Explore the Tees Valley on two wheels
Let’s Go Tees Valley is making it easier than ever to explore the Tees Valley on two wheels this summer thanks to its Let’s Go Ladies campaign.
Let’s Go Ladies aims to show people, women in particular, that cycling is for everyone and you don’t need to be clad in Lycra and wearing clip-in shoes to enjoy it! Riding a bike is a great way to get from A to B for everyday journeys whether that’s getting to work, popping out to the shops or visiting your local coffee shop. It’s cheap, healthy and fun.
You will find a wealth of information on the Let’s Go Ladies website, including cycle maps that can be downloaded for Darlington, Hartlepool, Middlesbrough, Redcar & Cleveland and Stockton. With more than 700km of dedicated cycle routes in the Tees Valley it couldn’t be easier to get around by bike.
As part of Let’s Go Ladies there’s a variety of guided rides being run by local Cycle centres across the Tees Valley. These rides are in small groups and led by qualified ride instructors. You’ll find rides for absolute beginners that use traffic free cycle paths and quiet roads, and some more challenging rides for those wanting to push themselves. You can even borrow a bike for many of the rides – simply follow the links on the website and get in touch using the contact information provided to book your place.
There are also free or very low-cost maintenance courses that you can take advantage of to show your bike some love, and a range of easy to follow videos showing some of the essentials like pumping up your tyres and putting your chain back on.
Best of all though is the impact that cycling can have on your sense of health and wellbeing. After just one month of cycling you can expect to see some amazing changes.
Here’s our top 10 positive changes:
1. Your fitness will improve
Just minutes into the first bike ride your metabolic rate and the rate of oxygen flow increases substantially. After a few weeks, your strength and fitness begin to significantly improve, allowing you to cycle at a higher intensity. You’ll also burn calories, protecting you against the health complications of obesity, and build lean muscle in your core and around the calves, quads, glutes and hamstrings.
2. You’ll feel happier in yourself
Exercise increases blood flow to the brain, making you to feel more awake. Happiness hormones will boost motivation, decision making and efficiency throughout the day. As the weeks pass and your body grows stronger, your confidence and self-esteem will naturally grow and flourish as you accomplish more and more on each journey.
3. You’ll be less stressed
Aerobic exercise can reduce your levels of cortisol, the stress hormone. All of the happy chemicals swirling around your body on a regular basis will help to combat symptoms of anxiety and depression, and the time you spend cycling also promotes mindfulness.
4. You’ll sleep better
Exercise tires you out, bringing you to a more restful sleep. While it isn’t clear as to how exactly physical activity contributes to sleep quality, scientists have suggested that this is because physical activity brings about the reduction of anxiety, a common cause of insomnia. It also prevents excess weight gain, a potential cause of sleep apnea.
5. You’ll have bags of energy (literally!)
Riding your bike will actually leave you with more energy than you would if you allowed yourself to press the snooze button and sit in a car on the way to work or for your day-to-day journeys. After a couple of weeks of regular cycling,your body’s mitochondria (the energy generator in your cells) reproduce rapidly. This boosts the resilience of your cells and increases the release of enzymes responsible for producing energy in the muscles.
6. You’ll breathe easier
Cycling also does wonders for your lungs. As your fitness improves, your lung capacity increases, allowing you to take in more oxygen in each breath. Not only this, but an exercise by the Healthy Air Campaign found that, on a busy central London route, a cyclist is exposed to less harmful fumes from pollution than someone taking the car. Compared to cycling, pollution levels were 90% higher in a car.
7. You’ll save time (on shorter journeys)
According to one insurance company we spend an average of 31 hours a year stuck in traffic. Not an issue when you’re cycling! For the short distance you’re travelling, the morning commute or journey to meet friends for coffee can be quicker and less stressful than the car.
8. You’ll save money
The amount of money you spend on fuel, parking and tolls on your commute builds up. Cycling completely eradicates these costs. If you already have a bike, a small investment in some safety gear might be all it takes to get you on the road to saving money.
9. You’ll get to know the area around you
Exploring the different cycle routes in your local area will open your eyes to places you may never normally visit, allowing you to see your home town in a whole new light. This will help to develop your natural sense of direction. Technology has made many of us reliant on a Sat Nav or Google Maps when it comes to travelling, so getting out and exploring on the bike puts yourself in a situation where you have to rely on yourself and your memory, which helps to sharpen that skill up again.
10. You’ll meet new people in the community
Just as you’ll discover new places as you ride, you’ll discover new people too. Despite it being a solo sport, it can actually be very sociable. You could encounter others while out on a ride, or you could get chatting to people at your local cycle centre.