A recent study has shown that riding a bike to work can help you lose as much weight as a high-intensity gym work out.
The study from the University of Copenhagen demonstrated that for overweight and inactive people, a bike ride to and from work is an effective way to lose fat mass.
“This is good news to the many overweight people who may not have the time or inclination to join a fitness centre, because they also have to pick up their children and cook dinner after work,” said Professor Bente Stallknecht, one of the authors of the study.
“Our results show that it is possible to combine transport to and from work with effective physical exercise.”
More Canberrans than ever are riding bikes for transport. Recently-released Census data showed that Canberra leads the nation in active commuting, with 8.4 percent of us riding or walking to work.
Yet the data also showed that the ACT had a 5 percent jump in the number of motorists, with a huge 74.9 percent of the population using cars to get to work.
Cars are bad for the environment, parking is limited and expensive, and the social benefits of driving are nil. Yet three-quarters of Canberrans rely on motor vehicles to get to work, for shopping, ferrying the kids around and running errands every day.
Many point to Canberra’s widespread layout and hilly environment as a reason that they choose to drive everywhere.
That is where e-bikes can help. E-bikes that use a pedal-assist system can bring many of the health benefits of regular bicycles without the worry of turning up to work late and sweaty.
Pedal Power ACT is coordinating a come-and-try day for the e-bike curious on Sunday 19 November, in conjunction with Canberra Urban Adventures and Pushys. They hope that when people are given the opportunity to try an e-bike they will see how easy it makes cycling around our hilly landscape, and maybe even try riding to work a couple of times a week.
Canberran commuters are encouraged to sign up to Cycle Works throughout November and set a personal goal to ride to work a certain number of times a week. Participants from the first Cycle Works challenge in April have reported seeing the benefits of regular active travel.
“The April Cycle Works got me back on my bike commuting to work,” said participant Mark Kettle, who kept up the habit and has been riding to work 3-4 times a week since April.
“The benefits have been great, I lost 9 kilos, saved a bucket on parking and arrive at work happy.”
What keeps you from riding to work in Canberra? Is it the distance, the hills, fitness, do your parenting duties stop you from riding, or is it something else?
Anne Treasure is the Communications Manager for Pedal Power ACT. She writes on bike riding in the ACT from the perspective of someone who rides mainly for transport.