Summer is our busiest time of year for events and fundraising activities and our supporters come out in force with ideas for dynamic and creative feats, from fun runs to freefalling.

The warmer weather and the diverse landscape of the southwest makes Devon a great county to explore in any manner, from horseback to Segway. But the county also attracts huge numbers of cyclists who are keen to have fun, get fit, and get out there into some of the most beautiful scenery in the UK. 

If you're thinking about getting active, and perhaps raising a little money for charity, and if you needed a little more convincing to do so, then read on.

The great outdoors

With two coastlines and hundreds of miles of road that connects rugged moorland and ancient forest to quaint villages and charming seaside towns, there is a rich variety of interesting terrain and beautiful scenery to explore.

You don't have to be an expert cyclist to negotiate the landscape either. Many built-for-purpose level routes exist that make for gentle family days out. The ambition of national charity, Sustrans, is to make it much easier for people to choose to walk and cycle, and it has listed some of the best cycle rides in Devon to explore.

If you don't have your own bike (or if your bike needs a complete overhaul), it could be worth looking into local bike hire as there are plenty of options for the day tripper. Otherwise, those looking to shop for a bike might consider shopping at Ride On in Exeter, a charity that reconditions donated bikes. Quite often we will pass on bikes that are donated to us to this charity as Ride On can guarantee the safety of the bike when reselling it, thanks to their in-house mechanical expertise.

Increase your health and fitness

Cycling is a fantastic low impact activity, which means it causes fewer strains and injuries than many other forms of exercise. It's also a good muscle work out for the whole body.

Another good thing about riding a bike is that it's like... riding a bike - you never really forget how it's done. People of all ages and levels of proficiency can handle it, and you can set yourself the goals that suit you for increasing your strength, stamina and aerobic fitness. 

Other physical benefits of cycling include:

  • increased muscle strength and flexibility, and improved joint mobility
  • increased cardiovascular fitness
  • improved posture and strengthened bones
  • decreased levels of body fat

Enhance your well being

Mental health conditions such as mild to moderate depression, stress and anxiety can be reduced by regular bike riding. The exercise itself can produce beneficial hormones such as endorphins - the 'feel good' hormone, and the pleasure of cycling, getting fitter, breathing in the fresh air, and getting out into the world can actively lift one's mood.

The nature of getting out of the mind and into the senses can help you to manage troublesome thoughts, permitting a break in unhelpful, repetitive thought patterns, and promoting the habit of being more 'present', which is far more conducive to good mental health. 

Increased physical health and fitness also improves self esteem and the feeling of being in control of one's own body and space. 

Tread lightly on the environment

Devon is a famously green and pleasant county and for good reason: the generous annual rainfall. But in spite of some soggy days there are many days of the year that are conducive to anorak-free cycling. Many commuters who cycle daily subscribe to the belief that there's no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong clothing.

Cycling is, of course, a completely carbon neutral mode of transport and reduces the need to build, service and dispose of cars or other fossil fuel-dependent vehicles. In fact, a 10km each way commute by bike saves 1500 kg of greenhouse gas emissions annually. 

Other positive outcomes are that noise pollution is minimised, congestion significantly reduced, and green spaces are enhanced by the absence of motorised vehicles. Getting somewhere under your own steam is also great for building independence as well as fitness. 

Do good for others

If you're keen on cycling and you want your efforts to go even further, then you can help raise money for Devon Air Ambulance for taking part in sponsored activities like the Devon Rotarium Charity Cycle.

There are two course from which to choose; 100km or 60km. The event is on 9th September but you can still enter for £25 per cyclist until 24th August, after which entry will increase to £35.

Set up a JustGiving page to help generate awareness around your fundraising activity and get friends, family and colleagues to lend you their support!

In 2017 we airlifted 15 cyclists who sustained injuries in road traffic collisions. We would like to remind all cyclists to wear a cycle helmet whenever out and about on a bike.