Cary, NC — If this North Carolina weather is going to continue reaching into the 60s and 70s through fall, there’s no excuse to not dust off your bike and hit the trails and roadways of Cary.
Since I’ve lived in Cary less than a year, I sought out advice on biking in Cary from CaryCitizen’s head of marketing and avid biker, Lindsey Chester. Here’s a look at her best tips, tricks and trail recommendations.
Know Before You Go
Before putting that first foot on the pedal, Lindsey strongly suggests the following checklist:
- Get a greenway map or use the Bike N Hike Cary Web App (only available in a web browser, not in App Stores)
- Have a working GPS on your phone
- Make sure the phone is fully charged
- Carry an ID with you in case of any emergency (and maybe a credit card for a post-ride treat in town)
- Check your gear (fill tires if needed, adjust seat to correct height and make sure you’ve got a helmet that fits)
- If planning on any sort of a lengthy ride, buy and pack-in a flat tire kit
- Dress for the weather and wear sunscreen
“This time of year it can be pretty cold when you start your ride but by halfway through it you could be working up a sweat, so layering is a good idea,” said Lindsey. On her rides, she frequently sees riders who do not have their seat adjusted to the proper height and says the way to do it is having a slight bend in the knee when the pedal and leg are fully extended.
Another tip is to always make a habit of telling people where you’ll be riding so they know when to expect you’ll be back.
What You Stand to Gain
Originally from New Jersey, Lindsey moved south to Cary in 1998. She began discovering trails like those that intersect at Bond Park since it was a close comute from her first home in Cary.
“Being able to ride through the greenways was just a really nice way to discover Cary’s parks and nature,” said Lindsey.
A major draw to biking for her was also the mental benefits biking provides and how it can create a mindful experience.
“It was something as simple as riding my bike and breathing deeply and smelling in the fall or spring air. It makes me be in the moment and that’s what I really like about it,” said Lindsey.
While maneuvering turns, taking in the sights and giving trail walkers a heads up that you’re passing on their left, biking is certainly an activity where your focus is taken away from work, taxes, stressors and hopefully politics, too! As Lindsey says, “it makes it so your mind doesn’t wander.”
A major plus around this time of year, too, is the slight chill in the air, making for great breezes to enjoy along the way!
Outside of the mental benefits, the physical benefits are all great, too. Especially for all of us who have been spending a lot more time at home and perhaps… on the couch. These are a few of the physical perks to biking:
- Increased cardiovascular fitness
- Increased muscle strength and flexibility
- Improved joint mobility
- Decreased stress levels
- Improved posture and coordination
- Strengthened bones
- Decreased body fat levels
- Prevention or management of disease
Pick a Trail, Any Trail
For anyone looking to venture out there on the biking paths of Cary, it all starts with one trail.
For me personally as a newbie to greenway riding in Cary, I’ve enjoyed short spurts along the Black Creek Greenway starting in Bond Park. But for Lindsey, who’s been on many of the trails in and around Cary, her current favorite is the White Oak Greenway.
“Now, with COVID, I’ve been exploring more, going on longer rides and going on trails I’ve never been on before,” said Lindsey. “The main reason White Oak Greenway is a favorite is I can stay on it for so many miles, going from Bond Park all the way to Durham heading north or going south into Apex.”
Another perk to the White Oak Greenway is that it is largely uninterrupted with nearly all greenway access without having to make connections on roadways. Before heading out, also think about what trails you can realistically get to from where your starting point it.
“If people have a bike rack, many more trails are available to them. I’m a little limited in that I don’t have one and I have to make my connections from downtown Cary,” said Lindsey.
For more on information on Cary’s 80+ miles of Greenways, see the Town of Cary website.
Story and photos by Ashley Kairis.
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