The best way to celebrate summer is to get outside and enjoy it. Why not hop on a bike? Pick the right route and you'll be greeted with fresh air, scenic views, and plenty of exercise. Even an easy ride with friends or family counts toward your recommended 150 minutes* of moderate activity per week; if you pick up the intensity you'll rack up even more heart-healthy benefits!
Trails To Try
Finding safe and enjoyable biking spots on Long Island can be a challenge though, especially if you're new to the sport or want to introduce your kids to it. So we asked cycling experts at Long Island Bicycle Tours for their favorite family-friendly routes in our backyards. Here are their recommendations for great trails to try this summer.
This 13-mile trail from Woodbury to Massapequa is flat and scenic, offering views of ponds, forests, and wildlife. Youll have to cross a few busy streets, but the intersections are clearly marked with stoplights and crossing lanes.
This paved path (also known as the Ellen Farrant Memorial Bikeway) runs 5 miles along Wantagh Parkway in Nassau County. You can stroll the Jones Beach boardwalk or cool off with a swim in the ocean after your ride.
More than 20 miles of trails -- including a dedicated bike loop -- can be found at this Suffolk County park. You’ll pass through shady dense woods and catch gorgeous views of the Great South Bay.
At 930 acres, this East Meadow oasis is bigger than Central Park. Its paved bike trails are easy to tackle for cyclists of all ages, and will bring you close to some of the park's attractions, such as Salisbury Lake and the Veterans Memorial.
Newly rebuilt after Hurricane Sandy, the 2.2-mile Long Beach Boardwalk offers a gentle ride with an ocean view - and if your kids tire of biking, you can check out the concessions, head onto the sand, or wander the town.
Before You Go - Bike Safety Checklist
There's a lot you can't control on the road. By checking to make sure your bikes are in good working condition, you can do your best to ensure your family's safety.
Tires lose pressure over time. Both having too much air or too little air in your tires can create unsafe conditions. When someone sits on your bike, check to see how far the tire expands outward, away from the wheel. There should be some give, but not enough to make riding difficult. The best way to check this is with a pressure gauge, which you can find on most gas station air pumps.
Whether your bike lets you break using the handlebars or the pedals, testing them breaks out in a controlled environment before your trip is key. You should be able to break at any intensity - slightly slow down or come to a halt in an emergency situation. An adult should test the full range of a bike's brakes.
A basic first aid kit is always important to have on hand, especially when bruises and scrapes are so easy to come by on a bike. Band-aids big and small, gauze, and antiseptic ointment are a good place to start. Portable cellphone batteries might also be a good idea, when an injury requires a call to EMS. Don't forget extra water!
You can figure out your helmet size by measuring your head all the way around, just above your ears. If you've got a one-size-fits-all helmet with an adjustable strap, make sure the helmet sits level, as low over the forehead as possible without getting in the eyes. Make sure it's tight, the helmet shouldn't move more than an inch in any direction.
Riding to Rewards!
A family bike ride probably won't raise your heart rate as high as step class, but getting everyone out for physical activity deserves a round of applause! Don't forget that you can track your activity on the Are You Ready, Feet?™ portal by logging the number of miles you travel or the minutes you're active. Sign up today, because each time you log your activity, you're automatically entered to win a prize!
For more health and wellness tips, check out the CareConnect blog, “Connecting to Health.”
*According to the CDC, adults need at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity every week.
This post written by LIHC partner,
North Shore-LIJ CareConnect Insurance Company, Inc.