If you have trouble running due to problems with your joints or old injuries, you may find that riding a bike is an excellent alternative to keeping fit and improving your cardiovascular health. Getting started with cycling is simple, you just need a bike and some comfortable clothing and you’re all set. Here at The Edge, we have a great range of bikes and equipment so that you can make the most of your bike rides, and we’re always on hand to help you find the best options for your lifestyle. 

If you have any underlying health conditions or you are concerned about your health, you should see a doctor to discuss your plans to start any new exercise regime, such as cycling. In this article, we’ll take a look at the impressive benefits of cycling for your health, and we’ll consider the best ways to enjoy cycling in Ireland this year.

Cycling benefits for your health

We know that riding a bike can be an excellent form of cardiovascular exercise, especially for those who cannot or do not want to run. There are many reasons why cycling is a great option for your health, including:

  • Cycling is a low-impact form of exercise. Cycling puts less stress on the joints than running, as it doesn’t involve the same repetitive impacts on the body, which makes it a good choice for people with joint pain or previous injuries. It’s a low-impact activity so it will put your joints under less pressure and lead to less risk of injury or pain.
  • Cycling engages several muscle groups. Cycling is a great all-over workout, primarily engaging the muscles in the lower body, such as the hamstrings, calves and quadriceps and also working the core muscles for stability and balance. You will engage more muscles when you are cycling uphill, or if you use a higher resistance level to increase the intensity of your workout.
  • Cycling is great for your heart. Cycling is an aerobic exercise that works to strengthen the heart, increase lung capacity and improve circulation. This makes it a fantastic cardiovascular workout and regular cycling can help to reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke and high blood pressure as well as maintaining good health.
  • You can choose your intensity. Cycling is a very adaptable sport so you can match your efforts to your preferences. You can select the intensity and terrain that suit you best at certain times of the day or week and adjust your cycling routes or resistance level accordingly. You will work much harder on a hilly route or across varied terrain than you do on a flat route, and you may wish to experiment with interval training to challenge yourself.
  • It’s accessible and fun. Riding a bike is a good way to appreciate the great outdoors and you can get out and explore on roads, trails and bike paths in your local area. Ireland is home to many stunning cycle trails for you to discover and you can create cycle routes to suit your lifestyle, varying from a couple of hours to several days of riding. Cycling is a convenient and cost-effective way to commute to work, getting your cardio workout in as you travel to your workplace, and it’s a great social activity, too. Join your local cycle group to meet new people and spend time exploring your scenic local cycle paths together. 
  • It’s a great way to manage your weight. Cycling is a very effective way to exercise as it burns calories and builds lean muscle mass, as well as increasing metabolism. Riding your bike can help you manage your weight and improve your body composition when combined with eating a balanced diet and other lifestyle changes.

When you’re looking to start cycling, you’ll want to look for a bike that is durable and reliable and looks great, too. Take your time to try out several models, ensure that your bike fits you properly, and be prepared to invest in the safety gear you need to protect yourself when you’re out riding. A good helmet is the bare minimum, and you may also find gloves and cycling shoes very helpful.

When you start cycling:

It’s vital to observe safety precautions when you start cycling, to protect yourself and other road users. If you haven’t cycled for a while or you are new to road cycling, it’s a good idea to join a group or do a refresher training course in road cycling in your local area. We recommend the following safety precautions:

  1. Understand local traffic laws. The law for cyclists will vary from country to country, and here in Ireland, it is important to note that you are not allowed to cycle on footpaths unless there is a designated cycle lane or you are entering or leaving a property. Reflectors and lights are essential, according to Road Traffic Regulations, and cyclists must obey all traffic signs and signals such as traffic lights and stop signs. You should always cycle in the same direction as other traffic, yield to pedestrians and other vehicles when required and use hand signals to indicate when you are about to make a turn.
  2. Wear safety gear. You should wear a properly fitted helmet when you are cycling, to protect yourself from head injuries if you fall or are involved in an accident. It is recommended that you wear bright, reflective clothing, especially when cycling in low-light conditions or in the dark. Lights and reflectors will help to keep you safe and ensure that you are visible to other road users, and we can help you find the best options for your bike.
  3. Keep your bike in good condition. Maintaining your bike is a vital way to stay safe while cycling and you should check your bike for any damage before every ride. Make sure that tyres, brakes and gears are in good working condition and learn to perform basic maintenance tasks yourself so that you can save time and money. Carry basic tools and emergency kit with you, including your mobile phone, a spare inner tube, tyre levers and a multitool.
  4. Observe safe riding practice. You should stay alert while cycling, scanning the road ahead of you for pedestrians and any potential hazards. Never use your phone while cycling and be aware that if you are wearing headphones, you will compromise your concentration. Some cyclists prefer to use just one headphone so that they can enjoy music or podcasts while cycling and still remain vigilant. You should maintain a safe distance from other road users, and ride at a safe and controlled speed, especially when cycling downhill or around corners. 
  5. Communicate your intentions. Just as when you are driving, it’s important to communicate your intentions to other road users when you are cycling. You should be confident signalling your intentions by using hand signals when you turn, stop or change lanes, and avoid making sudden movements that may confuse other traffic. If you are sharing the road with large vehicles, such as lorries and buses, you should take care to avoid cycling in their blind spots where they will be unable to see you. 
  6. Plan your route. It is a good idea to plan ahead to stay safe, choosing to cycle in bike lanes or on bike paths wherever possible. Be prepared for changeable weather conditions and always dress appropriately for the weather and road conditions, being aware of the dangers of strong winds, wet or slippery surfaces and reduced visibility in fog or rain. 

By following these safety precautions, you will give yourself the best opportunity to enjoy your cycling without risking accidents or injuries.

Cycle for cardiovascular health

Adults should aim to get at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity each week, raising their heart rate and improving fitness and cardiovascular health. If you are not used to this level of exercise, start with thirty minutes of cardio three times per week and begin improving your stamina gradually to reach this goal. 

Cycling is a great choice, giving you access to all the cardiovascular and other health benefits as well as boosting your mental health by getting outdoors in nature. Set yourself a challenge to discover a nearby cycle path this year, or join a local cycling community to make new friends and increase your fitness while having fun.

Find cycling equipment at The Edge in Ireland

Here at The Edge, we love to cycle and we have an excellent range of mountain bikes, road bikes and hybrid bikes to try, as well as eBikes that can give you an extra boost of power when you want to explore further afield. We have all the equipment you need to get started with your new hobby, including cycling clothing, accessories and more.

We are also specialists in running, swimming and surfing in Ireland and we have an extensive range of equipment and clothing for your outdoor activities. You can order online or pop in and talk to us at The Edge at Kinsale Road in Cork; contact us at +353 (0)21 432 0522 or visit our website today.


Love to cycle, run and swim!

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