Tom Roberts is an orthopedic surgeon and sports medicine expert at Conway Regional Center for Orthopedics and Sports Medicine with more than 30 years of experience.
Q: What are some of the benefits of cycling and outdoor exercise in general?
A: Being an orthopedic surgeon, I try to encourage people to do things to stay healthy. We enjoy life more when we are healthy. It is really important to find something that you can do that is good for your heart and biking is good for your heart, lungs, and muscles.
Q: What is the appeal of cycling over other sports?
A: I had a knee injury in college and when I got into my 40’s, it hurt when I played sports and exercised. When I got into biking, I found out my knee didn’t hurt any more. I’ve found that a lot of my patients can turn biking and their orthopedic hip or knee doesn’t bother them that much.
Q: What are the “must knows” when it comes to cycling?
A: You find out early on that you want the cycling shorts for the padding. You should get lights that are attached to your bike. You need to learn the rules of the road, such as how to make turn signals in traffic. Another important aspect of cycling is choosing routes that are safe and not heavily traveled. A lot of us bike out by the new airport, in the Lollie Bottom area where there is not a lot of traffic and the roads are smooth. Also, you need to get a bike that is comfortable. The mountain bike that I had when Joanie and I got married still works but I couldn’t do what I do on my new bike.
Q: What are the social benefits of cycling?
A: Johnny Adams, a good friend of mine, got me started. The biking community here is very welcoming and over time you’ll find a group that you fit with, which is awesome. Cycling is sport that you can do with other couples as well.
Q: What are some of the most enjoyable aspects of cycling?
A: If you are a social person, you can go with a group. Cycling with a group is really much safer. We usually get tired and stop, get some water or Gatorade, and visit a little. It’s just fun. You get the enjoyment of being tired when you’re done but you don’t feel like your body is beat up when you are done. There are different stages of cycling in the area. There are people who just ride for enjoyment and there are very competitive cyclists. Even if you are just getting started, you can get into a group.