Once you have a bike, it can increase your physical activity levels. Choosing to cycle rather than drive or take public transport can also save you money and help the environment.

Health benefits of cycling

With all the benefits of outdoors physical activity, regular cycling can reduce the risk of a number of serious illnesses including:

  • heart disease
  • type 2 diabetes
  • stroke

Cycling can also boost your mood, improving the symptoms of some mental health conditions like depression and anxiety. Cycling can also help you maintain a healthy weight.

Cycling is a low-impact exercise, meaning it's easier on your joints compared to high-impact aerobic activities like running.

How to start cycling

A bike shop will be able to advise you on choosing the right bike for you. If you buy a bike second hand, consider having a mechanic check it over to make sure it's roadworthy.

You do not need special clothing to ride a bicycle. However, you may consider wearing brighter clothing to help other road users see you. You must also use lights to ride at night.

How often should you cycle?

Cycling can be a great way to reach the recommended amount of physical activity per week of 150 minutes. Cycling to work or school some days, a couple of shorter rides during the week or a longer ride at the weekend, will help achieve this easily.

Where to cycle

When starting out, you can begin cycling in traffic-free areas like a local park or cycle path.

Always follow the Highway Code when cycling on roads. A route you might take by car may not be the best route for riding a bike. It's worth checking out the route options to help you enjoy your journey. It is worth checking out the route options to help you enjoy your journey.

You can build up your skills and confidence through an Essential Cycling Skills training course, app or short guide from Cycling Scotland.

Further information on cycling

Sustrans has information on the National Cycle Network in Scotland with information on routes for all ability levels.

Last updated:
28 November 2022

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