Get on yer bike and give your heart and lungs a great workout

by Padraig Conlon

Cycling is a wonderful, stimulating and healthy activity with so many benefits for young and old alike.

With the arrival of Spring, and better weather, now is the time to maybe consider getting back in the saddle.

Improved cardiovascular and mental health are just two of the many benefits you’ll gain from regular cycling.

Because it’s an aerobic activity, cycling gives your heart and lungs a great work out while also reducing your blood pressure and your cholesterol level.

Cycling also releases endorphins – chemicals that make us feel good, and the increased health and fitness gained by regular cycling helps to create a happier and improved outlook on life.

Here in Dublin, we are lucky with the climate as it generally never gets too hot, wet or cold to cycle and the city is relatively flat.

In comparison to cities with a similar population density, for example, Dublin gets less freezing weather than Copenhagen, and less rain than Amsterdam.

However, a lack of good cycle lanes is an issue in Dublin, and calls are increasing for the implementation of the GDA (Greater Dublin Area) Cycle Network Plan.

First put forward by the National Transport Authority in 2013, the plan will see the number of segregated cycle routes in and around Dublin increase from 500km to 1,485km in length.

The roll-out of the GDA Cycle Network Plan has been stalled over the past seven years, but some routes have been built – among them the 7km Canal Way, and 3km of the Sutton to Sandycove route.

Despite this, there are still some excellent cycle routes which are safe and well worth a spin.

My own three favourites are:

• Clontarf to Howth (12km)

Taking you along the coast, you can detour into Dollymount Strand along the way for some added excitement. St Anne’s Park can also be included in this route.

• Sandymount – Dun Laoghaire (8km)

Another coastal route with great views of Dublin Bay, highlights include a lovely park between Booterstown and Blackrock village, the 40 Foot bathing area, Bullock Harbour and Collimore Harbour, with stunning views of Dalkey island.

Dodder Valley Park (6km)

Even though this route brings me to work, it is lovely! This route takes you along the banks of The Dodder with plenty of trees thrown in for good measure!

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