You will get fit, meet new friends and could even travel the world.

It is no wonder that over two million people are cycling at least once every week.

The excitement of the Tour de France and subsequent Tour de Yorkshire races inspired many to have a go in the saddle, while for others it's a cheap, active way to commute to work.

This week is Bike Week 2016 — what better reason to get on yer bike?

And in case you still need some convincing, here's eight reasons why you should give it a go.

1) It will help you stay trim

Examiner reporter Chloe Glover cycling during the Northumberland Triathlon 2016 at Druridge Bay

Forget faddy crash diets. Cycling will help the pounds whizz off. A person who weighs 10 stone can burn around 500 calories per hour going in between 12 and 14mph. But if you make the most of our fantastic selection of hills, this will ramp up significantly.

The NHS recommends cycling for at least two hours 20 minutes each week to improve your cardiovascular fitness, which is really not much at all.

Cycling is also a low impact activity, which means it’s easier on your joints than some other sports. People who have had hip operations, for example, turn to the bike to keep fit.

And if that is not enough reason to cycle, the beautiful countryside you will find in our area will definitely take your mind off any exertion– you will never want to look at a dreary gym wall again.

2) And improve your physical health

Not just does cycling help you lose weight, it also works magic on your insides.

According to research from the University of North Carolina, people who cycle for 30 minutes, five days a week take about half as many sick days as couch potatoes.

Even better, studies by King’s College London have also shown that just three 45-minute rides a week can make you nine years “biologically younger.”

This is due to the plethora of benefits that come with the sport. I’ll just mention a few– taking part helps to prevent obesity, heart disease, cancer, arthritis, gives you a stronger immune system and improves your balance.

3) But it will also send your mental wellbeing rocketing

And there are hundreds of studies to support this.

Whether it’s the effect of maintaining a constant rhythm, the stimulation neural transmitters (the best being the happy chemical dopamine), or the focus required to keep you on your bike, cycling is fantastic for getting rid of the stress chemical cortisol and combating other mental health issues such as anxiety and depression.

Regular cycling won’t just make you feel better during the day, but it will help you have a deeper and more regenerative sleep.

4) Anyone can ride a bike

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Don’t be put off by middle-aged, rocket men in lycra. All you need to get started is a bike, a helmet and a door to the outside. But I guarantee, when you get into the sport, you will be showing off your speed and spandex with the best of them. Bicycles come in all shapes and sizes and for all terrains, which means there is a bike out there for everyone from kids to those with a disability.

5) And cycling is a great way to keep social

Homfirth Cycling Club members (left to right) Louis Cook, Oliver Woodhouse, Andy Cook, Jane Travis, Andy James, Andy Akers and Oliver Akers at the clubs information and open day held in the Holmfirth market hall.
Homfirth Cycling Club members (left to right) Louis Cook, Oliver Woodhouse, Andy Cook, Jane Travis, Andy James, Andy Akers and Oliver Akers at the clubs information and open day held in the Holmfirth market hall.

It is rare not to pass a cyclist without exchanging hello.

Cycling is a great way to spend a day out with friends or make new ones at your friendly local club.

University of California researchers found that socialising releases the hormone oxytocin, which helps lower blood pressure, so combine the two and you will be onto a winner.

6) You will save money

Choose cycling instead of taking the bus or the car. It will reduce the amount you need to fork out for petrol, car maintenance, parking tickets or bus rides. Cycle maintenance is by comparison cheap, which means more cash to spend on a holiday, yippee!

7) It opens up a whole new world of travelling

Photographer Sandie Nicholson caught up with a lone cyclists at Holme Moss

You will see more and enjoy more of your destination than is possible when travelling by train, car or bus. You will find places off the beaten track and gain a much greater insight into every day life. Bicycles are also a magnet for interested local people, who are keen to hear about your adventures– making it a great way to make new friends and immerse yourself culturally.

8) It could banish commuting nightmares

People who switched from driving to work to using public transport, cycling or walking instead lost significant amounts of weight, a study has found
People who switched from driving to work to using public transport, cycling or walking instead lost significant amounts of weight, a study has found

We have all been caught up in a rush hour traffic jam. But why stick it out when you can beat the queues on a bicycle.

9) And, very importantly, help the environment

Cycling can help the environment
Cycling can help the environment

According to the Government, “transport accounts for around a quarter of UK greenhouse gas emissions and affects air quality at the roadside.” Helping the UK reach its emissions targets set by the the 2008 Climate Change Act will go towards preventing runaway and devastating global climate change

If you do not believe me, I will give the last word to Gill Greaves of Street Bikes, who has got hundreds of people cycle crazy.

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She said: “Not only is cycling a good way to keep fit but it can help with medical conditions such as depression, balance problems and arthritis.

“It’s also a great way to get involved with the community.

“Some people have told us we have changed their lives or even saved them because we have helped them get active again.”