Introduction To Cycling
Cycling is an exciting hobby and competitive physical activity. It saves your time during commutation for short distances. It is not only a mode of transportation but also exercise and universal sport.
Many people use bicycles as the cheapest mode of transportation to commute to their workplaces daily. Several people use cycling during weekends to go to sightseeing and adventure.
Several people use cycling in gyms to stay fit. Particularly, it is an excellent source of excitement for kids of all ages.
Worldwide Production of Cycles
Currently, the number of cycles produced worldwide is about 100 million. China is the largest producer of the cycles in the world, but in China, E-bikes are now increasing.
Safest Mode of Commutation
Light cycling speed is safe for all riders. There is a high chance that the number of collisions worldwide will be cut by half if the number of people riding bicycles could increase by three times.
Moreover, the collisions of cycle riders are also not fatal, hence the number of accidental fatalities worldwide would be cut by 2/3rd. Hence, it is the safest mode of transportation for short distances.
Cycling is an environmentally sustainable mode of transportation for short distances, since it does not need fossil fuel to run.
Moreover, about 15 bicycles can fit in a space required for a single car. Furthermore, its maintenance is about 20 times cheaper than that of a car.
Disadvantages of Cycling
Excess of everything is bad. Cycling is only useful if it is used for traveling short distances because traveling long distances requires a lot of time, and burn a lot of calories. Overdoing cycling will damage muscles and cause tightness and soreness in your back and knees. However, traveling for short distances and mild speed does not damage or strain your muscles.
1) Cycling as an Exercise
Cycling is an excellent exercise. It is a low-impact exercise, which suitable for kids, adults and old. As compared to running and sprinting, cycling is way easier and less damaging. Riding a bike for short distances is a good workout method.
a) Cycling for Health Management
- Cycling is one of the best disease prevention or management sport.
- It can increase cardiovascular fitness, muscle strength and flexibility.
- Additionally, it improves joint mobility, posture, and coordination.
- Moreover, it strengthens the bones.
- Furthermore, it can decrease stress levels and body fats.
- Being a light exercise, it can prevent the onset of various chronic diseases, such as obesity, depression, and arthritis, hence prevent cardiovascular diseases and diabetes.
b) Cycling as a Weight-Loss Strategy
According to a recently published research, a 30 minutes ride on a bicycle with light speed burns approximately 446 calories that causes significant weight loss.
If you intend to use cycling as the main weight-loss method, then initially 15 to 20 minutes light cycling should be enough.
Later, it should be increased to almost 300 minutes per week by slowly increasing the cycling time to increase weight loss.
Nevertheless, it should not be done in a single or few bursts; but should be equally divided into consistent bursts of equal time.
c) Cycling for Belly and Hip Fat Reduction
Cycling is an effective exercise for reducing weight, body shaping, and burning calories. It is worth noting that cycling reduces overall body fats, but it is not a good spot reduction method.
Belly and hip fats will burn off with the rest of the body fats. Regular cycling can help in toning the muscles changes the appearance.
d) Cycling for Endurance
Endurance is the property of the body to withstand consistent stress. Training for endurance is very important for long-distance cyclists.
Cycling with mild speed is useful in building muscle endurance. However, cycling can slightly build leg muscles, as well.
Since cycling targets, the lower body muscles, hence lower muscles get strengthened. But upper muscles such as arms, and vital organs such as lungs and cardiovascular systems also get strengthened.
2) Safety Measures for Riding a Bicycle
Although cycling is the safest mode of commutation, yet some safety measures need to be adopted for riding a bicycle.
a) Cycling Speedometer
Besides being an efficient mode of transportation, cycling is also a world-renowned sport. Hence, young riders often simulate ordinary cycling with racing. But, for safe riding, awareness of speed is very important. A speedometer should, therefore, be an important accessory of a cycle.
b) Cycling Lights
Road visibility is significantly lower in the morning, and evening, as compared to day time. Moreover, it is also affected when the sky is over-casted.
Particularly, at night, visibility is extremely low. Hence, light is among the most important accessories of a cycle. Often lights of bicycles are powered by tire-driven dynamos, hence need no battery from storage, and are useful at night time.
There is no legal requirement to have a bell on your cycle, but it is an absolute requirement for your and others’ safety while you are riding. However, unnecessary belling for joy isn’t good for your and others’ hearing. A good cycle bell can add beauty to your bike.
A lock is the most important things to prevent your bike from being theft. A variety of locks are available in the market, and you can choose a beautiful matching lock for your bike.
The lock should be strong enough to avoid any lock breakage. Moreover, it should be long enough to allow locking the bicycle with a fixed pole, tree or an immovable bar, as someone can’t pick it without breaking its lock.
e) Recommended Cycling Speed
Since cycling is used for short distances, it should not be run very fast. Generally, there are no state regulations for the speed of human-powered bikes.
A mild cycling speed means a speed of about 15 to 20 mph. Riding a cycle at a mild speed is safe for the riders, as well as for the other passengers on the road.
In Copenhagen, the cycling speed allowed for general riders is 9.6 mph (15.5 km/h). However, the speed for racing bicycles can be reasonably high, i.e. in the range of 25 mph (40 km/h).
f) Recommended Cycling Duration
Recommended cycling time is about 30 to 60 minute per day for a healthy lifestyle, while a moderate cycling time is about 200 to 300 minutes per week.
g) Other Safety Tips
- Ride on the side of the path which is allocated for riding bikes.
- If there is no allocation, then keep to the extreme left side.
- When you cross the road, give arm and hand signals.
- Avoid busy roads and don’t use a bicycle for long distances.
- Obey all the traffic rules and respect the pedestrians and motor traffic.
- Don’t ride your bike in harsh weather.
3) Necessary Gear for Cycling
While riding and maintaining your bicycle doesn’t need any expensive tools and apparatus yet keeping a few things with you saves your time and prevents you from hassle during your track and adventure.
Following things are necessary for every cyclist for a normal ride or for going on an adventurous trip.
When you ride your cycle through off-roads, jerks and jumps can release some of the gas from your cycle tubes. Riding on a cycle with low gas pressure in the tires can damage its tube.
Hence, you need two pumps in your cycling kit. One hand-working floor pump, which you will keep at home, while the other a mini hand pump, which you will keep in your adventure kit. It will go with you anywhere your cycle will go.
b) Puncture Repair Kit
Cycle tubes can get punctured while riding during an adventure trip. If the cyclist doesn’t know how to fix a puncture, the adventure trip can become troublesome.
Any piece of broken glass, metal nails, or stones can rupture the tire (tyre) and tube. As long as you realize that air is releasing from the tire of your bicycle, quickly stop it, and fix its puncture, otherwise, its tube will undergo unrepairable damage.
The puncture repair kit should contain two metal levers, pump, sandpaper, glue, and few puncture patches.
c) Spare Cycle Tire (Tyre)
A spare tire is an utmost necessity if you are traveling for an adventure trip, because if the tire of your tire undergoes unrepairable damage, then you will need the one.
d) A Cycling Repair Tool Kit
A cycling repair tool kit is required to maintain your cycle at home. It needs not to have all the things. Just keep it minimal, i.e. an adjustable wrench, few levers, a variable screwdriver, a brush, lubrication oil, and a few metal nails. Don’t try the major repairs, fixing which is time-consuming and need professional services and higher skills.
e) Water Bottle and Bottle Cage
Water is an absolute essential while you a riding, because you need to keep yourself hydrated. Your water bottle will be fixed into a bottle cage. You can buy a good quality bottle to keep your hot drinks hot and cold beverages cold for a long time.
f) Identification Documents
Riders should keep their identification documents, profile pictures, necessary contact numbers of family members, and charged mobile phone in their pockets during riding a bicycle.
4) What to Wear during Cycling?
a) Use of Cycling Helmet
Usually, kids who ride bicycles are not well trained, hence the can colloid with each other, and fall. Falling and collisions can result in head injury. Hence, the most important accessory to prevent head injury during riding a bicycle is a helmet.
b) A Cycling Jersey and an Undershirt
- Wear a fitting jersey with a long tail, as continuous sunlight from the back can burn your back.
- Moreover, it should have a high collar to present your neck from sunburn.
- Furthermore, your front zipper should allow ventilation, so that you don’t oversweet.
- Wear an undershirt that doesn’t sweat you too much or dehydrate you. You should choose undershirts according to season.
c) Cycling Gloves
Gloves prevent your hands from slipping during jerks and absorb sweat. Moreover, these give cushion to your hands to prevent any injuries during riding. Gloves should be according to the weather. These should appropriately fit the size of your hands.
d) Cycling Shorts and Underwear
Wearing tailor-made padded cycling shorts prevents unnecessary pressure on your pressure points and keeps you comfortable during riding a bicycle.
Moreover, drying underwear should be worn to prevent unnecessary wetting during the ride. However, the material of the underwear should be selected according to the season to prevent dehydration.
5) Facts about Cycling
a) Tandem Bicycles
The bicycles designed for riding two or more riders by providing additional seating arrangements are called tandem bicycles. The size of the longest tandem bicycle was almost 20 meters, which had a seating arrangement for 35 riders.
b) The Most Famous Cyclists
Many cyclists have gained great reputations worldwide. The most famous of them include Eddy Merckx, Stephen Roche, FaustoCoppi, Jacques Anquetil, BinardHinault, Giovanni Battaglin, Miguel Induráin, Marco Pantani, Alberto Contador, Chris Froome, Alfredo Binda, FeliceGimondi, Vincenzo Nibali, and Lance Armstrong.
c) The Fastest Cyclist of the World
The fastest human-powered (unpaced) cyclist is Todd Reichert. His maximum ever speed is 89.58 mph on a flat road using a specially designed bicycle.
The other type of speed record is motor-paced, in which air resistance is prevented by a train, trailer or other vehicle running in front of the human-powered vehicle.
According to the Guinness book of world records, the fastest ever motor-paced cyclist was an American female rider Denise Mueller-Korenek, who set the world record of 183.932 mph in 2018. Previously, it was 167 mph by Fred Rompelberg held since 1995.
d) The Biggest Doping Scandal of Cycling
Lance Edward Armstrong was a famous cyclist of the world, who remained national champion and winner of Tour de France for many years. However, he became a victim of the doping scandal, hence all his titles were stripped in 2012.
Training is pivotal to succeed in any sports.
a) Legs and lungs
Since the strength of legs and lungs is an absolute essential for a cyclist, hence squats and pushups are useful in building and strengthening these muscles and organs.
b) Mild training
However, too much intensity of exercise at the beginning is not good for health. Similarly, training for preparing for a race should also be mild.
c) Keep track
The most important thing in this regard is that you keep track of your training, and never overdo.
Ample rest is also important to rebuild your muscles. Naturally, exercise tears your muscles, and during rest your broken muscle fibers regrow and recover your muscles. Hence, training for two / three days should be followed by one resting day. Five days of exercise per week is a good schedule for beginners.
7) Fixing a Cycle Puncture
There is no rocket science in fixing a puncture. You just need to see it once in any YouTube video and you can do it.
- Simply flip the bike at 180 angles and stand it on its seat.
- Press the tire on the edge of the rim and use a lever to keep it there.
- Use another lever to peel the tire away from the tube.
- When the tire is completely on the rim, pull the tube outside, and fill air into it with your pump.
- Check out the hole, mark it, and remove the air. If you cannot detect the hole, try submerging into a water tub to see the bubbles.
- Slightly rub the puncture place with sandpaper, apply glue, let it dry for 1 minute, and apply the puncture patch on it. Wait until it gets dried and fill a little air in it to know if it is holding tight, and no more air is leaking.
- Now remove the culprit (nail, piece of glass, etc.) from the tire by checking from inside and outside of the tire carefully to avoid another puncture.
- If everything is OK, then again fit the tube into tire, fill air into it, and get ready for the drive again. That’s it.
8) Cycling Races
a) Cycling as a Game
- The history of cycling being officially ranked as a sport dates to 1868 when a cycle race was officially organized in Paris.
- The first-ever cycle race between two cities was organized in 1869 from Paris to Rouen.
- The most famous cycling event worldwide is Tour de France, which was started in 1903.
b) Usual Length of Cycling Races
Most of the cycling races are between 40 and 100 miles in length. This distance can be achieved in a single, or multiple laps, on mixed terrain of flat road, climb forest, and downfalls.
c) The Most Famous Cycling Events
The most reputed and prominent cycling events worldwide include the Giro d’Italia (also called the Giro), the Tour de France (also called the Tour), the Road World Cycling Championship (also called the World title), the Vuelta a España; and Grand Tour.
d) Triple Crown of Cycling
The Triple Crown of Cycling is the greatest achievement of a cyclist in his career. It is a term defined by cycling fans worldwide that refers to winning three major titles of cycling in the same year.
A hat-trick without winning the Tour de France and the World title will not be considered the Triple Crown.
The triple crown has only been won twice, firstly by Eddy Merckx of Belgium in 1974, and later by Stephen Roche of Ireland in 1984.
9) Cycling for kids
a) Types of Kids’ Cycles
The option for the toddlers is a tricycle. Parents should pay special attention towards their children while children ride a tricycle because children simply don’t know about anything.
A balance bike is without pedals. It has two wheels. Once the child learns how to move the pedals, then the net option is a balance bike.
Usually, at the age of 2, a child can handle a balance bike. Children move this bike with using feet power against the ground. Since feet power is being used, hence speed is never too fast, and riding is usually safe.
3)A Bicycle with Support Wheels
At the age of 3, children usually easily ride bicycles with support wheels. Your child’s feet slightly above the ground when your child rides such a bicycle. Now your child will learn the coordination between pedal movement and cycle speed.
4)A Bicycle without Support Wheels
Usually, at the age of 4, your child learns to balance the bicycle with pedaling. Now, it’s safe to use a bicycle without support wheels.
- Size of a bicycle is critical for the safety of the kids. The size of tricycles isn’t too important, because their size is usually constant according to the size of kids, usually aging 1 to 2 years old.
- However, for the transition from tricycle to a balance bicycle, the feet should be completely touching the ground.
- As the child grows and starts riding a bicycle with or without support wheels, the size of the bicycle should be managed, keeping in mind that your child’s feet slightly touch the ground.
Once the child’s feet are above the ground during riding a bicycle, it’s important to ensure safety. Since your child now will balances it with pedaling momentum, hence the speed of the cycle will increase.
It will be difficult for your child to stop it dragging feet with the ground. Hence, using quality brakes is very important.
- Choose a cycle according to your weight, height, age, and purpose of cycling.
- The size of the bike should be in accordance with the height of the rider, i.e. feet should slightly touch the ground.
- Keep personal identification and emergency contact information with you while riding a bicycle.
- Follow all the traffic rules while riding a bicycle.
- Brakes should be installed on the kids bikes, once the child learns how to move the cycle with pedals.
- Riding a bicycle for almost 150 to 300 minutes per week is good for losing excess weight, but it cannot be taken alone as the sole method to reduce belly and hip weight. Hence, along with cycling, some other weight-loss methods should also be coined to achieve better results, such as walking, running, etc.
Cycling is a fun hobby and great exercise for remaining physically active for people of all ages. It is a cheap and environmentally sustainable mode of transportation for short distances and adventure.
It is a mild exercise, which is useful for the endurance of lower body muscles, and helps in weight loss. Cyclists should follow the safety tips and keep their tool kits along with them for riding during a local visit or during an adventurous trip.
Finally, cycling is a world-renowned game, and is a part of the Olympics.