What is it about the sport of cycling that is so attractive?
In part, the partnership of man and machine has a distinct attraction. The modern-day bicycle, with cranks and pedals, was invented in the 1860s with the first bicycle race thought to have been conducted at the Parc de Saint-Cloud in Paris in 1868.
Man’s desire to cross a variety of terrain and desire to ride faster has driven the evolution of bicycles. The predecessors of the sleek, light-weight carbon bikes used in modern professional racing are steel-framed, welded and by comparison unwieldy machines.
For professional cyclists the difference between winning and losing a race may be a matter of a split second and the cutting edge technology of cycoe development demonstrates this.
Of course, not everyone who takes up cycling wants to compete at the elite level. Cycling is a sport attractive to people in of walks of life and which is certainly not confined to road racing.
Mountain bike riding is exceptionally popular, as is cyclo-cross riding. Bikes with sturdy tyres, flat handle bars and gearing appropriate to hilly terrain are used for these forms of cycling. By contrast, road cyclists use bikes with a more aggressive geometry that permit attainment of greater speed.
In an increasingly environmentally conscious world, many people choose to commute by bicycle. A hybrid bike, which marries features of a road and mountain bike, is ideal for this purpose.
Cycling is an excellent form of cardiovascular exercise, meaning that you can improve your aerobic fitness and endurance by undertaking the activity. Regular cycling can also help you to lose weight. The sport of cycling is essentially non weight-bearing, meaning that your joints are spared the repetitive impact of sports such as running. If you have sustained a musculoskeletal injury cycling is an excellent way of attaining a workout without causing further damage.
Riding a bicycle does require a certain degree of balance and skill, much of which though many of us acquire as children.
Aside from the health benefits of cycling, many people find that it is a great social activity. Clubs and groups are regularly found in many areas promoting the sport for enjoyment and fitness and regularly stopping off for a coffee and chat afterwards.
So if you have a desire to be the master of your own machineand to get fit and with the aid of the increase in promotion of cycling as a great contribution to the environment, cycling could be the sport for you.
With mountain bikes currently enjoying a huge surge in popularity, many people are approaching the sport for the first time – but even if you’re used to riding road bikes, it can be difficult to know what to look for and what to do when you’re planning to ride in a new environment.
Ten ways to get the most out of your mountain bike:
1. Choose the right bike for you. Don’t go straight for the most impressive looking mountain bike you see – choose a bike which fits you properly. Take it for a test ride to make sure it’s comfortable.
2. Spend now, save later. You may not want to invest much money in a mountain bike before you’re sure how much you’ll enjoy riding it, and it’s true that the most expensive bikes really only offer an advantage to experienced riders, but it’s worth investing in a good, durable bike to avoid having to fork out on repairs later. Most good beginners bikes cost between six hundred and eight hundred dollars.
3. Select the correct wheels. Since the wheels will obviously take most of the abuse and wear, make sure you choose the right tires based on the type of terrain and trails you plan to ride on and how much off road riding you think you will be doing.
4. Ease off on the brakes. To ride a mountain bike effectively you need to learn how to cruise. It may not feel that way, but in general, the faster you’re going the more stable you are. Let your bike take the strain on long downhill slopes and use that momentum for the next rise.
5. Learn about the local trails. There isn’t much point in buying a mountain bike and not knowing where and how to ride it. Mountain bike clubs are sprouting up all over the world and they can recommend the best trails for you to ride on in your locale.
6. Play safe. If you’re riding your mountain bike hard, it’s inevitable that you’ll fall sooner or later. Investing in a good helmet can make all the difference. Some mountain bike riders also like to wear protective pads – and don’t forget to wear sunscreen when biking in hot weather.
7. Look after your bike. Cleaning and storing your mountain bike correctly can make it perform better and last much longer. You will save money on repairs by investing some time and effort.
8. Build up slowly. When you first get a mountain bike you may feel tempted to spend all day riding it. However, riding off-road can strain your muscles in unexpected ways. Pace yourself as you get used to the experience – you don’t want to strain a muscle and end up being unable to ride at all for weeks.
9. Develop a taste for adventure. Your mountain bike can take you to places you may never have thought of going before. Mountain bike clubs and magazines can advise you on the wide range of new riding experiences now open to you.
10. Have fun! A regular bike may simply be a tool for keeping fit or getting to work, but mountain bikes are all about having a good time!