Cycling, also called bicycling or biking, is the use of bicycles for transport, recreation, exercise or sport.Persons engaged in cycling are referred to as “cyclists”
“bikers”or less commonly, as “bicyclists”.Apart from two-wheeled bicycles, “cycling” also includes the riding of unicycles, tricycles, quadracycles, recumbent and similar human-powered vehicles (HPVs).
Bicycles were introduced in the 19th century and now number approximately one billion worldwide.They are the principal means of transportation in many parts of the world.
Cycling is widely regarded as a very effective and efficient mode of transportation optimal for short to moderate distances.
Bicycles provide numerous benefits in comparison with motor vehicles, including the sustained physical exercise involved in cycling, easier parking, increased maneuverability, and access to roads, bike paths and rural trails. Cycling also offers a reduced consumption of fossil fuels, less air or noise pollution, and much reduced traffic congestion. These lead to less financial cost to the user as well as to society at large (negligible damage to roads, less road area required). By fitting bicycle racks on the front of buses, transit agencies can significantly increase the areas they can serve
In many countries, the most commonly used vehicle for road transport is a utility bicycle. These have frames with relaxed geometry, protecting the rider from shocks of the road and easing steering at low speeds. Utility bicycles tend to be equipped with accessories such as mudguards, pannier racks and lights, which extends their usefulness on a daily basis. As the bicycle is so effective as a means of transportation various companies have developed methods of carrying anything from the weekly shop to children on bicycles. Certain countries rely heavily on bicycles and their culture has developed around the bicycle as a primary form of transport. In Europe, Denmark and the Netherlands have the most bicycles per capita and most often use bicycles for everyday transport.
Road bikes tend to have a more upright shape and a shorter wheelbase, which make the bike more mobile but harder to ride slowly. The design, coupled with low or dropped handlebars, requires the rider to bend forward more, making use of stronger muscles (particularly the gluteus maximus) and reducing air resistance at high speed.
Many schools and police departments run educational programs to instruct children in bicycle handling skills and introduce them to the rules of the road as they apply to cyclists. In different countries these may be known as bicycle rodeos or operated as schemes such as Bikeability. Education for adult cyclists is available from organizations such as the League of American Bicyclists.
Beyond simply riding, another skill is riding efficiently and safely in traffic. One popular approach to riding in motor vehicle traffic is vehicular cycling, occupying road space as car does. Alternately, in countries such as Denmark and the Netherlands, where cycling is popular, cyclists are sometimes segregated into bike lanes at the side of, or separate from, main highways and roads. Many primary schools participate in the national road test in which children individually complete a circuit on roads near the school while being observed by testers.
Benefits of cycling:
Cycling is one of the easiest ways to fit exercise into your daily routine because it’s also a form of transport. Cycling also:
saves you money
gets you fit
helps the environment
It’s a low-impact type of exercise, so it’s easier on your joints than running or other high-impact aerobic activities. But it still helps you get into shape.
The best way to build your cardiovascular fitness on the bike is to ride for at least 150 minutes every week. For example, you could cycle to work a few days a week, or do a couple of shorter rides during the week with a longer ride at the weekend. You’ll soon feel the benefits.
If you’re just getting started, check out our guide to cycling for beginners.
Cycling safety tips:
Look behind you before you turn, overtake or stop.
Use arm signals before you turn right or left.
Obey traffic lights and road signs.
Don’t ride on the pavement unless there’s a sign that says you can.
Don’t cycle next to another person on busy or narrow roads.
When overtaking parked cars, watch out for car doors opening suddenly and allow room to pass safely.
Don’t use headphones while cycling.
Never use a mobile phone while cycling.