City Life, Lifestyle
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How I’ve Benefited From Biking in Chicago

woman walking bike across bridge

If you asked what my most important purchase of 2020 was, I’d immediately say my bike and go into a long spill about all of the benefits of biking.

Woman standing next to bike on State Street Bridge
State Street Bridge Chicago

Acquiring a bike wasn’t easy. Everyone wanted one simultaneously; therefore, bicycle shops and online suppliers were out or had long backlogs. I gave up on those and decided to pursue one on OfferUp or Craigslist. However, each time I’d get a lead, the bike would sell before I’d get there.

I’m so happy that I didn’t give up because I finally snagged an oldie but goodie from Craigslist.

She needed a bit of TLC and demand backed up the bicycle repair shops. But, I was able to get her back after ten days. I can’t fully explain how happy my two wheels have made me! Here are a few ways that cycling has helped me!

1. HEALTHY BENEFITS OF BIKING

Woman standing next to bike

I’ve never been one to spend a tremendous amount of time in the gym. I’d prefer being tricked into exercising through fun activities, lol. Cycling is so much fun, and I can ride for hours!

I’ve noticed how the inches are melting away, and I’m not mad about it. Besides that, my stamina and energy levels are up, and I’m getting lots of Vitamin D! It’s also good for my heart, lungs, and I’ve gained muscle from all the burn!

2. CYCLING IS A FAMILY AFFAIR

My adoration for biking in Chicago rubbed off on my husband so much that he decided to get a bike. We were able to find him a bike before me, which was kind of annoying, lol. But I’m so happy that he purchased one.

My son and I commute to work together on our bikes and do night rides around the city. As a family, we spend a lot of time exploring and getting in our workouts together. It brings me tremendous joy!

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3. Enjoy Nature and Fresh Air While Biking

Being outside in nature, breathing fresh air is the most beautiful feeling! I’ve learned that it’s hard for me to be angry or upset when surrounded by natural beauty. It gives perspective and reminds me of how small I am in the grand scheme of things.

Bicycle in forefront of Chicago Skyline
South view of the skyline from the Lakefront Bike Path

Chicago’s lakefront is a magnificent gem free for everyone to enjoy, and I’m very grateful for it. You not only get stunning views, but there are many trees along the trail and spots for resting, relaxation, and picnics. The peaceful energy and calm infused are therapeutic, and the reminders of things to be grateful for are soothing.

4. Cycling Gives Social Interaction

Social interaction is another benefit of biking. This year has been tough with not being able to see many people. I missed the interchange. When walking to work, I’d only pass a handful of individuals, which was the weirdest feeling.

Hitting the bike trails gave me social interaction. Although we were quickly passing by, I welcomed the smiles and waves. I was just happy to see other people out and about feeling good!

5. Biking Reduces Stress and Anxiety

To describe this year as heavy would be an understatement! Everywhere I turn, there’s something ready to cause disruption and worry. Living in downtown Chicago put me smack dab in the middle of tense and chaotic scenes. You can’t live through them and not be affected.

I suffered from anxiety attacks in the past years and overcame them with much effort. However, I’m still prone to stress and worry and must consciously work through things to avoid falling into old patterns. Biking helps me break up those bricks of anxiety that I’m inclined to carry. I imagine demolishing burdens with each stroke of my pedal. It works!

6. Discover New Places While Cycling

Blue Bike resting against a colorful mural
Love Mural 2471 N. Clark Lincoln Park

Bicycling is the best way to explore Chicago, in my opinion. I’ll frequently spot cool murals or historical places that I’d usually miss if I’m in a vehicle. I’ve also discovered many small mom and pop restaurants with incredible food in neighborhoods I’ve explored. Being on a bike also allows me to cover multiple communities in shorter periods.

7. Positive Mindset from Biking

Each time I hop on my bike, I get a mental exercise session! I unpack my thoughts and feelings on things and work through them. The solitude enables me to tune out the noise, reflect, meditate on things, and be in tune with myself.

Too many individuals are trying to sway our thinking in one way or another. There’s mounting pressure to align with opinions. Regularly working within myself helps me have a greater sense of self and not allow the negativity surrounding me to change who I am as a person.

Woman walking blue bike across bridge in Chicago
Wabash St. Bridge

Besides, it helps me to have a healthy view of other people’s beliefs and opinions. I often walk away with more empathy and compassion for others. Many times, positive thoughts pop into my mind that I can carry in my day-to-day interactions with others on social media and real life.

8. Biking Brings out Creativity

Chicago Lakefront

When my mind isn’t cluttered, and I’m chill, creativity follows. Sometimes I have to pull to the side and take notes of different thoughts and ideas that come to mind.

9. Biking Creates Opportunities to Meet New People

Group of smiling women standing next to their bikes
A few of my awesome neighbors

Cycling in groups is so much fun and helps keep me accountable during my lazy days. One of my neighbors organized a few community bike rides, and it resulted in me meeting some pretty cool people in my apartment building. I’ve also joined a biking club, and the experience has been incredible!

group of women standing by bicycles

We regularly do 20-mile bike rides through the city, and it is so much fun! My favorites are the night rides through the city. I’m always in awe of the incredible bikes people have! Some are super decked out!

These are just a few biking benefits I’ve noticed. I plan to continue riding throughout the winter; wish me luck, lol!

Night Ride Ready

Some may get these benefits from other things. The important thing is to discover what works for you and assists you with navigating stressful situations. What has helped you keep a positive mindset? Let me know in the comments.

Bike Safety Tips

  • Always wear a helmet
  • Obey the traffic laws
  • Watch for pedestrians
  • Don’t ride on the sidewalks
  • Use the bike lane where available; when there’s no bike lane, ride in the right lane or shoulder
  • Use hand signals
  • Ride in the direction of traffic
  • Stay in your lane
  • Keep alert

2 Comments

  1. Carol says

    Now i feel like i really need to get my bike fixed. Great read, Flo!!!

    • Flo says

      Thanks Carol! Yes, you should definitely get your bike fixed ❤️

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