The silicone wristband is now an iconic part of mainstream culture. They’re a simple yet enduring way to raise awareness for virtually any cause you could think of. They’re so commonplace and as part of everyday life as bumper stickers that most of us don’t really think twice about what made them popular in the first place.
Biking and silicone wristbands: a shared history
As many of us might remember, the silicone wristband, also known as the gel bracelet, was popularized by American cyclist Lance Armstrong way back in 2004. The durability, striking yet subtle appearance, and symbolism of the yellow “Livestrong” wristbands made them an instant success.
The Livestrong wristbands also carried plenty of emotional weight as they were meant to raise awareness for prostate cancer. This was made all the more poignant by the fact that Lance Armstrong himself was a survivor of Stage III testicular cancer, and was not expected to survive, let alone live to dominate the biking world.
Regardless of what happened to Lance Armstrong’s reputation years down the line, the silicone wristband became a potent symbol of support for various causes. The same qualities that allowed it to a perfect companion for challenging bike races also made it suitable for a wide range of lifestyles.
These washable, hypoallergenic bands were designed for the demanding lifestyles of athletes. But over the years, our wristbands have made in on the wrists of people from all walks of life, including normal everyday folks, celebrities, and even troops overseas.
It’s hard for us to imagine that these now-iconic wristbands would ever have become popular had it not been for Lance Armstrong and the cycling community that supported him through his struggle with cancer and his career.
In recognition of the role the cycling community played in the popularization of the silicone wristband, we’re joining them in commemorating National Bike Month. May 2019 marks the 63rd National Bike Month, sponsored by the League of American Bicyclists. Key observances during this month include National Bike to Work Week, normally held on the third week of May and Bike to Work Day, usually on Friday of that week.
The many benefits of cycling
This month is the perfect opportunity to share the many benefits of cycling. As a low-impact, aerobic activity, cycling has long been recognized as a great way for people of all ages to stay physically fit and healthy.
A few of the direct health benefits of regular cycling include:
- Better cardiovascular fitness
- Reduced impact to joints compared to running and similar cardio exercises
- Improved muscle strength
- Optimized fat reduction
- Stronger bones
Cycling also has a host of mental health benefits:
- Reduction of anxiety and depression symptoms
- More leveled mood swings
- Reduces stress levels
- Improves sleep quality
- Makes you feel great!
The benefits of cycling can be societal as well. More cyclists in the population can mean:
- Reduced air pollution
- Reduced dependence on fossil fuels
- Reduced strain on socialized health services
- More people can be accommodated per square yard of road
- Closer-knit communities
- Healthier, happier population centers
If you haven’t biked in a while, give it a try. You may find the same kind of passion for cycling that has inspired so many others. Wristbands are optional.