Cycling as a Sport: The Lowdown
Cycling is not just about avoiding a collision on the commute to work or taking the kids to the park on summer holidays; it is a serious competitive sport too. Bicycle sports are popular in countries all over the world, particularly in Europe, and different kinds of cycling have been an Olympic sport since the 19th century. Here is a quick lowdown on some of the main kinds of cycling sports.
Road Bicycle Racing
Road bicycle racing ranges from one-day events to ‘Grand Tour’ multi-stage races such as the Tour de France. Racers can also cycle individually or in teams against the clock in time-trials. This type of cycling focuses on speed and gaining the farthest distance. Road biking accessories and equipment available from specialised suppliers such as Fat Birds are designed for optimising agility and lightness. Bike frames weigh around 2 to 3 lbs and have thin, smooth tyres to improve performance.
Indoor track racing has been around since the 1800s when cycling was in its infancy. Riders cycle at break-neck speed around a purpose build track or velodrome on track bicycles that have been optimised for the sport (they have no brakes or freewheels). Races can be sprints or time trails in groups and riders use techniques such as the aerodynamic slipstream of other racers to gain speed and distance against the others.
Mountain Bike Racing
There are also many kinds of off-road cycling sports such as mountain bike racing on natural terrain. Riders compete on earthy, uneven and sometimes wet ground which is why the sport can also be called ‘dirt racing’. Mountain bikes are heavy-duty and are designed with hydraulic shocks, aluminium frames and thick, wide tyres to endure the throttling that mountain bikers give them.
Although the bikes in cycling sports are highly technical and important, the fitness of the cyclist as well as their training and technique also play a huge part. There are many more categories of bicycle sport and each one requires a different set of skills and talent. If you want to develop balance, coordination and strength then maybe BMX or mountain biking is for you, or if you want to build muscle efficiency and power, then maybe you should try road biking. Whichever type, all kinds of cycling improve circulation, stamina, health and overall fitness so perhaps it’s time to give it a go?