Almost two years into the pandemic, lockdown is still turning our world upside down. At the time of writing, Sydney is bracing itself for a peak in coronavirus daily infections. At the same time, the NSW LGAs that were declared hotspots can now enjoy eased restrictions (including unlimited exercise within the curfew hours).
With the constant struggle of trying to find a consistent routine during the ever-present threat of the virus and subsequent lockdowns, many have turned to the digital world for a sense of normalcy.
According to Deloitte Australia’s 2020 Consumer Trends Report, 52% of Australians reported that their smartphone helped them feel less isolated during the lockdown. It’s no surprise that the landscape of apps and websites that aid in everything from safety, to community, to mental health have boomed over the past year and a half.
Here’s our list of the top six online resources every cyclist can utilise to keep themselves in physical and mental form as we begin to see the light at the end of the lockdown tunnel.
The Best Resources for Cycling Safety
The arrival of spring marks warmer weather, blooming Waratahs, and the start of six weeks of magpie nesting season - but for humans, it’s a little less romantic. This time of year marks the beginning of magpie swooping season.
These territorial birds (the males in particular) are on high alert around their nests and chicks, even when you’re as far as 50 meters away.
Although only 10% of the breeding males swoop at humans, the injuries from a swooping magpie can be severe, and each spring brings with it stories of Australians who have had to go to the hospital to treat severe eye injuries.
In 2019, a cyclist was involved in a fatal crash after trying to avoid a magpie attack in Sydney.
The website Magpie Alert lets users upload magpie attacks, any injuries, and the areas where the attacks occurred.
To stay safe while cycling and exercising outdoors, they recommend the following:
- If you’re swooped at while cycling, get off your bike to avoid crashing
- Wear sunglasses and a hat to protect your eyes and head
- Stay calm. Panicking and flapping your arms could be interpreted as aggression
- Learn their distinctive call so you can keep an ear open while exercising
Every Australian already knows how dangerous the sun can be, but it can be easy to forget about sunscreen on a cloudy day - even though UV rays can still burn you through the clouds.
The SunSmart app lets you input your location and gives you information such as:
- Live UV levels
- A sunscreen calculator
- Sunscreen application reminders
- A four-day sun forecast
For cyclists who naturally spend a lot of time outdoors and in the sun, an app like this can be invaluable in helping you stay conscious of the sun while you ride.
Price: Free for 30 days*
Sydney is Velosure’s hometown, so we’ve got everyone from casual commuters to passionate cyclists in Sydney covered with free, no-obligation insurance for your new bike for 30 days if you purchase your bike and live in (and your new bike is normally stored in) Sydney area*.
If you have purchased a bicycle between $1,000 and $30,000 (including the GST), you can activate it by clicking here.
Some of our insurance coverages in the complimentary Velosure Premium Bicycle cover include:
- Cover for theft from and away from home
- Cover for accidental damage
- Transit cover
- Bicycle rack cover
- Personal accident cover
- Certain benefits are not offered under the complimentary 30 days policy.
The Best Resources for Keeping a Sense of Community
Price: Free or $7.99 per month for Strava Premium
Any list of the best apps for staying connected to your cycling community wouldn’t be complete without Strava - one of the world’s leading fitness tracking and social media apps.
At its core, Strava tracks your rides, but beyond that, it also lets you plan your routes, log your fitness, connect with friends, and see how your rides stack up against other members.
While the free version is sufficient for many users, the Premium version offers additional benefits such as:
- The Strava Suffer Score uses your heart rate to give you information about the difficulty of your exercise
- Beacon lets you share your real-time location with nominated safety contacts
- Strava Goals lets you set weekly or monthly exercise goals
- Heatmaps show you the most popular areas for cycling to help you discover new routes
Whether you want to compete with everyone in your city, a close circle of friends, or simply out-ride your personal best, Strava’s robust functionality makes it perfect for a variety of users, whatever their cycling goals.
We’ve written about Burbing before, but it’s such an innovative lockdown trend that we wanted to share it on this list too.
Although the idea was born in 2014, Burbing took off during the pandemic, when most Australians had no choice but to confine their cycling routes to their neighbourhoods. Since then, it’s spread to the UK, Singapore, and the USA.
The definition of ‘Burbing’ from their Facebook page is as follows.
Burbing: To cycle every road in a suburb (this can be done across multiple rides). Evidence via Strava, extra kudos for completeness, good Instagram pictures a bonus. Use a map, or not, ride solo or with friends.
Some use it to challenge themselves; others use it for slow family rides. Some of the more creative among us have also used it to create patterns or spell out words.
However you choose to do it, it’s a welcome reminder that no matter what happens in life, there’s always a way to make the best of a bad situation.
The Best Resources for Peace of Mind
Price: $12.99 USD (approx. $18) or $41.99 USD (approx. $57) for an annual subscription.
The practise of meditation is thousands of years old, and plays a role in many different religions across the globe - although you don’t have to be religious to reap the psychological benefits.
It’s not just about stopping your thoughts and clearing your mind; after all, our brains are thought factories that can’t be shut down.
Instead, meditation is about allowing yourself to recognise thoughts as they come up and let them go with a sense of ease, rather than dwelling on problems and becoming absorbed in spiralling thoughts.
Research shows that meditation can help aid the symptoms of stress, anxiety and depression, and increase feelings of calm, clarity and awareness. While you can meditate without an app (in fact, you don’t need any accessories to meditate successfully), many people find it helpful to do guided meditations or start with short meditations and build their way up.
Headspace offers over 500 different guided meditations, ranging from meditations for beginners, meditations for those hoping to improve their sleep, along with meditations for mindfulness and stress reduction.
Price: Free or $2.92 US (approx. $4) monthly.
Day One is the world’s most downloaded journaling app, with over 15 million downloads across 225 territories.
The free version allows you to write as many pages as you want, while the paid version functions as a journal-slash-day-planner, enabling you to scan PDFs, send emails to your journal, and even import images from Instagram.
While the outcomes of journaling are different for every person, studies show that it is an effective way to deal with overwhelming emotions and express yourself. It can help you view your problems from a different perspective and help you find solutions you may not otherwise have seen.
Some of the benefits of regular journaling include:
- Stress management
- Recovery from trauma
- Cope with depression
- Prioritise your problems or fears
- Identifying your negative psychological patterns
*Eligibility criteria apply. You should read the Terms and Conditions of this offer which can be found here. If you have any questions, please call us on 1300 83 5678, or email us at CustomerCare@Velosure.com.au.