there are great websites online to find all kinds of information on riding bikes.  safety is so important and so is protection.  i’ve read the most important consideration is being hit by a car. running into a car door opening  is one of the highest causes of injury.  check out the online information or from your local police on how to avoid these dangers.  finding out where to ride in your city is considerate, safe and mindful of the law.  also, check on your state law concerning the need of lights on your bike if you are going to ride at dawn or dusk.

following are few tips for a healthy ride:

riding for long time in seated position in a car or on a bike is not recommended.  take walking breaks for circulation.  wear properly fitting helmet–a must for a safe ride.  clothing is important also but doesn’t have to be the latest in bike fashion.  wear clothes that allow your body to sweat or pulls the sweat away from your body.  of course, dress warm in winter–layer as need.  caution against clothing that can get caught in your chain/spokes. bright colors help cars see you. carry change of socks for feet health. remember water bottle, sunscreen and sun glasses(great protection against sun and bugs!!)  make sure you and your bike have a proper fit–you should be comfortable.  the handle bars should be adjusted so that you do not experience any pain or discomfort in neck, shoulders and back.  it should be a little higher than seat which will cause you to sit upright.  i do not like leaning down on my hands if the bar is too low because it pushes my weight forward onto my wrists and causes pain, but for a lower more aerodynamic ride people like to have lower handlebar height. also dirt/off-road/mountain bike riders need a different center of gravity. so, this might be a personal preference but if arthritis is a concern you might consider the height of handlebars.  make sure your bike is the right size for you—there are size charts online and at your local bike store.  when on your bike your seat height should allow your leg to almost fully extend at the bottom of stroke, with just a slight bend to the knee. 

the bicycle is a great exercise tool.  you can burn around 400 calories in an hour, more or less depending on how you ride. riding a bike is of course good for developing strong leg muscles but also it is great for increasing core strength, improving posture and breathing.  you can have tennis balls installed on your grips or install yourself to help reduce hand/finger numbness and tingling.  add push ups and abdominal exercises to round out your bike workout, ending with flexibility exercises. while riding a bike is an excellent mode of exercise  i would also recommend that you cross-train.  i believe variety in exercise modes provides balance and works the same muscles in different ways which provides an overall great fitness potential.