Whether it’s cycling tourism or competition, enthusiasts of bicycle they are ever more numerous. This is also confirmed by the data reported by the DoveConviene app: from April to today, also thanks to the strong impact of the Giro d’Italia on fans of this sport, the 62% research related to the sports world interest the bike sector.
The growing interest also anticipates the celebration of World Bicycle Daywhich is celebrated on June 3 and was established by the United Nations for the awareness of the benefits deriving from the use of the bicycle as a means of transport and for leisure.
The bicycle not only for a trip out of town or to keep fit but also for getting around the city. Compared to the past, there is much more desire to pedal because the bike is starting to be considered above all as a tool for discovery and cultural encounters. Twenty years ago it was considered a means for a few “alternatives” while today it is more and more popular, ecological e greet. She is an ally of the environment and our well-being. In the city, in the countryside, on the road or downhill, the bicycle is experiencing a very lucky moment with a great social impact.
Benefits of the bicycle
«Cycling it is a sport within everyone’s reach (or almost) because it is a low-impact physical activity», he intervenes Valeria Gattoronchieri, physician specialized in Physiatry, part of the Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation team of ASST Gaetano Pini-CTO of Milan. «It means that the joints are not subjected to particular stress, as can happen with other sports, such as running or athletics. It can be practiced by both young people and older people and the benefits are notable for both the cardiovascular and muscular systems».
In fact, cycling stresses the cardiovascular and respiratory systems, it uses the muscles of the lower limbs but also the abdominals and partly the arms and back. It tones up and, if practiced in a group, has important social and aggregation implications.
“In the rehabilitation pathwaysthen, this tool is used both by those who have undergone major surgery, such as the insertion of a knee prosthesis, hip or a femur fracture, and by arthritic patients who derive particular benefits from the activation of the cardiovascular system , but also by Parkinsonians, because pedaling is a gesture that also trains the coordination of movements» continues the physiatrist.
How many calories are burned?
But is it true that cycling burns calories and loses weight? “A lot depends on the type of training and effort you make,” he says Fabio Vedanateacher for the training of cycling technicians for the Italian Cycling Federation (FCI).
«If the commitment is high, for example at a competitive level, a work session can burn 500 to 700 calories, while an hour’s touring ride burns about 200-250 calorie. But we must not limit ourselves to caloric expenditure because the motivational lever must take into account the ecological, social and healthy awareness of cycling”.
Cycling: how to choose clothing and accessories
Both at a competitive and tourist level, correct posture is essential to ensure good performance and to avoid complications to the spine and neck. Clothing, accessories and the use of the helmet are also very important.
The use of sunglasses, graduated or not depending on the presence or absence of visual defects, is essential when playing sports. In particular, those who ride a bicycle must consider a few factors before buying a pair. As suggested by Zeiss, who developed the Zeiss Sport specific lensesyou need to pay attention to:
- Resistence: in addition to high speeds, cycling lenses can be subjected to more demanding conditions than traditional eyewear. Just think of insects, dust, pebbles.
- Quality: Lenses must have full UV protection up to 400 nm.
- Anti-glare: This treatment, especially when applied to the back of the lens, minimizes distracting and potentially dangerous reflections.
- Material: for sports lenses the lens in is always recommended polycarbonate and polyamide (nylon)materials naturally more resistant than traditional lenses.
- Water repellent treatment: Allows sweat, rain, or other debris to roll off.
And what about the colors? Which ones to choose? When riding a bicycle, you suddenly pass from areas of light to areas of shadow, therefore the Zeiss experts recommend do not use self-tinting lenses which may lighten or darken too slowly. As for the shades of the lenses, instead:
- Amber and rose: improve visual acuity and are suitable for those who practice cycling. They offer a clear field of vision and are perfect when there is little sun or cloudiness. They are particularly suitable for road cyclists.
- Gray: reduce glare and make colors more realistic. They offer good vision, even when the sun is shining.
- Yellow: Filter the blue wavelengths of light, allowing you to perceive contrasts better. They allow you to see better even when there is less light, when it is darker and with less sun.
Many lenses are also available in polarized variants. The polarized lenses they eliminate the vertically oscillating part of the light, generally consisting of high beam light sources, such as a wet road surface after rain.
The choice of saddle
The saddle must be at the right height to allow the muscles to work properly. There saddle choicethen, it must allow a comfortable sitting even for hours.
The right clothing
As for theclothing, it must always be borne in mind that during pedaling there is a large loss of heat due to speed. The clothes you choose must be technical, adherent and breathable.
Layered clothing that allows you to adapt to changes in temperature is perfect. The use of the pad is also fundamental, ie the padding for the perineal area, which allows for the right amount of comfort. The suitable footwearwhich attach to the pedal, are safer and allow for optimal performance, but as an alternative, trainers can be used for cycle touring.
The helmet always and in any case
On a bicycle, even the smallest fall can turn into a serious trauma, for this reason the casco it is essential to prevent unpleasant accidents and it is a good rule to get children used to using it on every occasion.
Beware of injuries
Cycling is one of the most practiced sports in the world and, perhaps also for this reason, the number of injuries seems to have increased in recent years. Suffice it to say that, according to what is reported by a research by the British Medical Journal on the portal NBCproblems related to the lower limbs have increased by 37% in the last two years.
And again, according to one published research are The Telegraph, commuters who go to work by bicycle run a 50% higher risk of injury than those who use alternative means. But what are the most common injuries for those who practice cycling? According to one research according to the American Health Association, 42% of cyclists suffer neck injuries, 36% groin strains, 31% back injuries and 38% skull injuries. Most of the injuries occur due to the lack of a helmet: only 50.7% of those who practice cycling wear one.
“To better enjoy the cycling experience, below we point out the precautions to always put into practice”, intervenes Maurice Radiphysiotherapist and osteopath, founder of Fisioradi Medical Center of Pesaro.
- Undergo a careful physiotherapy visit. The main warning for those who decide to devote themselves to cycling, both at a competitive level and as a pure hobby, is to undergo a physiotherapy visit to avoid problems of physical stiffness.
- Equip yourself with the right sports equipment. As we said earlier, checking the measurements of the bike, the correct position of the saddle and wearing sports clothing such as shorts, overalls and suitable shoes is essential to prevent the most frequent physical problems. Wearing a helmet, then, is essential to protect yourself from falls and avoid possible skull-brain trauma.
- Follow proper nutrition. Correct satisfaction of nutritional needs through a balanced diet helps prevent injuries. Replenishing water supplies by drinking the right amount before, during and after physical effort helps improve pedaling efficiency.
- Know and respect road signs. Many accidents while riding a bike occur due to small distractions and lack of respect for the signage rules: knowing them therefore becomes of fundamental importance.
- Plenty of room for stretching. Performing joint mobility exercises for the legs, hips and spine helps to start an intense ride in the best way.
- Know your limits. Listen to your body’s signals and gradually increase your workload, avoiding excessive stress while riding a bike.
- Periodically check the tightness of the bike. An efficient bicycle is the main safety factor. For this reason it is recommended to check the tire pressure, clean and oil the chain and gearbox.
Appointments and itineraries for bike lovers
There are many appointments that bicycle lovers can write down in their diaries, perhaps also taking advantage of their passion for nature and the mountains.
In Val Gardena
- Sellaronda Bike Day. Non-competitive event that takes place twice a year (June and September), when all the Dolomite passes around the Sella (Sella, Pordoi, Campolongo, Gardena) are closed to car traffic and reserved for cyclists, from 8.30 to 15.30. The 2023 appointments will be on June 10th and the September 16th.
- BMW HERO South Tyrol Dolomites. Il June 17, 2023 cyclists will be able to crowd the starting grids for the toughest mountain bike marathon in the world, with its two courses of 86 kilometers and 4,500 meters in altitude and one of 60 kilometers with 3,200 meters in altitude. The HERO Bike Festival also returns with the race, the four-day event, from 15 to 18 June, which offers numerous appointments and ideas also for companions and non-competitors.
Val Gardena is also the first Approved Bike Area of South Tyrol. Expert cyclists can try the Sellaronda MTB Track TOUR: two itineraries around the Sella Group, which can be traveled clockwise or counterclockwise, which offer breathtaking views of the most beautiful peaks of the Dolomites. For the less experienced, Val Gardena Trail Arena reserves adventures full of fun on six routes.
- Enjoy Stelvio Valtellina 2023. The initiative that provides for the closure to motorized traffic of the Stelvio Pass (June 18, September 2), Gavia Pass (June 3, July 14, September 3), Mortirolo Pass (June 16, July 15), is back again this year. Lakes of Cancano (17 June, 21 July, 1 September), Passo della Forcola (3 and 4 June), Passo dello Spluga (2 July), Passo San Marco (10 June) and Campo Moro (24 September). There is room for everyone: from the most expert cyclists to families with children.
Under the name of Gravel.Tirolthe four Tyrolean regions Lechtal, Naturparkregion Reutte, Tannheimer Tal and Tiroler Zugspitz Arena have joined forces to form the first gravel bike region in Tyrol: 18 gravel bike trails, over 22,000 meters of altitude difference with more than 1,000 kilometers of itineraries and 58 accommodation facilities.