radius afforded by cycling and the decreased effort required. It encourages you to take scenic routes to viewpoints and places that you might have never visited, deepening your knowledge of the area.
Ernest Hemingway attests to this, “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them.”
2- Road Biking Gives You a Sense of Personal Accomplishment
Road biking is a self-paced sport, with different challenges such as climbing, speed, and distance covered.
As your fitness and skill increase through experience so does your ability in climbing uphills, your speed of descent, and miles traveled, all of which are driven by the power of your own body and mind.
You can create goals and track your achievements in your cycling, fitness, and body condition all of which are great for building self-esteem and confidence.
3- A Social Activity
While some cyclists prefer to ride solo, or with their dogs running beside them, others enjoy cycling in groups due to the comradery built through shared experiences and the excitement created from racing each other.
There is much to talk about, the sights and sounds, the challenges on the route, and the best places to stop for that mid-cycle coffee.
You can even chat while cycling as you choose your own speed and what you would personally like to get out of the experience. It’s also a fun bonding experience for the whole family that can be enjoyed on weekends or after school and work.
4- Road Biking Provides a Unique Sense of Freedom and Adventure
It has been said that riding a road bike is the closest approximation that humans have to flying.
The experience of the wind against your face and body as you speed through space, moving as one with your bicycle is thrilling and invigorating.
It is also completely unique to road bikes as they are engineered for speed and maneuverability, with their lightweight frames and aerodynamic design, satisfying the thirst of any adrenaline junkie. You are also able to decide where to go and the best ways to get there, without worrying about traffic slowing you down, one-way streets, or if there will be parking available.
5- Road Biking Is Accessible
There are very few activities that don’t require you to get into your car and drive. One of the unique features of road biking is that you don’t have to drive anywhere. All you have to do is walk out your front door, hop onto your bicycle, and ride.
You aren’t restricted to off-road trails which are often far away from cities and you have more options because there tend to be more road cycling groups than mountain biking groups.
You don’t have to stick to a prescribed timetable or pay joining- and subscription fees as you would at gyms and health clubs.
You don’t need physical super skills or specialized equipment to enjoy road biking and there are no age limits or gender restrictions. There are also fewer risks and injuries associated with road biking than mountain biking and jogging.
6- Good for Your Body and Feels as Good
Road biking is great for increased muscle strength and stamina as it provides a whole-body muscle workout. Road biking targets the muscles of calves, thighs, glutes, core as well as muscles in your shoulders and arms.
Moreover, you aren’t really thinking about improving your physique or weight loss while you are cycling. Instead, the motivation is created by the urge to go faster and further, and you become leaner and fitter as the result.
This physical exercise also encourages the production of the feel-good neurotransmitters associated with “runner’s high”, with less impact on your knee- and hip joints than if you were running or jogging.
7- Great for Stress Relief
Not only does cycling provide an endorphin rush and increased dopamine levels but it also gives you a ‘mental break” from the monotony and confines of indoor daily life.
It gets you outside, breathing fresh air, and the action of cycling is quite meditative as you enjoy personal quality time, without distractions and worries.
It is this quality of cycling that inspired Einstein’s theory of relativity. When asked, he said, “I thought of that while riding my bicycle”.
The stress relief experienced while cycling spills over into your daily life through improved circulation, better sleep quality, and greater enjoyment of food. Riders say their increased appetite and enjoyment of food is due to calories burnt on the ride and also comment on the decreased feelings of guilt as carbohydrates become your friend.
8- A Hobby That Travels
Cycling on holiday is great fun. It allows you to sight-see with flexibility because you can easily hop off the bike and stop at places of personal interest that tour buses bypass.
You can visit more tourist attractions because you aren’t confined by what’s in walking range while getting the full experience of the places visited.
Many cities and towns offer guided bike tours that allow you to discover hidden local gems. Since bike tours are less tiring than walking tours, you are able to get more enjoyment out of each experience.
Bike hires are also commonplace, so you aren’t limited by destinations that allow you to bring your bike.
9- Road Biking Decreases Your Carbon Footprint
This might not be an obvious “Fun factor” but it definitely is a factor worth considering when talking about Road Bikes.
Because road bikes don’t require driving anywhere, there are no carbon emissions associated with this activity.
There is decreased air pollution but also decreased noise population and less crowding on the roads when compared to traveling by motor vehicle. It feels good to know you are having a positive impact on your health as well as the health of the environment.
This article would not paint a complete picture without including points that detract from the enjoyment of road biking.
Why Road Bikes Are Not Fun (3 Reasons)
1- Bad Weather
Because road biking is an outdoor activity where you are exposed to the elements, bad weather such as snow and heavy rain can make your ride cold, wet, and miserable.
Ice on the roads also increases the difficulty of the ride and the risk of slips and falls.
You are also at risk of harmful exposure to UV radiation while cycling. However, this can be prevented by applying sunblock and wearing protective clothing.
2- Irresponsible Car Drivers on the Road
Breathing in petrol fumes from motor vehicles is less than ideal while cycling.
Bad car drivers are also a threat to cyclists as they can drive too close to your bicycle, monopolizing the road, or cut you off even when you have right of way, which can cause accidents, injuries, or endanger your life.
To avoid these issues, cyclists stick to bike lanes, quieter roads, or times when there is less traffic on the road when cycling. This increases enjoyment due to cleaner air and decreased risk of accidents.
3- Road Bikes Are Expensive
When one looks at the initial cost of buying a road bike it may seem exorbitant.
However, they are far cheaper than cars. While road bikes are generally more expensive than mountain bikes, they require less cleaning, maintenance, and repair than mountain bikes.
Their tires are also less susceptible to punctures and they and the bikes themselves last longer, which means you don’t have to spend money on replacements. You are also not required to drive to bike trails which means you save on petrol and the wear and tear costs on your vehicle.
So there you have it. Conclusively road biking is a fun activity with physical, psychological, and social benefits. This inclusive sport allows you to just step out of your front door and truly explore and enjoy your environment while exercising your muscles and improving your cardiovascular health.
It provides much-needed stress relief and a break from our busy lives, without hassles and unnecessary extra costs. You don’t have to be a winner of the tour de France to enjoy cycling and its many benefits.
In the words of John F. Kennedy, “nothing compares to the simple pleasure of a bike ride” and now you know why!