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Cycling to work is a great way to keep active and reduce the risk of cancer. What better way to get your weekly dose of physical activity?

And the benefits don’t just stop at cancer prevention!

  • Cycling will save you money (on petrol, parking, and general wear and tear of your car).
  • Leaving your car at home is the greatest gift you can give to the environment.

In recent years, Adelaide has become a bicycle friendly city. Infrastructure upgrades are designed with cyclists in mind, making our roads much safer. And with South Australian drivers more aware of the need to share the road, you can feel safe knowing there are many other cyclists out there, just like you!

If you’re not convinced yet, here are 6 handy hints to get you on the bike!

1 – The safest route may be different to the one in your car

There may be a safer route to take when you’re cycling, than the way you normally go in your car. Check the State Government’s online tool for bicycle friendly routes all over Adelaide. If you are nervous about cycling on the road, going out on the weekend or during off-peak traffic hours may give you a chance to get confident on your bike—you’ll find it’s quite different to driving your car!

2 – Cycling part of the way isn’t cheating!

Cycling all the way to work might not be practical for everyone, especially if you usually do school or childcare drop off on the way.  That is where a joint car-cycling journey may come in handy. Load your bike in the car, drive some of the way and then cycle the rest! Make sure you park in a secure location and take note of any parking restrictions.

3 – Plan your commute ahead of time

Commuting by bike is different to a casual recreational ride because you have somewhere you need to be. Do you need to change into different clothes once you get to your destination? Will you need a shower or tidy up? You’ll need to think ahead and pack everything you’ll need in advance, including toiletries. Bringing some items to work ahead of time, such as a change of clothes and a towel, will lighten your load while cycling.

4 – It’s not the law to wear lycra

Lycra may be the professional attire for cycling, but it’s not essential just because you’re riding your bike. You can wear anything you find comfortable—BUT ensure your trousers are not loose at the ankles (you don’t want your trouser leg to get caught in the bike chain or pedal). Remember to avoid wearing dark colours, the brighter your clothing is, the more visible you are to others on the road.

5 – Invest in bike lights

We all know flashing lights grab our attention, that’s why ambulances, police cars and emergency service vehicles have them. If your bike lights have a flashing function; use it all the time. Don’t be afraid to turn them on, even during daytime commutes. They make you extra visible to cars on the road and give you peace of mind.

6 – Obey the road rules and ride safely

As a bike rider, you must obey the same road rules as a motor vehicle driver. This includes stopping at red lights, giving way to pedestrians at crossings and oncoming traffic at intersections. Stay alert at all times, and ride in a predictable way, using your arms to signal your intention to turn left or right. Never assume anyone using the road, including vehicles, cyclists or pedestrians, have seen you.

Exercise for cancer prevention

Cancer Council SA recommends the following weekly exercise for a healthy lifestyle that reduces the risk of cancer:

  • 150 – 300 minutes (2 ½ to 5 hours) of moderate intensity physical activity
  • 75 – 150 minutes (1 ¼ to 2 ½ hours) of vigorous intensity physical activity or
  • an equivalent combination of both moderate and vigorous activities, each week.

What does this mean for me?

  1. Moderate intensity physical activity requires some effort, but still allows you to speak while undertaking the activity. Examples include a brisk walk, slow cycling, dancing or water aerobics.
  2. Vigorous intensity physical activity requires more effort and makes you breathe harder and faster, and you cannot speak without stopping to catch a breath every few words. Examples include jogging, fast or uphill cycling, basketball, or aerobics.

To find out more about Cancer Council SA’s Healthy Living for Cancer Prevention and to access our free resources  click here!