Category Archives: Health


Most of people think about bicycles as the traditional vehicle in which one person rides in order to move herself from point A to point B. But a bike can be utilized for a myriad of uses from cargo bikes to emergency-bike. As time goes by, cities are becoming more a more bike and pedestrian friendly. However, in some cases when an emergency vehicle is needed, it can found it difficult to move in labyrinthine areas like downtown. In such cases, bicycles are ideal to move fast on them since the small space it needs as well as its versatility make it an ideal way of transport.

Paris is a beautiful city which has been opting for promoting the bike use among its citizens and tourists. They faced the problem of health emergencies with the innovative idea of the emergency-bike. It consists in a modified cargo bike with the essential equipment for doctors to save lives. Moreover, the project took place with the involvement of the Parisian emergency service, thus they gave engineers the medical perspective. As a result, this bike counts on a 150 capacity liters special storage compartment in which to carry medical supplies, a 140 dB horn, a high intensity, blue LED light, anti-flat tires, a GPS unit and one USB port. What is more, an electrical motor makes it easy and fast moving with the emergency-bike. Indeed, saving a life is a matter of time as every minute a patient does not get care by a doctor, the life expectancy is reduced by a 10%. As a result, the two 500 Wh batteries of the emergency-bike fulfills this need.

On the other hand, the implication of health professionals is essential. At the beginning, engineers made lots of prototypes with the advice of medical staff. Going step by step, they finally created the emergency-bike. Precisely the health workers involvement allowed the emergency-bike to be used from day one because it comply with their needs. Furthermore, studies have been made on the emergency-bike use concluding that doctors take care of patients twice as fast as cars and they attend the double of daily medical interventions thank to this bicycle.

From the financial assistance to the bike movement in order to promote biking

When we were in the worst state of pandemic, some governments gave financial assistance to citizens to buy environmentally friendly ways of transport, mainly bicycles. Bikes allow private, mostly individual displacements while maintaining safety distance with other actors in the road, two good points in favor of fighting against Covid19 as we know. Another area covered by this money was the transformation of a conventional bike into an electric one. This point has sense specially in hilly or too extensive zones. And data showed a boom in the use of bikes in the next months.

A different impact of such an action could have been an increment in the cost of bikes. Since people have more money to spend, bicycles could cost more. This is an immoral approach because the financial assistance did not cover all the petitioners, thus many could have been expelled from the interesting assistance. I do not even like to think about what could have happened if a piece of news explained that the bike shop X or the bike manufacturer Y had increased the cost of bikes in these days. Surely, the branch would have need to invest substantially more money than the extra gained income as a result of the bike movement which only wants to populate roads with bicycles. Regarding its influence, the bike movement has made possible happier people, taking care of the planet or, indirectly, looking after bikers health. Concrete events like the Critical Mass, the European Mobility Week or the Iberian Congress, just to name but a few, have contributed to promote the bike use.

More and more people ride their bike every year. Thank you!

Blind cyclers

Suffering a vision impairment or becoming blind can change your live. Your plans and future projects can be disrupted, but new doors can be opened. Blind cyclers are not allowed to drive a car or a motorbike because of security purposes. However, they can continue practicing cycling with the help of a driver. Such a person comprises a key point in promoting biking thanks to their big heart.

Blindness has not stopped brave women and men to compete and win medals in Paralympic games. In such cases drivers are essential for them. Thanks to their solidarity and good hearts, tandems ride without envying not-blinded bikers. They act as their eyes, guiding them throughout the race track under a previously agreed, specific language so that the impeded person knows what to do all the time, if they need to turn to right or left, the soil they ride on and so on.

Such a challenged purpose requires drivers to be sportspersons, better if they are previously riders, if the partner wants to compete. A lot of visually impeded persons claim that practicing a sport is a fundamental tool to feel integration in society, even if it constitutes an important effort.

You know, experiencing a vision impairment is a shock at the beginning, but once the period of mourning is passed, bike gives a lot of fun and pleasure.

Bike and food

Riding a bike means practicing sport even if it is a relaxing pedaling. Although most of bikers are not considered professional ones like those who participate in the Tour of France, the Giro of Italy or the Vuelta of Spain, we should consider suitable food to eat before starting pedaling. Cycling, as well as every aerobic exercise, causes a reduction in the simple carbohydrates content of your body and it can diminish your fat proportion. This fact appears after sugars provide energy to your muscles. Thus, if you want to reduce brown fat, practice aerobic exercises.

Eaten food before pedaling can produce two effects in your body. First, eating energy-rich food (with lots of complex carbohydrates or fats) helps you exercising at least until this extra energy is burned. In fact, bikers who practice high-intensive, competitive exercises such as riding in the Tour, Giro o Vuelta, eat within stages to re-energize them. It is important that food provides complex carbohydrates. This way, body takes longer time to absorb it, so energy levels are higher when starting pedaling. Otherwise cyclers who eat simple carbohydrates would have much less energy because they eat one or more hours before starting exercising.

Second, eating too much can cause problems when cycling since body needs energy and blood to digest food. In other words, if you eat too much then your muscles and digestive tract compete with each other. The more energy and blood to muscle, the worse digestion. And the better digestion, the worse cycling.

Hence, take into account that food is an important issue to ride your bike.

Cycling is time-effective

Cycling saves time is one of the advantages of using your bike to go to work, study or buy. Pieces of news and research television documentaries have demonstrated it. If you have not noticed it, think about it or just do the following to check it:

– Determine your start and end points

– Make the comparison between these three alternatives:

  • Get in the car, sit in traffic, queue to get into the car park, pay to park, park your car, and arrive to the end point
  • Walk to the bus stop, wait for it, get on bus (pay), watch the roads throughout the window, leave the bus, walk to the end point
  • Get on your bike, filter past traffic, lock your bike, walk to the end point

I promise you if you do the three experiences, you will discover that using your bike is the fastest ,specially in cities, as well as cheaper. Moreover, you will fight against climate change and practice sport. Furthermore, cycling contributes to reduce obesity and protects your body and your mind.

Cycling body health benefits (3/3)

Continuing with the series about health impacts and cycling, this time I am going to show additional body benefits different from the ones exposed here and here.

When comparing cycling with some other sports, is considered low impact. A lot of research has been carried out in the last years comparing perhaps the two most practiced sports: cycling vs running. The fact of running being weight bearing makes injury rates to be higher in comparison to cycling (which is not weight bearing). This point was demonstrated even with long distance runners and cyclists. When researchers compared both groups, they discovered runners suffered 133-144 per cent more muscle damage, 256 per cent more inflammation, and 87 per cent higher DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) compared to the cyclists group. Overall, riding a bike is specially indicated for those who have osteoarthritis since it is a low-impact exercise that places little stress on joints.

Moreover, cycling allows reaching further places compared to other sports in the same time. As a result, it improves your navigation skills no matter where you practice it. You need to remember a route or determine where is the North when riding. Orientation and addresses should be in your memory or you would need to earn your daily bread with your own resources, no matter whether you are cycling in a city, mountain or countryside.

Furthermore, cycling improves your sexual life. Yes, you have read it right. Why is so? Doctors said the muscles developed on the bike are used during intercourse. The better developed these muscles, the longer and more athletic intercourse will be. And it works for women and men.

Next, it is not rocket science that tiring yourself out on a bike will improve your sleep. Researchers determined sleep problems to those people who drop between 2-4 per cent in cardiorespiratory exercise practice, no matter the people gender. Looking for the causes, they suggested it could be a reduction in anxiety brought by exercise than improves the ability to sleep. Bike exercise also protects against weight gain with age, which is another cause of sleep dysfunction.

Finally, riding a bike also increases handling and spacial awareness. Climbing, descending and cornering, among others technical elements, teach you how to use your body weight to get the bike to go where you want it to. Gaining the skills to manage these technical elements can provide an increase in your muscles and a massive confidence boost, specially when you start to see improvements. Posture and coordination are also improved. And it only takes two to four hours a week to achieve a general improvement to your health.


Back in 2020, humanity faced a disaster officially known as covid-19. Hundred of thousands got ill and thousands died. The negative impacts of such a pandemic are well-know, but on the other hand, there were few positive points.

Regarding the essence of this blog, the most important one was the compulsory, drastic reduction in the use of vehicles powered by a combustion engine in most countries. This was so in order to diminish contacts between people and avoid infections. At the same time, this action leaded to an unprecedented pollution reduction. It was so impressive that only climate scientists and other specialized workers in the field had previously noticed the remarkable improvement in quality air. News and scientific analyses confirmed their believes. For example, data in Valencia, Spain, showed a more than 50% drop in nitrogen dioxide, as well as an extraordinary fall in CO2 production. Similar results were measured in central European countries, Italy or China. Noise was also reduced and contributed to improve quality lives. Thus, the moral of these adopted measures to war against the virus was the less vehicles powered by a combustion engine running, the better for human health and environment.

This is a lesson for skeptical people and specially those politicians who still hinder fights against climate change. Pollution and noise negatively impact human health and using your bike is an excellent method to become part of the solution, not part of the problem.

Cycling body health benefits (2/3)

Continuing with this series of posts, in the first one I talked about health benefits of cycling: weight control, muscle development and immune system reinforcement. Now, I am going to highlight the benefits of riding regarding diseases.

Researchers have demonstrated blood pumping your body and calories burned when riding helps you cut your risk of developing major illnesses such as heart disease and several kinds of cancer. For instance, cycling to work was showed an impact of cutting half the risk of suffering heart attacks or cancer in 260,000 individuals over the course of five years.

Second, cardiovascular disease is a term than includes stroke, high blood pressure and heart attack. By practicing regular cycling, one stimulates and improves her heart, lungs and circulation. Conversely, she reduces her risk of cardiovascular disease. This is related to the fact that riding strengthens your heart muscles, lowers resting pulse and reduces blood fat levels. The comparisons are odious, but research demonstrated that people who cycle to work have two to three times less exposure to pollution than car drivers, and their lung function is improved.

Third, type 2 diabetes is related to lack of psychical activity as a clear indicator of developing such a disease. Large-scales researches have shown than riding for more than 30 minutes per day had a 40 per cent lower risk of developing this type of diabetes.

Related to a previous point, bicyclers are exposed to fewer pollution than car drivers. Indeed, researchers measured air pollution through detectors fitted to a driver, a bus user, a pedestrian and a cyclist. These people moved through a busy route in central London. The results showed the car driver experienced five times higher pollution levels than the cyclist and three and a half more pollution measures than the bus user. As a result, lung health improves when riding instead of driving a car.

Cycling body health benefits (1/3)

Cycling is related to psychology and produces a series of mental benefits as I wrote about it here, here and here. On the other hand, it also provokes a lot of body health benefits. The first post of this series deals with the weight control, muscle development and immune system reinforcement.

The basic equation when intending to loss weight is calories out must exceed calories in. In other words, you need to burn more calories than you consume. Researchers have determined that cycling burns between 400 and 1,000 calories per hour, depending on intensity and bicycler weight. Other research shows that riding for just thirty minutes every day will burn nearly five kilograms of fat over a year. Furthermore, you decide the time and intensity of cycling, thus you can adapt them to your needs.

Additional implications are the joy this activity produces when practiced and how much time you spend burning calories on a bike. Moreover, riding increases your metabolic rate which is closely related to burning body fat. However, weight loss by cycling is boosted with a healthy eating plan.

Next, riding a bike also builds muscle, specially around the glutes, hamstrings, quads and calves. Impressively, muscle is leaner than fat and people with a higher percentage of muscle burn more calories practicing the same sport.

Finally, the immune system is strengthen when cycling. Researchers have found benefits of the upper respiratory system (and reducing instances of the common cold). In addition, mild exercise can improve your immune system by increasing production of essential proteins and waking up lazy white blood cells.

Nevertheless, some research suggests that immediately after intense exercise your immune system is lowered, but adequate recovery such as eating and sleeping well reverses it.

Bike and psychology (2/3)

Continuing with the post series about bikes and psychology that I started here, this time I am going to write about the benefits of cycling at mental level. Generally speaking, pedaling helps build a better brain, structurally and functionally, no matter if you do it indoors or outdoors.

Beneath the brain‘s there is the white matter, which has been likened to a subway system connecting different regions of the brain. A reduction in the activity in this system can slow thinking and provoke other cognitive deficits. Some scientific studies (like this) show the benefits of pedaling. In this case, two populations were compared: healthy individuals and schizophrenia patients. In turn, they were divided into two groups, half of they were randomly selected for a six-month exercise program using a stationary bike, whereas the other half continued with its lives. Brain scans demonstrated that the group who pedaled on a regular basis increased the integrity of white matter in both healthy and schizophrenic brains.

We have a protein called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) that helps maintain existing neurons and create new ones. Moreover, BDNF collaborates in restraining some neurological diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Studies like this one brought to light increases in BDNF levels in volunteers with either type 2 diabetes or metabolic syndrome, both groups practicing regular exercise on a stationary bike for three months.

Using bikes also helps increasing memory and reasoning. In this study young men pedaled a stationary bike at moderate intensity for 30 minutes, and completed a series of cognitive tests before and afterward. As you can imagine, scores were higher on memory, reasoning and planning, and were able to finish the tests more rapidly than before. And after pedaling for just 30 minutes!

Furthermore, a lot of studies have demonstrated that regular physical activity helps prevent stress, anxiety and depression. It also applies to bikes. For instance, this study focused on people with depression who were treated with antidepressants. After using a stationary bike for 15 minutes, their level of cortisol, a stress hormone, declined.

Most studies have been conducted for stationary bikes because of controlling the studies environment. However, cycling outdoors, specially in natural surroundings, enlarges these benefits. It is due to spending time in nature usually reduces stress and decrease symptoms of depression and anxiety. What’s more, there is evidence that the green exercise boosts enjoyment and motivation.

Related to the previous paragraph, in this study this effect was demonstrated on pedaling indoors, though this could be ironic. Specifically, scientists encouraged volunteers to pedal a stationary bike while watching a five-minute video of a green, leafy trail. Three forms of the video were shown: unedited, edited to look red and edited to look gray. Those who watched the unedited green video reported a less negative mood overall. In addition, bicyclers expressed that they felt like less work, even their heart rate and breathing remained the same for all conditions.

Additional benefits of riding a bike are:

  • It helps you sleep better: Riders who ride regularly are able to get their circadian rhythm in sync by lowering the levels of cortisol. Besides, it can positively affect brain serotonin to improve sleep cycles.

  • Creative thinking and problem-solving are also improved by cycling.

  • Studies have shown that employees who ride a bike to work are more productive. Moreover, a quick afternoon bike ride can boost energy levels and help have a more productive evening.

To sum up, mental health highly benefits from riding a bike that every person should do it on a regular basis.