Friday, 12 July 2013

Bicycling Part One-Reasons to ♥ Your Bike!

Welcome to the first part of the Octagon cycling blog. You may already know that we are particularly keen on cycling here at the clinic by the number of bicycles you have to manoeuvre around when you arrive for your appointment. We love cycling for good reason and over the course of these occasional ramblings we hope to inspire you to dig out that bike from the back of the shed and go riding.

As Chiropractors we are often asked what form of exercise we would recommend and indeed there are merits in all forms of exercise. However if we were to look at the cost to benefit ratio, cycling is right up there with walking and swimming. If you can use the bicycle as an alternative to the car it becomes even more attractive.

Chiropractor Rachel Hodson and her bike!

So the benefits.....improving ones core strength. Perhaps not quite as good as Pilates, yoga, or intensive rehabilitation but definitely beneficial. Cardiovascular health and lung function, certainly. Balance and coordination, stamina, joint mobilisation, the list goes on, and if you get to leave the car in the drive way, you get to save the planet too.

OK the objections to getting out on a bike....never learnt to ride one. OK, fair enough but there are some excellent adult beginners classes out there often sponsored by the local council.

'I'll get cold and wet and ruin my hair'. If you wait for good weather in Britain before venturing out you'll spend an awfully long time indoors. The right kit really helps. Quality, lightweight waterproofs are a good start and soon you wont even notice whether it's raining or not. Portland in Oregon is the city with the highest density of cyclists in the world and being in the Pacific Northwest they average 300 days of rain a year. It makes West London feel like the Sahara!

'I'm going to get killed if I go out on the road'. OK this is a more serious issue. The roads out there are dangerous, there is no getting away from that fact, be it in a car, on a bicycle or by any other means, this will almost certainly be the most dangerous thing you do all day, unless perhaps your job involves bomb disposal.

For cyclists there are several ways of reducing the risk. Taking an advanced cycling course will teach you a lot about potential danger and how to avoid it, London also has a vast network of cycle routes which avoid busy roads and as a major capital city we have an enviable amount of green space and canal and river towpaths, much of which is accessible by bicycle! So go on dig that trusty machine out from behind the lawnmower, oil the chain, blow up the tyres and get out there and ride.

Next time: How to choose the right bicycle

Stephen Hughes is a Chiropractor at and founder of the Octagon Clinic


  1. You won’t be alone if this point seems contradictory to common sense. But a recent study suggests that people who ride a bike are actually exposed to fewer dangerous fumes than those who travel by car. A study by the Healthy Air Campaign, Kings College London, and Camden Council, saw air pollution detectors fitted to a driver, a bus user, a pedestrian and a cyclist using a busy route through central London. The results showed that the driver experienced five times higher pollution levels than the cyclist, as well as three and a half more than the walker and two and a half times more than the bus user. Long story short: the cyclist won. garmin edge 810 vs 520

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