By Jen Warner
When you really care about someone’s heart, take them for a bike ride! Not the first thing that came to mind for your next romantic outing? It will be. My City Bikes powered by Interbike is the national public health campaign for beginner cyclists. They’ve teamed up with local bike shops The Alt, Freewheel Bike, Maple Grove Cycling and Penn Cycle & Fitness to create the official guide to local beginner biking: the Minneapolis Bikes app. The free mobile app available for Apple and Android phones is a basic, essential guide to beginner-level biking in and around Minneapolis. Biking with your belle or beau will strengthen your hearts and strengthen your love! In celebration of national bike month, here are the top five reasons to go for a bike date this May.
1. You’ll Be a Better Partner
The best way to take care of your loved ones is to make sure you’re taking care of yourself. Biking is one of the best ways to stay in shape, and it is great for people at any level of fitness or physical ability. Biking just 20 miles a week — that’s just 2 hours at an easy pace — can cut your heart disease risk in half. Biking has also been proven to lower stress levels, improve mental fitness, and help maintain a healthy bodyweight. With all those perks being the best partner you can be might just start on two wheels.
2. It Gets Your Blood Pumping
A study by Aron, Norman, Aron, & Heyman in 2000 found that after jointly participating in an exciting physical challenge or activity, couples reported feeling more satisfied with their relationships and more in love with their partner. Whether you’re out for a leisurely ride to take in the scenery on the West River Parkway, or up for a heart-thumping challenge like mountain biking in Lebanon Hills Regional Park, you’ll bond over bikes.
3. Love Green
Do you and your partner share a passion for the environment? Not only is biking a mode of transportation that’s nearly carbon-neutral, bicyclists actually have less exposure to air pollutants when commuting by bike than people in cars or buses. Biking is better for you and better for the environment, and you’ll feel great taking care of the earth together.
4. Smile, You’ve Got Endorphins!
It’s common knowledge that physical activity triggers the body to release feel-good hormones called endorphins. Enjoying a laid-back bike ride together and taking in the sights, sounds and fresh air will give you a sensory experience to share and the physical and mental boost of endorphins will have you both feeling great inside and out.
5. It’s Full-On Romantic
There is something just old fashioned romantic about a bike ride. Plan your bike outing to an outdoor destination, like the Cedar Lake LRT Regional Trail which is a nice ride that will bring you to Cedar Lake Park, Lake Calhoun Park or Bass Lake Park where you can enjoy a stroll or a picnic. You just can’t help but swoon. Thanks, bicycles!
Ready to go on your first bike date? Here are some helpful tips for your romantic ride. First, plan your route ahead. Check the Minneapolis Bikes app for local bike lanes and paths that you can use to get where you’re going. Even if you’re just riding to a local restaurant together, having a route in mind — preferably one with light traffic — will make the experience more enjoyable. If you’re going on a fitness ride together, choose a longer or more challenging route. Otherwise keep it to within about five miles from your starting point for a manageable ride.
Second, plan for parking. Bike parking is typically much more convenient and less expensive than car parking, but make sure you have a proper bike lock with you. If you’re not sure what type of bike lock is best or how to securely lock your bike, pay a visit to one of Minneapolis’ friendliest bike shops — The Alt, Freewheel Bike, Maple Grove Cycling and Penn Cycle & Fitness — and they’ll lend a helping hand.
Last but not least, and this may seem obvious, but make sure you both have a bike and a helmet in good working order. There’s nothing like a mechanical problem to bring your romantic evening to an abrupt end. Check out your bikes to make sure the tires are inflated and they’re riding smooth before you head out. If you really want to impress your date, brush up with DIY bike repair tutorials in the Minneapolis Bikes app and hone your skills at a basic bike maintenance class at Maple Grove Cycling or Freewheel Bike. When the unexpected happens you’ll be prepared to save the day. Happy riding!
My City Bikes is the first and only public health campaign for beginner cyclists. The national web- and mobile- campaign benefits communities across the United States by providing simple, localized mobile resources and media advocacy to facilitate cycling. “No one is exempt from the basics of biking,” and that is why My City Bikes nurtures, supports and inspires the culture of beginners in biking. Whether for fun, fitness or transportation, My City Bikes is the official guide to beginner biking opportunities in communities nation-wide. Along with its network of beginner-friendly bike shops, municipal governments and national partners, My City Bikes is connecting hometowns across the United States with their basic but essential beginner biking resources to empower individuals to improve their health by simply pedaling a bike. Join the biggest bike team in the world! Download your free local My City Bikes app at www.mycitybikes.org to find local entry-level rides, need-to-know DIY bike maintenance, and beginner-friendly bike shop experts in your neighborhood.