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All About Cycling: Biking for Fitness, Transportation, Recreation and Sport

All About CyclingBicycles are considered by most historians to be relatively old pieces of equipment. In fact, some researchers believe that the first bicycle was developed as early as the late 15th century. Traditional bicycles—in the form that we recognize today—gained popularity in Europe in the early 1800s. Eventually, the machines spread to other parts of the world, and grew in status in the United States.

Kinds of Bicycles

As with other types of vehicles, there are a number of different styles of bicycles available for use and purchase. Currently, the most popular types of bicycles in existence are road, mountain, hybrid, and cruiser cycles. As suggested by the name, road bicycles are intended for use on paved surfaces, while mountain bicycles are more commonly used on dirt and gravel paths. Hybrid bicycles are a combination of both road and mountain bicycles, which can be used on a variety of surfaces. Finally, cruiser cycles are designed for recreational purposes, such as riding on city streets.

  • Active Transport: Types of Bicycles—Information about the different types of bicycles, discusses both advantages and disadvantages of each.
  • What Types of Bikes Are There?—Introduction to the different types of bikes, including mountain, road, touring, and hybrid varieties.
  • Bike Types—Pictures and descriptions of the different types of bikes available for use by individuals of all ages.

Bicycling for Fitness

These days, we hear more and more about how physical activity can be an effective way to prevent weight gain and prevent the development of certain chronic conditions. While there are a variety of different types of exercise that can be used in such a manner, bicycling appears to be especially successful. Bicycling is traditionally used to improve cardiovascular health, prevent weight gain, and slow the development of diabetes, hypertension, and other similar conditions. In some cases, it can also be used to increase muscular strength, especially in muscles of the lower body.

Bicycling for Transportation

For some people, bicycling is not only a great form of exercise, but is an essential form of transportation. With gas prices on the rise, it should be of no surprise that more and more cycling enthusiasts are turning to their bike as a form of transportation. Individuals who are interested in using their bike for transportation should ensure that it is in good working order before heading out on the road. Identifying a safe travel route is also of utmost importance for people interested in this activity.

Safety Tips for Bicycling

Cycling is not without dangers. In fact, many cyclists are injured—or even killed—each year while out on their bikes. For best results, cyclists should be sure to wear a helmet, use identifying lights, and maintain the function of their machines. Those who have never ridden a bike before should undergo a thorough physical to make sure they are healthy enough to start a structured exercise program.

Bicycling for Recreation

Bicycling is also a popular form of recreation for men and women around the world. Bicycling can be a great way to enjoy nature, see unique sights, and enjoy a beautiful afternoon with one’s family. As the push for increased number of parks and leisure areas increase, recreational bike paths are likely to become more numerous. Individuals can learn more about local recreational bicycling paths by contacting city officials.

  • USA Cycling—Helps cyclists find clubs within their state or region of the United States.
  • Cycling: Recreation—Discusses how cycling became viewed as a form of recreation, identifies different recreational cycling organizations in the United States and abroad.

Bicycling for Sport

Finally, some individuals turn to bicycling not for the exercise, nor the recreation, but instead for the competition. In fact, competitive cycling has been identified as one of the fastest growing sports in the United States. Individuals who are interested in competing in cycling can often find events near large cities around the country. In addition, there are a number of high-quality competitive cycling races in various international countries.

  • Major Cycling Events—Describes some of major cycling events held each year in the United States, specifically for road cyclists.
  • The Tour 2012—Information related to the Tour de France, start dates, touring routes, sponsors, and other news about the event.
  • Pro Cycling Tour Home Page—Discusses events and news related to international professional on- and off-road cycling.