Not-So-Speedy Pedaling Boosts Benefits

Ideal Biking Pace




Daxiao Productions/Shutterstock.com

Researchers from the United Kingdom’s University of Winchester have found that cycling improves brain function. The study tested the cognitive function of 17 physically active men in their 20s before and after two, 30-minute sessions on a stationary bike. The results showed significant cognitive improvements following each session.

Biking to work is also a good way to reduce our carbon footprint, but breathing in exhaust fumes and other pollutants is a concern for street cyclists. Alexander Bigazzi, a transportation expert in the department of civil engineering and school of community and regional planning at the University of British Columbia, has studied the relationship between average-speed bicycle travel and inhalation of potentially harmful air.

Using a U.S. Census-based computer model of 10,000 people, Bigazzi found that the ideal bicycling speed to inhale the minimum amount of pollution is between 7.5 to 12.5 miles per hour (mph), placing the lowest risk for women at nearly eight mph and for men at just over eight mph. “The faster you move, the harder you breathe and the more pollution you could potentially inhale, but you are also exposed to traffic for a shorter period of time. This analysis shows where the sweet spot is,” says Bigazzi.


This article appears in the May 2017 issue of Natural Awakenings.

Edit ModuleShow Tags

More from Natural Awakenings

Eat Right to Sleep Well

Rather than popping a pill, eating certain foods can kick-start hormones that help us get a long, deep night’s sleep.

We Need Clean Waters

Efforts are underway around the country to make polluted waterways clean again and to instill local appreciation for their many helpful roles.

Peter Gros on Preserving Wild Nature

The wildlife expert explains why we should appreciate wolves, snakes and bats and what he finds encouraging about an enlightened focus on wildlife protection.

Running with the Kids

Families with children as young as 5 easily bond when they mindfully run together at a fun pace.

Livable Communities We Love

Across the country, cities from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh to Portland are finding fresh new ways to create engaging street life for residents while eco-upgrading their green spaces, services and infrastructure.

Add your comment: