Biking is one of the most popular casual sporting activities. Besides doubling as a method of transportation, biking is an effective and leisurely form of exercise that anyone can do. It’s a fun way for many people to enjoy the great outdoors.

There are many different kinds of biking. While most people who bike are not very serious about it, there have emerged a number of special styles and competitions involving biking that have their own niche followings.

 

Casual Biking

Most bike riders fall into this category. Most people who enjoy riding bikes do so as a leisure activity. Some people actively use cycling as their primary exercise method for maintaining a fit and healthy lifestyle. Others simply enjoy the time spent outside that biking can afford them.

Some people use biking as a method of transportation. People may have different reasons for doing this. Some people may not own cars, while others choose to minimize their carbon footprint by opting to bike instead of drive. Recognizing this, sometimes cities will ensure that bike riders have ample space in roads by giving them access to a special bicycle lane.

Besides saving on gas, in some places, it can be costly to park a car, while biking amenities such as bike racks allow cyclists to safely chain their bikes to prevent theft. However, it can be dangerous for cyclists to travel on busy highways. Bike riders have to weigh the risks of safety and speed versus cost and the environment.

 

Competitive Biking

Of course, many people ride bikes competitively. Most forms of competitive cycling involve racing. Triathlons usually involve a biking portion as the second leg of the three segment race. Most biking events, however, just involve cycling.

Criterium cycling is a form of bicycle racing where participants race in a closed circuit course, essentially biking a set number of laps in order to complete the race.

The most famous bicycle race is the Tour de France, a segmented race that takes place over the course of 23 days. The race has 21 stages and while the basic format of the race is generally the same, the course of the race changes year by year. Most of the race takes place in France but sometimes the course may take cyclists into neighboring countries, and it always ends in Paris.

Of course, bike riders don’t have to be good enough to enter top international competitions to enjoy a bike race. Many local bike races in cities allow for amateurs to try their hand at competitive biking as well.

 

Mountain Biking

Mountain biking is a kind of off-road biking where cyclists actively traverse rugged and difficult terrain. Sometimes mountain bikers will bike on mountain trails that are traversable on bikes. On other occasions, mountain bikers climb mountains only to bike down the slopes. Care must be taken in order to ensure that the pathways aren’t dangerous.

Cross country mountain biking is a form of mountain biking where competitors race on a trail. What makes this trail different from normal roads that are used for biking is that, while it is artificial, it is designed to mimic the difficult and rugged terrain to which most mountain bikers are accustomed.

Mountain biking requires special bikes in order to be done safely and effectively. Mountain bikes are designed to handle the difficult terrain with additional suspension to handle the shocks of dirt roads and rocky ground. Mountain bikes may have knobbier tires to help handle rougher terrain.

 

Cyclocross Biking

Cyclocross biking is a form of bicycle racing where cyclists are forced to traverse a variety of different terrains. Cyclocross biking trails also present obstacles and steep inclines which are designed to force the cyclists to dismount and carry their bike past the obstacle. Cyclocross biking, then, combines a variety of different kinds of biking, and speed depends not just on cycling speed but also speed by which participants can dismount and remount.

Cyclocross cyclists often have to deal with grass, wooded terrains, sand, mud, and man-made tracks over the course of a race. Some cyclocross cyclists will have a pit crew that allows them to trade off bikes while their crew repairs and cleans the first.

 

BMX

BMX, or bike motocross, is a form of competitive cycling. There are two general types of BMX. Racing is one form, however, unlike other forms of bicycle racing, the tracks in BMX are extremely hilly. The point of the hilly and bumpy tracks is that the cyclists often have to go airborne in order to make good time in the race. Therefore, BMX racing requires good control as riders are sent airborne by ramps and hills.

The second kind of competitive BMX is freestyle BMX. In freestyle BMX, the goal is to use ramps and inclines to go airborne and perform tricks. Freestyle BMX cyclists may perform routines in front of judges who award points based on difficulty and success of the cyclist. Freestyle BMX is set to become an Olympic sport for the 2020 Summer Games.

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