Category: General

Cyclists’ Life Expectancy

There’s no question that staying physically fit prolongs the average lifespan, and even improves chances of recovery from the major health crisis, but exactly how much physical benefit does cycling have? What if you only ride a few times a week, compared to cyclists that ride 100+ miles per week? Is it worth the trouble if you aren’t gonna be hardcore about it?

In 2012 the US Dept of Health and Human Services released recommendations that adults engage in 2.5 hours of moderate physical activity per week OR 1.25 hours of intense physical activity.

“Moderate” activity was defined as having an intensity level that prevented the person from singing but still allowed them to hold a conversation.

“Intense” activity was defined as requiring the person to stop talking to continue at their pace.

The recommendations came from findings that this level of weekly activity added an average of 3.4 YEARS to the life of the exerciser. The report also showed that people who chose to double that amount of activity had an average of 4.2 years more than those who got less than the recommended amount, and those who got three times (3.75 hours of intense activity) added nearly five years to their expected lifespan.

 

That may not sound like a lot to someone who is still young, but that’s the difference between never meeting your grandchild to being there for their first day of kindergarten.

And contrary to what you may think, this study found that those with a history of cancer or heart disease reaped MORE benefits than those without that history.

There are a lot of theories going around about “fitness age” versus chronological age, as well, and it’s believed that your fitness age determines death much more accurately than your actual date-age that is based on a calendar. To calculate your “fitness age” go here: https://www.worldfitnesslevel.org/#/

According to bicycling.com, a Norweigan study, found that just 30 minutes on a bicycle every day caused nearly five years of extended life on average in men.

My personal belief is that it extends life expectancy because it’s one form of exercise that is easy to form habits around, and that is genuinely enjoyable. If you like your bike, then you will want to get out and ride every day.

The ways that bicycling keeps you coming back for the next ride include:

  • Endless variety – you can choose a new route every day. You never have to do the same workout twice! Try a new hill, beat an old record, take it easy, drive 20 miles to a new trail, etc.
  • It travels with you – no matter how busy your life gets or how far you move and travel, you can either rent a cycle or take yours with you. There’s virtually nowhere that it’s impossible to ride, so your fitness routine can go with you.
  • It can save you money – being an experienced cyclist can mean that you no longer have to drive your car everywhere you go. It means not paying for parking or gym memberships. It cuts medical bills. All in all, it can improve your finances as much as it does your health.
  • It prevents depression – bicycling is proven to help with moods and anxiety and can help balance your hormones. The mental boost you get from unplugging and getting outdoors for a workout isn’t something that can even be compared to a gym workout or a home aerobics routine. You will find that your anxiety and stress melt away as you pedal, and your entire life seems to improve when you get into a routine of riding 3-4 times a week.

Knoxville Rail Crossings On Bike Routes Causing Unprecedented Amount Of Crashes

August 8, 2017 — video cameras in Knoxville have shown 53 wrecks at just one crossing in a two month period, with several of the crashes requiring hospital visits.

Why? Imagine this – you are cruising along when you note that there’s a street car or train track ahead that you will have to cross. You assume it’s not a big deal, since they’ve dropped the tracks down into the road so that you are going over sunken tracks. You glide forward confidently and ease into the crossing.

Suddenly your left handle is ripped out of your hand as your front wheel turns sharply to the right and stops, wedged into the gap between the track and the street. If you are fortunate, you were going slowly enough that you topple sideways. But if you were moving at a good pace it’s likely that you will go over the handle bars.

The cause of this scenario repeating itself 53 times in 8 weeks was that the cyclists were required to hit the track at a 45-degree angle, causing their wheel to catch on the track.

Knoxville is working to fix this intersection and others like it by widening the route into a “jug handle” to allow for a 60-degree angle on the crossing. While it’s recommended that tracks always be crossed at a 90-degree angle, 60 degrees has shown to be a statistical improvement of monumental scale that has essentially eliminated the crashes when cyclist use the jug handle markings to take a more gradual approach to the tracks.

Bicycle Rail Crossings

A safety tip from NACTO for all track crossings is to prepare for the crossing by sitting up straight and upright before crossing so that the weight on your bicycle is not distributed towards the front wheel as you cross.

How To Cross Rail and Streetcar Tracks Safely

  • Prevent your narrow tires from getting caught in the tracks and twisted out of your hands by getting a minimum of a 60-degree angle so that your tires are creating as much of an “x” with the tracks as is possible.
  • Sit as upright as possible instead of leaning into your front tire.
  • Try to turn to a position where you have a good angle to cross while you still have enough time to straighten your bike out before getting to the tracks. If you have your tires turned or are leaning as you cross the tracks, your tires are likely to slip.
  • If the tracks are next to a busy road way and do not give you a minimum of a 60-degree angle, take a moment to dismount and walk across. It isn’t worth falling into a busy roadway to stay mounted.

And always, be safe!