Monday, August 28, 2017

Obesity Will Soon Overtake Smoking as Principal Cause of Cancer



For decades, smoking was one of the leading causes of cancer, but that's about to change.


Obesity will likely claim the lead spot as the principal cause of 10 different types of cancer within the next decade. Cancer once seen as a disease of old age -- now increasingly being diagnosed up to to two decades earlier than in the past.

Fortunately, researchers are also starting to recognize the power of lifestyle changes over drug prescriptions. It's been well documented by experts that exercise was such a 'potent' force against cancer that it should be prescribed as part of disease treatment, and at the top of the list is CYCLING!


Recent studies continue to shed light on how everyday cycling is not only good for our cardiovascular health but also a way to save billions in health care costs. While everyday cycling is starting to be recognized as a low-impact form of exercise there remains resistance to accepting riding a bike as a form of preventive health care across North America.

Clearly, biking is advantageous for one’s physical health. It’s widely known that cycling is a low-impact form of exercise that’s good for the cardiovascular system, a way to control weight gain, and benefits our immune system. In addition, daily bicycling can have positive effects on our mental well-being.

In June 2013, the American Medical Association voted in favor of recognizing obesity as a disease; the Food and Drug Administration already does. This newly-labeled disease is predicted to affect more than 44 percent of all Americans by 2030 if no action is taken. Canada is not exempt from this health crisis: in 2010, Statistics Canada found that an average of 34 percent of individuals aged 60 to 69 were obese.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has identified the positive impact of making cities more bike-friendly: “integrating health-enhancing choices into transportation policy has the potential to save lives by preventing chronic diseases, reducing and preventing motor-vehicle-related injury and deaths, improving environmental health, while stimulating economic development, and ensuring access for all people.” The CDC also recognized that a lack of efficient transportation alternatives to driving and a fear of biking in heavy traffic only encouraged people to continue to drive all or most of the time.

In light of these findings, there remains resistance, mostly political, in accepting the benefits of daily bicycling as preventive health care. The Obama administration’s Affordable Care Act has set aside money for improving bicycling conditions through the Prevention and Public Health Fund. However, according to The Wall Street Journal, none of the 85 cities in the US that are actively installing better bicycle infrastructure (including protected bike lanes, trails, and bike share systems) have accessed these funds. Connecting bicycling to preventive health care in the US has yet to gain public acceptance and would draw resistance to these projects.

The silver lining is: there is growing acceptance of the Complete Streets movement. Complete Streets – or roadways that enable safe transportation for all road users – provide opportunities for increased, safe physical activity. Also, it’s been found that these streets are the most effective solution for encouraging daily physical activity. With 488 Complete Streets policies adopted in the US, the connection between health care and active transportation is gaining ground.


Providing bike riders with a safe and convenient way to commute every day should be seen as a form of preventive health care. With a safe network of bike routes, more North Americans can be encouraged to take to their bikes instead of their cars, which could very likely result in billions of health care dollars saved.

UNCOVERING BICYCLING’S HEALTH CARE SAVINGS


A study led by Dr. Thomas Götschi of the Institute of Social and Preventative Medicine at the University of Zurich examined the costs and benefits of bicycling in Portland, OR. Götschi’s findings are startling: “By 2040, investments [in everyday bicycling in the USA] in the range of $138 to $605 million will result in health care cost savings of $388 to $594 million (…) and savings in value of statistical lives of $7 to $12 billion.” Götschi’s study is the first cost-benefit analysis of investments in bicycling.

A study conducted by Jonathan Patz and Maggie Grabow of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and published in Environmental Health Perspectives looked to quantify the benefits of reduced car usage in 11 metropolitan areas in the upper Midwestern United States. The study found that replacing short car trips with biking could net health benefits of $4.94 billion per year in the study area. Mortality could also decline by roughly 1,000 per year due to increased fitness levels and improved air quality.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Is Your Business Bicycle Friendly?


"Some of the most iconic companies in the country – Facebook, Apple, and General Mills, to name a few – are realizing bikes can boost their bottom line.”

Being one of the most spectacular places on the planet, you would think the Flathead Valley would be more "Bike Friendly," but it's not. But it's getting better! Cars and trucks still rule and the lack of simple amenities like bike racks are far and few between.
The only way to really Explore the Flathead/Glacier Park and the rest of Montana is by bicycle, or by foot. Crunched up in your car isn't -- especially if you're trying to drive, eat, check your facebook and text every move you make. So get out of your beasts, put away your life support gadgets and get some freakin' air!

From the League of American Bicyclists

"Increasingly leaders in the public and private sector are realizing that being bike-friendly makes good business sense, boosting the bottom line and promoting community-wide economic development.

Bicycling in the United States is a $6 billion national industry and one study estimates that the spillover effects of recreational bicycling alone could be as large as $133 billion. But that’s just the beginning, barely scratching the surface of the economic impact of transportation bicycling in communities across North America.

Businesses across the country are trying to tap into the spending power of cyclists. In 2008 the League of American Bicyclists launched its Bicycle Friendly Business (BFB) program, setting clear criteria for how employers can encourage cycling among their staff and customers and recognizing companies at the Bronze, Silver, Gold or Platinum level for their achievements. From small coffee shops to major corporations, a staggering 480 businesses in the US have earned a BFB designation. Hundreds more have applied."

“Even we couldn’t have expected the incredible interest and buy-in we’ve seen in just a few short years,” says Andy Clarke, president of the League of American Bicyclists. “Some of the most iconic companies in the country – Facebook, Apple, and General Mills, to name a few – are realizing bikes can boost their bottom line."


Become a "Montana Bicycle Friendly Business." Only $25 Per Month!

This year over 10 million people will visit Montana. Most of them will engage in some form outdoor recreation and 80% will include biking and some form of paddle sports.

Let people know you support bicycling. For only $25 per month, you'll receive a 2"x1.4" inch display ad, posted in our Business Directory with the listing "Montana Bicycle Friendly Business." Your business will also be listed in our weekly email newsletters (8800 recipients monthly).

All ads and listings will be linked to your website. Other benefits are available, call for details. 406-871-6282.


 

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Bicycle Tourism is Boomimg


Courtesy Adventure Cycling Association

Bicycle tourism and travel are skyrocketing. Recent studies and stories from around the world indicate that bicycle travel of all kinds -- short trips and long, luxury and cheap, big events and small tours -- is enjoying the kind of popularity not seen since the 1970s, when bike touring experienced a major renaissance.   Here are 9 new indicators that bike travel and tourism are booming:
  • European Bike Tourism Generates 44 Billion Euros Annually: In September, researchers in the United Kingdom and the Netherlands found that bicycle tourism (including day trips and overnight trips) generates 44 billion Euros (or about $57 billion). The comprehensive study indicates that the bike-tourism sector generates 2.3 billion cycle trips in Europe every year and also takes visitors (and their money) to rural areas that are not often visited by other tourists. 
  • Bigger Bike Route Networks in Development: Around the world, countries, states, and provinces are creating bigger and better bicycle route networks for use by locals and to attract tourists. In Quebec Province, La Route Verte — a system of urban, suburban and rural bikeways — has grown over the last five years from 4,000 km to more than 5,000 km. In Europe, work has accelerated on establishing EuroVelo, a 70,000 km continental system of bike routes; the goal is to complete the network by 2020. In the U.S., agencies and non-profits have begun creating an official U.S. Bicycle Route System (USBRS). In the last two years, eight new U.S. Bicycle Routes have been approved, and 41 states are now involved in planning, implementing, and signing routes. At the state level, agencies are developing unique route networks, some which will dovetail with the USBRS. For example, last year, Oregon quadrupled the number of routes in its statewide scenic bikeway system and is researching and mapping others. The states of Illinois, Michigan, and Wisconsin are working to develop a bike route system around all of Lake Michigan. Also, in the Great Lake region, the Waterfront Regeneration Trust recently announced that the Waterfront Trail, which extends along the shore of Lake Ontario, will now extend westward to Lake Erie, connecting 27 new waterfront communities along a signed, mostly on-road route.
  • More North America States and Provinces Studying Bike Tourism’s Economic Impact: Until now, only two states in the U.S. (Wisconsin and Colorado) had conducted in-depth studies of the economic impact of biking and bike tourism. In Wisconsin’s case, researchers found that bike tourism generated an impressive $924 million from in-state and out-of-state visitors. In 2012, three more states began economic impact studies, which will be completed in 2013: Oregon, Michigan, and Arizona. A new study of the economic impact of La Route Verte, the provincial cycling network in Quebec Province, is also underway.
  • U.S. Bike Events Expanding, Re-branding: Attendance and fundraising at large multi-day bike events — like RAGBRAI (Iowa), Ride the Rockies (Colorado), and the popular Bike MS events — are surging. In fact, the national organization of bike-event directors has re-branded itself as the Bicycle Tour Network (BTN) and, in November, experienced the largest turnout ever at its annual conference in Denver, Colorado. The BTN has begun conducting an economic impact survey of its member events and hopes to draw in smaller tour operators as part of the network.
  • States Investing in Bike Tourism Public Relations: In a clear indicator that states and tourism bureaus are realizing the financial value of cycling tourists, 2012 witnessed the rollout of major investments by Oregon and Minnesota in TV spots, websites, and other public-relation devices to draw traveling cyclists to their states. Particularly notable were videos produced for Oregon by the global ad firm Wieden+Kennedy, and for Minnesota with the backing of a unique consortium of health, tourism, and non-profit organizations. The race for the most bike-travel friendly state is on!
  • Bike Tourism-Related Sales Take Off in the U.S.: In October, the influential trade journal, Bicycle Retailer and Industry News reported on the substantial increase in sales of gear and bikes for touring in its story, “Touring market racks up mileage at retail.” The same article also noted that bicycle travel is becoming especially popular with a younger demographic.
  • Non-Profits Set New Records: Cycling non-profits with a stake in tourism have enjoyed remarkable success in membership and activity in 2012, from the re-branded Bicycle Tour Network to the International Mountain Bike Association (IMBA) to Adventure Cycling Association. Adventure Cycling's membership reached an all-time high in 2012 at 45,225 members and it recently reported records in all the major revenue categories — including memberships, map sales, and tour sign-ups — a trend it attributes in part to the new boom in bicycle travel.

Monday, March 2, 2015

A New Trip Down an Old Road — Get Your Kicks on Bicycle Route 66

MISSOULA, MONTANA, Back in March of 2015 — Adventure Cycling Association announced the release of Bicycle Route 66, the latest route from America’s bicycle travel experts. Embracing the spirit of “The Mother Road,” the new route follows the famous corridor from Chicago to Los Angeles on roads appropriate for cyclists, including sections of the historic highway. The route is covered in a specially designed six-map set, allowing cyclists to tour the whole thing or ride a few preferred sections to maximize their Americana intake.

“The vision for Bicycle Route 66 is the same as the original vision for Route 66, which was to connect the main streets of rural and urban communities,” said Ginny Sullivan, Adventure Cycling’s director of travel initiatives. “Bicycle Route 66 will be a perfect choice for traveling cyclists looking to explore the American heartland's natural beauty, history, and funky out-of-the-way places.”

The new Bicycle Route 66 maps span eight states (IL, MO, KS, OK, TX, NM, AZ, and CA) and cover 2,493 miles. “Fueled by nostalgia and fired by preservation-minded folks, Route 66 is a magical cross section of the nation; from the massive skyscrapers of Chicago, over the green hills of the Ozarks, the grassy plains, the awesome deserts and mountains, then down into the fascinating mosaic of the Los Angeles basin,” wrote Jerry McClanahan, author of EZ 66 Guide for Travelers. “There’s something for everyone here—the embodiment of freedom, the legendary emblem of 20th century roadside America.”

The maps feature turn-by-turn directions, detailed navigational instructions, elevation profiles, and services cyclists will need along the route. Now cyclists can explore at their own pace the surviving pieces of architecture, abandoned bridges, landmarks, businesses, and historically important communities from the golden era of U.S. Route 66. “This route can be done as a camping tour in roadside campgrounds, however there are many unique motels along the route which make this a good credit-card touring route. Eating in the old cafes and diners is part of the charm,” said Lon Haldeman, an experienced Route 66 bicycle-tour leader.

The new Bicycle Route 66 maps span eight states (IL, MO, KS, OK, TX, NM, AZ, and CA) and cover 2,493 miles. “Fueled by nostalgia and fired by preservation-minded folks, Route 66 is a magical cross section of the nation; from the massive skyscrapers of Chicago, over the green hills of the Ozarks, the grassy plains, the awesome deserts and mountains, then down into the fascinating mosaic of the Los Angeles basin,” wrote Jerry McClanahan, author of EZ 66 Guide for Travelers.“There’s something for everyone here—the embodiment of freedom, the legendary emblem of 20th century roadside America.”

The maps feature turn-by-turn directions, detailed navigational instructions, elevation profiles, and services cyclists will need along the route. Now cyclists can explore at their own pace the surviving pieces of architecture, abandoned bridges, landmarks, businesses, and historically important communities from the golden era of U.S. Route 66. “This route can be done as a camping tour in roadside campgrounds, however there are many unique motels along the route which make this a good credit-card touring route. Eating in the old cafes and diners is part of the charm,” said Lon Haldeman, an experienced Route 66 bicycle-tour leader.

Cyclists will encounter along Bicycle Route 66 numerous natural and man-made wonders, including: Gemini Giant in Wilmington, Il, Gateway Arch in St. Louis, MO, Historic Brandbury Bishop Deli in Webb City, MO, Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo, TX, Route 66 Museum in Clinton, OK, Catoosa Whale in Catoosa, OK, Petrified Forest in Arizona, and the Ozarks in Missouri. “People come from all over the U.S and around the world to travel Route 66,” said Bill Kelly, Executive Director of the Illinois Route 66 Scenic Byway. “Bicycle Route 66 will enhance the non-motorized experience for cyclists touring the route.”

Adventure Cycling announced the route at the end of 2010 and spent the next four years researching and laying out the route. “Route 66 was the overwhelming favorite among our members for a new long-distance route,” said Carla Majernik, Adventure Cycling's routes and mapping director. “It's a legendary corridor, and for our route network, a critical link through states where there were no established Adventure Cycling routes, such as Oklahoma.” The addition of Bicycle Route 66 brings the total Adventure Cycling Route Network to 44,673 miles. The network passes through 47 states and parts of Canada and is the largest mapped national cycling network in the world.

The design of Bicycle Route 66 involved collaboration between Adventure Cycling, cycling organizations, government agencies, and tourism bureaus already working to bring cycling to Route 66. These partnerships helped ensure the route incorporates the right mix of historic elements and cycling-friendly roads and trails. Ed Barsotti, executive director of the League of Illinois Bicyclists, commented: “Illinois has an early lead in bicycling Route 66, with a user’s guide of an interim route available. Adventure Cycling’s work will leverage Illinois’ momentum into a national vision.” The National Park Service also played an integral role in the development of Bicycle Route 66, providing valuable leadership through the national Route 66 Corridor Preservation Program and technical assistance through the Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance Program.

Similar to the flow of motor vehicle travelers along the original “Main Street of America,” the influx of cyclists will provide an economic boost to small communities along the route. There is growing evidence that touring cyclists spend more money and time than the average tourist. For example, a recent survey done in Montana by the Institute for Tourism and Recreation Research found that multi-day cyclists spend $75-103 per day and stay an average of eight or more nights while traveling through the state. Conversely, motorized travelers only spend between $54-68 per day and spend an average of three days in the state. Oregon found that the state benefits by $400 million annually from bicycle tourism alone and Washington State just released a study on outdoor recreation, which recognizes that bicycling contributes $3.1 billion to the state's economy annually.

The most famous road in America has been called many things from the grand — the “Mother Road” and the “Main Street of America” — to the simple — U.S. 66. It now has one more moniker to add to its storied history: Bicycle Route 66.

For more information about Bicycle Route 66 and to purchase maps, visit http://www.adventurecycling.org/bicycleroute66.

# # #

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Cycling: What's in it for you?

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has identified the positive impact of making cities more bike-friendly: “integrating health-enhancing choices into transportation policy has the potential to save lives by preventing chronic diseases, reducing and preventing motor-vehicle-related injury and deaths, improving environmental health, while stimulating economic development, and ensuring access for all people.” The CDC also recognized that a lack of efficient transportation alternatives to driving and a fear  of biking in heavy traffic only encouraged people to continue to drive all or most of the time.

She claims that with safe bike routes that encouraged people to ride, "billions of health care dollars saved." Karin pointed to a pair of studies to back up her position, and indeed they do. In Thomas Gotschi's 2011 study, Costs and Benefits of Bicycling Investments in Portland, Oregon, published in the Journal of Physical Activity and Health , he writes:

"By 2040, investments in the range of $138 to $605 million will result in health care cost savings of $388 to  $594 million, fuel savings of $143 to $218 million, and savings in value of statistical lives of $7 to $12 billion.
 

The benefit-cost ratios for health care and fuel savings are between 3.8 and 1.2 to 1, and an order of magnitude larger when value of statistical lives is used. 

Conclusions: This first of its kind cost-benefit analysis of investments in bicycling in a US city shows that such efforts are cost-effective, even when only a limited selection of benefits is considered."

These are pretty impressive numbers. However, they won't be reported, or promoted in our lame-stream media,  political debates or anything else that might upset the corporate lobbing effort on behalf of junk food, and our  sedentary lifestyle. It's why we lead the world in obesity, and rank (25th) just slightly above Solvenia in health  care, but pay more for it than the top five other countries combined.

More cycling is good news for the environment and your local community. But the biggest benefit is for you as an individual.

Increasing Fitness
Your strength, stamina, aerobic fitness and general muscle function will all be improved. Cycling is a low impact  activity and one of the safest ways to exercise without risk of over-exertion or strain to muscles and joints. Regular physical activity also facilitates other healthy behaviour and could help you reduce weight or even give up smoking.

Lowering Risk of Heart Attack

Your heart muscles are strengthened, resting pulse is lowered and blood fat levels reduced. People taking regular physical activity suffer far less heart disease than people who don't!

Shedding Excess Weight
By burning body fat and raising your metabolic rate you can lose weight. If you undertake physical activity regularly you can enjoy a more varied diet without increasing body weight. Cycling is one of the more comfortable forms of physical activity for those who are new to exercise, allowing most people to get fit easily and safely without undue physical strain.

Reducing Stress

Anxiety, stress and depression are all alleviated, partly due to the physical activity itself, but also due to the pleasure and satisfaction of riding a bike. Cycling is convenient for short journeys, and often faster across town than other forms of transport. It's a stress free means of taking physical activity because it can form part of a daily routine. So there's no need to worry about fitting your new healthy lifestyle into an already overcrowded schedule.

So come and ride with us - you'll feel better for it!

Walkable, bikeable neighborhoods are one of the simplest and best solutions for the environment, our health and our economy." A 135-pound woman pedaling 12 to 14 miles an hour burns 488 calories in 60 minutes.