Cycling
Overview
Cycling, also called bicycling or biking, is the use of bicycle
Bicycle
A bicycle, also known as a bike, pushbike or cycle, is a human-powered, pedal-driven, single-track vehicle, having two wheels attached to a frame, one behind the other. A person who rides a bicycle is called a cyclist, or bicyclist....

s for transport
Transport
Transport or transportation is the movement of people, cattle, animals and goods from one location to another. Modes of transport include air, rail, road, water, cable, pipeline, and space. The field can be divided into infrastructure, vehicles, and operations...

, recreation
Recreation
Recreation is an activity of leisure, leisure being discretionary time. The "need to do something for recreation" is an essential element of human biology and psychology. Recreational activities are often done for enjoyment, amusement, or pleasure and are considered to be "fun"...

, or for sport
Sport
A Sport is all forms of physical activity which, through casual or organised participation, aim to use, maintain or improve physical fitness and provide entertainment to participants. Sport may be competitive, where a winner or winners can be identified by objective means, and may require a degree...

. Persons engaged in cycling are cyclists or bicyclists. Apart from ordinary two-wheeled bicycles, cycling also includes riding unicycle
Unicycle
A unicycle is a human-powered, single-track vehicle with one wheel. Unicycles resemble bicycles, but are less complex.-History:One theory of the advent of the unicycle stems from the popularity of the penny-farthing during the late 19th century...

s, tricycle
Tricycle
A tricycle is a three-wheeled vehicle. While tricycles are often associated with the small three-wheeled vehicles used by pre-school-age children, they are also used by adults for a variety of purposes. In the United States and Canada, adult-sized tricycles are used primarily by older persons for...

s, quadracycle
Quadracycle
A quadracycle is a four-wheeled human-powered vehicle. It is also referred to as a quadricycle, quadcycle pedal car or four-wheeled bicycle, amongst other terms....

s, and other similar human-powered vehicles
Human-powered transport
Human-powered transport is the transport of person and/or goods using human muscle power. Like animal-powered transport, human-powered transport has existed since time immemorial in the form of walking, running and swimming...

 (HPVs).

Bicycle
Bicycle
A bicycle, also known as a bike, pushbike or cycle, is a human-powered, pedal-driven, single-track vehicle, having two wheels attached to a frame, one behind the other. A person who rides a bicycle is called a cyclist, or bicyclist....

s were introduced in the 19th century and now number about one billion worldwide. They are the principal means of transportation in many regions.

Cycling is a very efficient and effective mode of transportation optimal for short to moderate distances.
Quotations

It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and can coast down them.... Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motorcar only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.

Ernest Hemingway ,

Get a bicycle. You will not regret it, if you live.

Mark Twain, Taming the Bicycle

Encyclopedia
Cycling, also called bicycling or biking, is the use of bicycle
Bicycle
A bicycle, also known as a bike, pushbike or cycle, is a human-powered, pedal-driven, single-track vehicle, having two wheels attached to a frame, one behind the other. A person who rides a bicycle is called a cyclist, or bicyclist....

s for transport
Transport
Transport or transportation is the movement of people, cattle, animals and goods from one location to another. Modes of transport include air, rail, road, water, cable, pipeline, and space. The field can be divided into infrastructure, vehicles, and operations...

, recreation
Recreation
Recreation is an activity of leisure, leisure being discretionary time. The "need to do something for recreation" is an essential element of human biology and psychology. Recreational activities are often done for enjoyment, amusement, or pleasure and are considered to be "fun"...

, or for sport
Sport
A Sport is all forms of physical activity which, through casual or organised participation, aim to use, maintain or improve physical fitness and provide entertainment to participants. Sport may be competitive, where a winner or winners can be identified by objective means, and may require a degree...

. Persons engaged in cycling are cyclists or bicyclists. Apart from ordinary two-wheeled bicycles, cycling also includes riding unicycle
Unicycle
A unicycle is a human-powered, single-track vehicle with one wheel. Unicycles resemble bicycles, but are less complex.-History:One theory of the advent of the unicycle stems from the popularity of the penny-farthing during the late 19th century...

s, tricycle
Tricycle
A tricycle is a three-wheeled vehicle. While tricycles are often associated with the small three-wheeled vehicles used by pre-school-age children, they are also used by adults for a variety of purposes. In the United States and Canada, adult-sized tricycles are used primarily by older persons for...

s, quadracycle
Quadracycle
A quadracycle is a four-wheeled human-powered vehicle. It is also referred to as a quadricycle, quadcycle pedal car or four-wheeled bicycle, amongst other terms....

s, and other similar human-powered vehicles
Human-powered transport
Human-powered transport is the transport of person and/or goods using human muscle power. Like animal-powered transport, human-powered transport has existed since time immemorial in the form of walking, running and swimming...

 (HPVs).

Bicycle
Bicycle
A bicycle, also known as a bike, pushbike or cycle, is a human-powered, pedal-driven, single-track vehicle, having two wheels attached to a frame, one behind the other. A person who rides a bicycle is called a cyclist, or bicyclist....

s were introduced in the 19th century and now number about one billion worldwide. They are the principal means of transportation in many regions.

Cycling is a very efficient and effective mode of transportation optimal for short to moderate distances. Bicycles provide numerous benefits compared to motor vehicle
Motor vehicle
A motor vehicle or road vehicle is a self-propelled wheeled vehicle that does not operate on rails, such as trains or trolleys. The vehicle propulsion is provided by an engine or motor, usually by an internal combustion engine, or an electric motor, or some combination of the two, such as hybrid...

s, including exercise, an alternative to the use of fossil fuel
Fossil fuel
Fossil fuels are fuels formed by natural processes such as anaerobic decomposition of buried dead organisms. The age of the organisms and their resulting fossil fuels is typically millions of years, and sometimes exceeds 650 million years...

s, no air
Air pollution
Air pollution is the introduction of chemicals, particulate matter, or biological materials that cause harm or discomfort to humans or other living organisms, or cause damage to the natural environment or built environment, into the atmosphere....

 or noise pollution
Noise pollution
Noise pollution is excessive, displeasing human, animal or machine-created environmental noise that disrupts the activity or balance of human or animal life...

, much reduced traffic congestion
Traffic congestion
Traffic congestion is a condition on road networks that occurs as use increases, and is characterized by slower speeds, longer trip times, and increased vehicular queueing. The most common example is the physical use of roads by vehicles. When traffic demand is great enough that the interaction...

, easier parking
Parking
Parking is the act of stopping a vehicle and leaving it unoccupied for more than a brief time. Parking on one or both sides of a road is commonly permitted, though often with restrictions...

, greater maneuverability, and access to both road
Road
A road is a thoroughfare, route, or way on land between two places, which typically has been paved or otherwise improved to allow travel by some conveyance, including a horse, cart, or motor vehicle. Roads consist of one, or sometimes two, roadways each with one or more lanes and also any...

s and paths. The advantages are at less financial cost to the user as well as society (negligible damage to roads, and less pavement required). Criticisms and disadvantages of cycling include reduced protection in crashes, particularly with motor vehicles, longer travel time (except in densely populated areas), vulnerability to weather conditions, difficulty in transporting passengers, and the skill and fitness required.

Equipment

In many countries, the most commonly used vehicle
Vehicle
A vehicle is a device that is designed or used to transport people or cargo. Most often vehicles are manufactured, such as bicycles, cars, motorcycles, trains, ships, boats, and aircraft....

 for road transport
Road transport
Road transport or road transportation is transport on roads of passengers or goods. A hybrid of road transport and ship transport is the historic horse-drawn boat.-History:...

 is a utility bicycle
Utility bicycle
A utility bicycle is a bicycle designed for practical transportation, as opposed to bicycles which are primarily designed for recreation and competition, such as touring bicycles, racing bicycles, sport/training bicycles, and mountain bicycles. The vast majority of bicycles can be found in the...

. These have frames with relaxed geometry, protecting the rider from shocks of the road and easing steering at low speeds.

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, utilizing stronger muscles (particularly the gluteus maximus
Gluteus maximus muscle
The gluteus maximus is the largest and most superficial of the three gluteal muscles...

) and reducing air resistance at high speed.

The price of a new bicycle can range from US$50 to more than US$20,000 (the highest priced bike in the world is the custom Madone by Damien Hirst, sold at $500,000 USD), depending on quality, type and weight (the most exotic road bicycles can weigh as little as 3.2 kg (7 lb)). However, UCI regulations stipulates a legal race bike
Racing bicycle
A racing bicycle, also known as a road bike, is a bicycle designed for competitive road cycling, a sport governed by according to the rules of the Union Cycliste Internationale...

 cannot weigh less than 6.8 kg (14.99 lbs). Being measured for a bike and taking it for a test ride are recommended before buying.

The drivetrain components of the bike should also be considered. A middle grade dérailleur is sufficient for a beginner, although many utility bikes come equipped with hub gear
Hub gear
A hub gear, internal-gear hub, or just gear hub is a gear ratio changing system commonly used on bicycles that is implemented with planetary or epicyclic gears. The gears and lubricants are sealed within the hub-shell of the bicycle's rear wheel, as opposed to derailleur gears, where the gears and...

s. If the rider plans a significant amount of hillclimbing
Hillclimbing (cycling)
A hill climb is a cycling event, as well as a basic skill of the sport. As events a hill climb may either be an individual time trial or a regular road race. A hill climb usually represents an event which gains altitude continuously, usually terminating at a summit. Well known hill climbs...

, a triple-crank
Crankset
The crankset or chainset , is the component of a bicycle drivetrain that converts the reciprocating motion of the rider's legs into rotational motion used to drive the chain, which in turn drives the rear wheel...

 (three chainrings) front gear system
Bicycle gearing
A bicycle gear or gear ratio refers to the rate at which the rider's legs turn compared to the rate at which the wheels turn. Bicycle gearing refers to how the gear ratio is set or changed. On some bicycles, there is only one gear so the ratio is fixed. Most modern bicycles have multiple gears,...

 may be preferred. Otherwise, the relatively lighter and less expensive two chainrings may be better. Much simpler fixed wheel bikes are also available, and may be more suitable for commuters.

Many road bikes along with mountain bikes include clipless pedals to which special shoes attach, via a cleat
Cleat (shoe)
Cleats or studs are protrusions on the sole of a shoe, or on an external attachment to a shoe, that provide additional traction on a soft or slippery surface...

, permitting the rider to pull on the pedals as well as push. Other possible accessories for the bicycle include front and back lights, bells
Bicycle bell
A bicycle bell is a bell mounted on a bicycle for warning pedestrians and other cyclists. They are a required piece of equipment is some jurisdictions. They usually mounted on the handlebars and thumb activated...

 or horns, disc brakes, child carrying seats, cycling computers with GPS, locks, bar tape, fenders (mud-guards), baggage racks, baggage carriers and pannier bags, water bottles and bottle cages.

For basic maintenance and repairs, cyclists can choose to carry a pump
Bicycle pump
A bicycle pump is a type of positive-displacement pump specifically designed for inflating bicycle tires. It has a connection or adapter for use with one or both of the two most common types of valves used on bicycles, Schrader or Presta...

 (or a CO2 cartridge
Carbon dioxide
Carbon dioxide is a naturally occurring chemical compound composed of two oxygen atoms covalently bonded to a single carbon atom...

), a puncture repair kit, a spare inner tube, and tire levers. Cycling can be more efficient and comfortable with special shoes
Cycling shoe
Cycling shoes are shoes purpose-built for cycling. There are a variety of designs depending on the type and intensity of the cycling for which they are intended. Key features include rigidity, for more-efficient transfer of power from the cyclist to the pedals, weight, a method of attaching the...

, gloves
Cycling gloves
Cycling gloves are gloves designed for cycling. They fulfill three functions: warmth, comfort and protection.- Warmth :Gloves are frequently used to keep the hands warm, a function that is particularly necessary when cycling in cold weather...

, and shorts
Cycling shorts
Cycling shorts are short, skin-tight legwear designed to improve comfort and efficiency while cycling...

. In wet weather, riding can be more tolerable with waterproof clothes, such as cape, jacket, trousers (pants) and overshoes.

Items legally required in some jurisdictions, or voluntarily adopted for safety reasons, include bicycle helmet
Bicycle helmet
A bicycle helmet is a helmet intended to be worn while riding a bicycle. They are designed to attenuate impacts to the skull of a cyclist in falls while minimizing side effects such as interference with peripheral vision...

s, generator or battery operated lights, reflectors
Retroreflector
A retroreflector is a device or surface that reflects light back to its source with a minimum scattering of light. An electromagnetic wave front is reflected back along a vector that is parallel to but opposite in direction from the wave's source. The device or surface's angle of incidence is...

, and audible signalling devices such as a bell or horn. Extras include studded tires and a bicycle computer
Cyclocomputer
A cyclocomputer or cyclometer is a device mounted on a bicycle that calculates and displays trip information, similar to the instruments in the dashboard of a car. The computer with display, or head unit, usually is attached to the handlebar for easy viewing.-History:In 1895 Curtis Hussey Veeder...

.

Bikes can also be heavily customized, with different seat designs and handle bars, for example.

Skills

Learning to ride efficiently and safely in traffic is important. In the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

, many primary school children took the Cycling Proficiency Test
Cycling Proficiency Test
The Cycling Proficiency Test was a test given by Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents which served as a minimum recommended standard for cycling on British roads. It has been superseded by the new National Standards for Cycle Training, branded Bikeability in England.The first Cycling...

 (now branded as 'Bikeability'), to help them cycle more safely. In countries such as the Netherlands, where cycling is popular, cyclists sometimes ride in 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.

Cycling infrastructure

Cyclists, pedestrians and motorists make different demands on road design which may lead to conflicts. Some jurisdictions give priority to motorized traffic, for example setting up one-way street systems, free-right turns, high capacity roundabouts, and slip roads
Interchange (road)
In the field of road transport, an interchange is a road junction that typically uses grade separation, and one or more ramps, to permit traffic on at least one highway to pass through the junction without directly crossing any other traffic stream. It differs from a standard intersection, at which...

. Others may apply traffic restraint
Traffic calming
Traffic calming is intended to slow or reduce motor-vehicle traffic in order to improve the living conditions for residents as well as to improve safety for pedestrians and cyclists. Urban planners and traffic engineers have many strategies for traffic calming...

 measures to limit the impact of motorized transport. In the former cases, cycling has tended to decline while in the latter it has tended to be maintained. Occasionally, extreme measures against cycling may occur. In Shanghai
Shanghai
Shanghai is the largest city by population in China and the largest city proper in the world. It is one of the four province-level municipalities in the People's Republic of China, with a total population of over 23 million as of 2010...

, where bicycles were once the dominant mode of transport
Mode of transport
Mode of transport is a term used to distinguish substantially different ways to perform transport. The most dominant modes of transport are aviation, land transport, which includes rail, road and off-road transport, and ship transport...

, bicycle travel on a few city roads was banned temporarily in December 2003.

In areas in which cycling is popular and encouraged, cycle-parking facilities using bicycle stand
Bicycle stand
A bicycle stand,also called a bike rack, is a device to which bicycles may be securely attached. It may be free standing or securely attached to the ground or some stationary object such as a building. Indoor bike racks are commonly used for private bicycle parking, while outdoor bike racks are...

s, lockable mini-garages, and patrolled cycle parks are used in order to reduce theft. Local governments promote cycling by permitting bicycles to be carried on public transport or by providing external attachment devices
Bicycle carrier
A bicycle carrier, also commonly called a bike rack, is a device attached to an automobile or bus for transporting bicycles.- By vehicle type :Bus mounted bike carriers are usually attached to the front of the bus...

 on public transport vehicles. Conversely, an absence of secure cycle-parking is a recurring complaint by cyclists from cities with low modal share of cycling.

Extensive bicycle path
Bicycle Path
Bicycle Path is a historic road in Central Suffolk County on Long Island, New York, built in the late 19th Century in order to capitalize on the bicycle craze of that period...

 systems may be found in some cities. Such dedicated paths often have to be shared with in-line skaters, scooters, skateboarders, and pedestrians. Segregating bicycle and automobile traffic in cities has met with mixed success, both in terms of safety and bicycle promotion. At some point the two streams of traffic inevitably intersect, often in a haphazard and congested fashion. Studies have demonstrated that, due to the high incidence of accidents at these sites, some such segregated schemes can actually increase the number of car-bike collisions.

Bicycles are considered a sustainable mode of transport, especially suited for urban use and relatively shorter distances when used for transport (compared to recreation). Case studies and good practices (from European cities and some worldwide examples) that promote and stimulate this kind of functional cycling in cities can be found at Eltis
Eltis
ELTIS is short for the 'European Local Transport Information Service'. This is a European portal for local transport news and events, transport measures, policies and practices implemented in cities and regions across Europe.- What is ELTIS :...

, Europe's portal for local transport.

In the Netherlands, bicycle paths are widespread and are (in the cities) closed to scooter
Scooter (motorcycle)
A scooter is a motorcycle with step-through frame and a platform for the operator's feet. Elements of scooter design have been present in some of the earliest motorcycles, and motorcycles identifiable as scooters have been made from 1914 or earlier...

s. Cyclists in the Netherlands are well protected as the law assumes the stronger participant (i.e. the car driver) is guilty until proved innocent (i.e. is the guilty party in all accidents involving weaker traffic unless evidence of the opposite is provided). Furthermore, drivers know to expect a high volume of cyclist traffic. Due to these issues the number of car-bike collisions with serious consequences is not alarmingly high in the Netherlands

Utility

Utility cycling refers both to cycling as a mode of daily commuting
Commuting
Commuting is regular travel between one's place of residence and place of work or full time study. It sometimes refers to any regular or often repeated traveling between locations when not work related.- History :...

 transport as well as the use of a bicycle in a commercial activity, mainly to transport goods, mostly accomplished in an urban environment
Urban area
An urban area is characterized by higher population density and vast human features in comparison to areas surrounding it. Urban areas may be cities, towns or conurbations, but the term is not commonly extended to rural settlements such as villages and hamlets.Urban areas are created and further...

.

The postal services
Mail
Mail, or post, is a system for transporting letters and other tangible objects: written documents, typically enclosed in envelopes, and also small packages are delivered to destinations around the world. Anything sent through the postal system is called mail or post.In principle, a postal service...

 of many countries have long relied on bicycles. The British Royal Mail
Royal Mail
Royal Mail is the government-owned postal service in the United Kingdom. Royal Mail Holdings plc owns Royal Mail Group Limited, which in turn operates the brands Royal Mail and Parcelforce Worldwide...

 first started using bicycles in 1880; now bicycle delivery fleets include 37,000 in the UK, 25,700 in Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

, 10,500 in Hungary
Hungary
Hungary , officially the Republic of Hungary , is a landlocked country in Central Europe. It is situated in the Carpathian Basin and is bordered by Slovakia to the north, Ukraine and Romania to the east, Serbia and Croatia to the south, Slovenia to the southwest and Austria to the west. The...

 and 7000 in Sweden
Sweden
Sweden , officially the Kingdom of Sweden , is a Nordic country on the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northern Europe. Sweden borders with Norway and Finland and is connected to Denmark by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund....

. The London Ambulance Service
London Ambulance Service
The London Ambulance Service NHS Trust is the largest "free at the point of contact" emergency ambulance service in the world. It responds to medical emergencies in Greater London, England, with the ambulances and other response vehicles and over 5,000 staff at its disposal.It is one of 12...

 has recently introduced bicycling paramedic
Paramedic
A paramedic is a healthcare professional that works in emergency medical situations. Paramedics provide advanced levels of care for medical emergencies and trauma. The majority of paramedics are based in the field in ambulances, emergency response vehicles, or in specialist mobile units such as...

s, who can often get to the scene of an incident in Central London
Central London
Central London is the innermost part of London, England. There is no official or commonly accepted definition of its area, but its characteristics are understood to include a high density built environment, high land values, an elevated daytime population and a concentration of regionally,...

 more quickly than a motorized ambulance.

Late in the 20th century, urban police bicycle
Police bicycle
A Police bicycle is a land vehicle used by police departments, most commonly in the form of a mountain bicycle. They are designed to meet the requirements unique to each department....

s became more common, as the mobility of car-borne officers was increasingly limited by traffic congestion and pedestrianisation.

Bicycles enjoy substantial use as general delivery vehicles in many countries. In the UK and North America, generations of teenagers have got their first jobs delivering newspapers by bicycle. London has many delivery companies that use bicycles with trailers. Most cities in the West, and many outside it, support a sizeable and visible industry of cycle couriers
Bicycle messenger
Bicycle messengers are people who work for courier companies carrying and delivering items by bicycle. Bicycle messengers are most often found in the central business districts of metropolitan areas...

 who deliver documents and small packages. In India, many of Mumbai
Mumbai
Mumbai , formerly known as Bombay in English, is the capital of the Indian state of Maharashtra. It is the most populous city in India, and the fourth most populous city in the world, with a total metropolitan area population of approximately 20.5 million...

's Dabbawala
Dabbawala
A dabbawala ; also spelled as dabbawalla or dabbawallah; literally meaning , is a person in India, most commonly found in the city of Mumbai, who is employed in a unique service industry whose primary business is collecting the freshly cooked food in lunch boxes from the residences of the office...

s use bicycles to deliver home cooked lunches to the city’s workers. In Bogotá
Bogotá
Bogotá, Distrito Capital , from 1991 to 2000 called Santa Fé de Bogotá, is the capital, and largest city, of Colombia. It is also designated by the national constitution as the capital of the department of Cundinamarca, even though the city of Bogotá now comprises an independent Capital district...

, Colombia
Colombia
Colombia, officially the Republic of Colombia , is a unitary constitutional republic comprising thirty-two departments. The country is located in northwestern South America, bordered to the east by Venezuela and Brazil; to the south by Ecuador and Peru; to the north by the Caribbean Sea; to the...

 the city’s largest bakery recently replaced most of its delivery trucks with bicycles. Even the car industry uses bicycles. At the huge Mercedes-Benz
Mercedes-Benz
Mercedes-Benz is a German manufacturer of automobiles, buses, coaches, and trucks. Mercedes-Benz is a division of its parent company, Daimler AG...

 factory in Sindelfingen
Sindelfingen
Sindelfingen is a German town near Stuttgart at the headwaters of the Schwippe that is the site of a Mercedes-Benz assembly plant.-History:* 1155 First documented mention of Sindelfingen...

, Germany workers use bicycles, color-coded by department, to move around the factory.

Recreational

Bicycle Touring

Bicycles are used for recreation at all ages. Bicycle touring
Bicycle touring
Bicycle touring is cycling over long distances – prioritizing pleasure and endurance over utility or speed. Touring can range from single day 'supported' rides — e.g., rides to benefit charities — where provisions are available to riders at stops along the route, to multi-day...

, also known as cyclotourism, involves touring and exploration or sightseeing by bicycle for leisure. A brevet or randonnée is an organized long-distance ride.

One popular Dutch
Netherlands
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

 pleasure is the enjoyment of relaxed cycling in the countryside
Rural
Rural areas or the country or countryside are areas that are not urbanized, though when large areas are described, country towns and smaller cities will be included. They have a low population density, and typically much of the land is devoted to agriculture...

 of the Netherlands. The land is very flat and full of public bicycle trails
Segregated cycle facilities
Segregated cycle facilities are marked lanes, tracks, shoulders and paths designated for use by cyclists from which motorised traffic is generally excluded...

 where cyclists are not bothered by cars
Automobile
An automobile, autocar, motor car or car is a wheeled motor vehicle used for transporting passengers, which also carries its own engine or motor...

 and other traffic, which makes it ideal for cycling recreation. Many Dutch people
Dutch people
The Dutch people are an ethnic group native to the Netherlands. They share a common culture and speak the Dutch language. Dutch people and their descendants are found in migrant communities worldwide, notably in Suriname, Chile, Brazil, Canada, Australia, South Africa, New Zealand, and the United...

 subscribe every year
Year
A year is the orbital period of the Earth moving around the Sun. For an observer on Earth, this corresponds to the period it takes the Sun to complete one course throughout the zodiac along the ecliptic....

 to an event called fietsvierdaagse
Fietsvierdaagse
The fietsvierdaagse is a Dutch bicycle event. The event consists of four days of recreational cycling. Mainly during spring and summer several fietsvierdaagsen are organised throughout the Netherlands. The fietsvierdaagsen are annual events and most take place in the countryside of the Netherlands...

 — four days of organised cycling through the local environment. Paris–Brest–Paris (PBP), which began in 1891, is the oldest bicycling event still run on a regular basis on the open road, covers over 1200 km (746 mi) and imposes a 90-hour time limit. Similar if smaller institutions exist in many countries.

Organized rides
Many cycling club
Cycling club
A cycling club is a society for cyclists. It can be local or national, general or specialised. The Cyclists' Touring Club, CTC) in the United Kingdom is a national association; i-Team and are internet clubs; the Tricycle Association, Tandem Club and the Veterans Time Trial Association, for those...

s hold organized rides in which bicyclists of all levels participate. The typical organized ride starts with a large group of riders, called the mass, bunch or even peloton
Peloton
The peloton , field, bunch or pack is the large main group of riders in a road bicycle race. Riders in a group save energy by riding close near other riders...

. This will thin out over the course of the ride. Many riders choose to ride together in groups of the same skill level to take advantage of drafting
Drafting (racing)
Drafting or slipstreaming is a technique where two vehicles or other moving objects are caused to align in a close group reducing the overall effect of drag due to exploiting the lead object's slipstream...

.

Most organized rides, for example Cyclosportive
Cyclosportive
A cyclosportive, or often simply sportive, is a short to long distance, organised, mass-participation cycling event, typically held annually....

s, Challenge Rides
Challenge riding
Challenge riding is a form of cycling where the riders challenge themselves rather than each other. Some challenge rides are charity events or pledge rides. Some are organised as pre- or early-season training events...

 or reliability trial
Reliability trial
A reliability trial is an organised bicycle ride which challenges a cyclist to complete a course, passing through designated control points, within a preset time limit. In the United Kingdom, such events are often held in the wintry opening months of the year and are used by club cyclists as...

s, and hill climbs
Hillclimbing (cycling)
A hill climb is a cycling event, as well as a basic skill of the sport. As events a hill climb may either be an individual time trial or a regular road race. A hill climb usually represents an event which gains altitude continuously, usually terminating at a summit. Well known hill climbs...

 include registration requirements and will provide information either through the mail or online concerning start times and other requirements. Rides usually consist of several different routes, sorted by mileage, and with a certain number of rest stops that usually include refreshments, first aid and maintenance tools. Routes can vary by as much as 100 miles (160.9 km).

Mountain
Mountain biking
Mountain biking
Mountain biking is a sport which consists of riding bicycles off-road, often over rough terrain, using specially adapted mountain bikes. Mountain bikes share similarities with other bikes, but incorporate features designed to enhance durability and performance in rough terrain.Mountain biking can...

 began in the 1970s, originally as a downhill sport, practised on customized cruiser bikes around Mount Tamalpais
Mount Tamalpais
Mount Tamalpais is a peak in Marin County, California, United States, often considered symbolic of Marin County. Much of Mount Tamalpais is protected within public lands such as Mount Tamalpais State Park and the Mount Tamalpais Watershed.-Geography:...

. Most mountain biking takes place on dirt roads, trails and in purpose-built parks. Downhill mountain biking has just evolved in the recent years and is performed at places such as Whistler Mountain Bike Park. Slopestyle, a form of downhill, is when riders do tricks such as tailwhips, 360s, backflips and frontflips.

Racing

Shortly after the introduction of bicycles, competitions developed independently in many parts of the world. Early races involving boneshaker style bicycles were predictably fraught with injuries. Large races became popular during the 1890s "Golden Age of Cycling", with events across Europe, and in the U.S. and Japan as well. At one point, almost every major city in the US had a velodrome
Velodrome
A velodrome is an arena for track cycling. Modern velodromes feature steeply banked oval tracks, consisting of two 180-degree circular bends connected by two straights...

 or two for track racing
Track cycling
Track cycling is a bicycle racing sport usually held on specially built banked tracks or velodromes using track bicycles....

 events, however since the middle of the 20th century cycling has become a minority sport in the US whilst in Continental Europe it continues to be a major sport, particularly in France, Belgium, Italy and Spain. The most famous of all bicycle races is the Tour de France
Tour de France
The Tour de France is an annual bicycle race held in France and nearby countries. First staged in 1903, the race covers more than and lasts three weeks. As the best known and most prestigious of cycling's three "Grand Tours", the Tour de France attracts riders and teams from around the world. The...

. This began in 1903, and continues to capture the attention of the sporting world.

In 1899, Mile-a-Minute Murphy
Mile-a-Minute Murphy
Charles Minthorn Murphy , also known as Mile-a-Minute Murphy, was an American cycling athlete. He was the first man ever to ride a bicycle for one mile in less than a minute...

 became the first man to ride his bicycle a mile in under a minute, which he did by drafting a locomotive
Locomotive
A locomotive is a railway vehicle that provides the motive power for a train. The word originates from the Latin loco – "from a place", ablative of locus, "place" + Medieval Latin motivus, "causing motion", and is a shortened form of the term locomotive engine, first used in the early 19th...

 at New York's Long Island
Long Island
Long Island is an island located in the southeast part of the U.S. state of New York, just east of Manhattan. Stretching northeast into the Atlantic Ocean, Long Island contains four counties, two of which are boroughs of New York City , and two of which are mainly suburban...

.

As the bicycle evolved its various forms, different racing formats developed. Road races may involve both team and individual competition, and are contested in various ways. They range from the one-day road race, criterium
Criterium
A criterium, or crit, is a bike race held on a short course , often run on closed-off city center streets....

, and time trial to multi-stage events like the Tour de France and its sister events which make up cycling's Grand Tours
Grand Tour (cycling)
In road bicycle racing, a Grand Tour refers to one of the three major European professional cycling stage races:* Tour de France – Tour of France , held in July* Giro d'Italia – Tour of Italy , held in May...

. Recumbent bicycle
Recumbent bicycle
A recumbent bicycle is a bicycle that places the rider in a laid-back reclining position. Most recumbent riders choose this type of design for ergonomic reasons; the rider's weight is distributed comfortably over a larger area, supported by back and buttocks...

s were banned from bike races in 1934 after Marcel Berthet set a new hour record
Hour record
The hour record for bicycles is the record for the longest distance cycled in one hour on a bicycle. There are several records. The most famous is for upright bicycles meeting the requirements of the Union Cycliste Internationale . It is one of the most prestigious in cycling...

 in his Velodyne streamliner (49.992 km on November 18, 1933). Track bicycle
Track bicycle
A track bicycle or track bike is a bicycle optimized for racing at a velodrome or outdoor track. Unlike road bicycles, the track bike is a fixed-gear bicycle and so has a single gear and neither freewheel nor brakes. Tires are narrow and inflated to high pressure to reduce rolling resistance...

s are used for track cycling
Track cycling
Track cycling is a bicycle racing sport usually held on specially built banked tracks or velodromes using track bicycles....

 in Velodrome
Velodrome
A velodrome is an arena for track cycling. Modern velodromes feature steeply banked oval tracks, consisting of two 180-degree circular bends connected by two straights...

s, while cyclo-cross
Cyclo-cross
Cyclo-cross is a form of bicycle racing. Races typically take place in the autumn and winter , and consists of many laps of a short course featuring pavement, wooded trails, grass, steep hills and...

 races are held on rugged outdoor terrain, which is performed on road, grass, and mud. Riders in cyclocross must get off their bikes at certain intervals and hop over barriers. Time trial
Individual time trial
An individual time trial is a road bicycle race in which cyclists race alone against the clock . There are also track-based time trials where riders compete in velodromes, and team time trials...

 races, another form of road racing require a rider to ride against the clock. Time trials can be performed as a team or as a single rider. Bikes are changed for time trial races, using aero bars. In the past decade, mountain bike racing
Mountain biking
Mountain biking is a sport which consists of riding bicycles off-road, often over rough terrain, using specially adapted mountain bikes. Mountain bikes share similarities with other bikes, but incorporate features designed to enhance durability and performance in rough terrain.Mountain biking can...

 has also reached international popularity and is even an Olympic sport.

Professional racing organizations place limitations on the bicycles that can be used in the races that they sanction. For example, the Union Cycliste Internationale, the governing body of international cycle sport (which sanctions races such as the Tour de France), decided in the late 1990s to create additional rules which prohibit racing bicycles weighing less than 6.8 kilograms (14.96 pounds). The UCI rules also effectively ban some bicycle frame
Bicycle frame
A bicycle frame is the main component of a bicycle, on to which wheels and other components are fitted. The modern and most common frame design for an upright bicycle is based on the safety bicycle, and consists of two triangles, a main triangle and a paired rear triangle...

 innovations (such as the recumbent bicycle
Recumbent bicycle
A recumbent bicycle is a bicycle that places the rider in a laid-back reclining position. Most recumbent riders choose this type of design for ergonomic reasons; the rider's weight is distributed comfortably over a larger area, supported by back and buttocks...

) by requiring a double triangle structure.

War

The bicycle is not suited for combat, but it has been used as a method of reconnaissance
Reconnaissance
Reconnaissance is the military term for exploring beyond the area occupied by friendly forces to gain information about enemy forces or features of the environment....

 as well as transporting soldiers and supplies to combat zones. In this it has taken over many of the functions of horses in warfare
Horses in warfare
The first use of horses in warfare occurred over 5,000 years ago. The earliest evidence of horses ridden in warfare dates from Eurasia between 4000 and 3000 BC. A Sumerian illustration of warfare from 2500 BC depicts some type of equine pulling wagons...

. In the Second Boer War
Second Boer War
The Second Boer War was fought from 11 October 1899 until 31 May 1902 between the British Empire and the Afrikaans-speaking Dutch settlers of two independent Boer republics, the South African Republic and the Orange Free State...

, both sides used bicycles for scouting. In World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

, France, Germany, Australia and New Zealand used bicycles to move troops. In its 1937 invasion of China, Japan employed some 50,000 bicycle troops, and similar forces were instrumental in Japan's march or "roll" through Malaysia in World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

. Germany used bicycles again in World War II, while the British employed airborne "Cycle-commandos" with folding bikes.

In the Vietnam War
Vietnam War
The Vietnam War was a Cold War-era military conflict that occurred in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. This war followed the First Indochina War and was fought between North Vietnam, supported by its communist allies, and the government of...

, communist forces used bicycles extensively as cargo carriers along the Ho Chi Minh Trail
Ho Chi Minh trail
The Ho Chi Minh trail was a logistical system that ran from the Democratic Republic of Vietnam to the Republic of Vietnam through the neighboring kingdoms of Laos and Cambodia...

.

The last country known to maintain a regiment of bicycle troops was Switzerland, who disbanded their final unit in 2003.

Activism

Two broad and correlated themes run in bicycle activism: one is about advocating the bicycle as an alternative mode of transport, and the other is about the creation of conditions to permit and/or encourage bicycle use, both for utility and recreational cycling. Although the first, which emphasizes the potential for energy and resource conservation and health benefits gained from cycling versus automobile use, is relatively undisputed, the second is the subject of much debate.

It is generally agreed that improved local and inter-city rail
Inter-city rail
Inter-city rail services are express passenger train services that cover longer distances than commuter or regional trains.There is no precise definition of inter-city rail. Its meaning may vary from country to country...

 services and other methods of mass transportation (including greater provision for cycle carriage on such services) create conditions to encourage bicycle use. However, there are different opinions on the role of the use of segregated cycle facilities
Segregated cycle facilities
Segregated cycle facilities are marked lanes, tracks, shoulders and paths designated for use by cyclists from which motorised traffic is generally excluded...

 and other items of the cycling infrastructure in building bicycle-friendly
Bicycle-friendly
The term bicycle-friendly describes policies and practices which may help some people feel more comfortable about traveling by bicycle with other traffic...

 cities and roads.

Some bicycle activists (including some traffic management advisers) seek the construction of segregated cycle facilities for journeys of all lengths. Other activists, especially those from the more established tradition, view the safety, practicality, and intent of many segregated cycle facilities with suspicion. They favour a more holistic approach based on the 4 'E's; education (of everyone involved), encouragement (to apply the education), enforcement (to protect the rights of others), and engineering (to facilitate travel while respecting every person's equal right to do so). In some cases this opposition has a more ideological basis: some members of the Vehicular Cycling movement
Vehicular cycling
Vehicular cycling is the practice of riding bicycles on roads in a manner that is visible, predictable, and in accordance with the principles for driving in traffic.The phrase vehicular cycling was coined by John Forester in the 1970s to characterize the...

 oppose segregated public facilities, such as on-street bike lanes, on principle. Some groups offer training courses to help cyclists integrate themselves with other traffic. This is part of the ongoing cycle path debate.

Critical Mass
Critical Mass
Critical Mass is a cycling event typically held on the last Friday of every month in over 300 cities around the world. The ride was originally founded in 1992 in San Francisco. The purpose of Critical Mass is not usually formalized beyond the direct action of meeting at a set location and time and...

 is an event typically held on the last Friday of every month in cities
City
A city is a relatively large and permanent settlement. Although there is no agreement on how a city is distinguished from a town within general English language meanings, many cities have a particular administrative, legal, or historical status based on local law.For example, in the U.S...

 around the world
World
World is a common name for the whole of human civilization, specifically human experience, history, or the human condition in general, worldwide, i.e. anywhere on Earth....

 where bicyclists take to the streets en masse. While the ride was originally founded with the idea of drawing attention to how unfriendly the city was to bicyclists, the leaderless structure of Critical Mass makes it impossible to assign it any one specific goal. In fact, the purpose of Critical Mass is not formalized beyond the direct action
Direct action
Direct action is activity undertaken by individuals, groups, or governments to achieve political, economic, or social goals outside of normal social/political channels. This can include nonviolent and violent activities which target persons, groups, or property deemed offensive to the direct action...

 of meeting at a set location and time and traveling as a group through city streets.

There is a long-running cycle helmet debate among activists. The most heated controversy surrounds the topic of compulsory helmet use.

Associations

Cyclists form associations, both for specific interests (trails development, road maintenance, urban design, racing clubs, touring clubs, and so on.) and for more global goals (energy conservation
Energy conservation
Energy conservation refers to efforts made to reduce energy consumption. Energy conservation can be achieved through increased efficient energy use, in conjunction with decreased energy consumption and/or reduced consumption from conventional energy sources...

, pollution reduction, promotion of fitness). Some bicycle clubs and national associations became prominent advocates for improvements to roads and highways. In the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, the League of American Wheelmen lobbied for the improvement of roads in the last part of the 19th century, founding and leading the national Good Roads Movement
Good Roads Movement
The Good Roads Movement occurred in the United States between the late 1870s and the 1920s. Advocates for improved roads led by bicyclists turned local agitation into a national political movement....

. Their model for political organization, as well as the paved roads for which they argued, facilitated the growth of the automobile.

As a sport, cycling is governed internationally by the Union Cycliste Internationale
Union Cycliste Internationale
Union Cycliste Internationale is the world governing body for sports cycling and oversees international competitive cycling events. The UCI is based in Aigle, Switzerland....

 in Switzerland
Switzerland
Switzerland name of one of the Swiss cantons. ; ; ; or ), in its full name the Swiss Confederation , is a federal republic consisting of 26 cantons, with Bern as the seat of the federal authorities. The country is situated in Western Europe,Or Central Europe depending on the definition....

, USA Cycling
USA Cycling
USA Cycling or USAC, based in Colorado Springs, Colorado, is the national governing body for bicycle racing in the United States. It covers the disciplines of road, track, mountain bike, cyclo-cross, BMX and collegiate racing...

 (merged with the United States Cycling Federation in 1995) in the United States, (for upright bicycles) and by the International Human Powered Vehicle Association
International Human Powered Vehicle Association
The International Human Powered Vehicle Association is dedicated to promoting the design and development of human powered vehicles.- History :...

 (for other HPVs, or human-powered vehicles). Cycling for transport and touring is promoted on a European level by the European Cyclists' Federation
European Cyclists' Federation
European Cyclists' Federation is an umbrella federation for national cycling organizations throughout Europe.ECF was founded in 1983 by 12 bicycle user associations...

, with associated members from Great Britain, Japan and elsewhere. Regular conferences on cycling as transport are held under the auspices of Velo City
Velo City
Velo-city is a series of cycle planning conferences started in 1980 in Bremen. The Velo-city 1980 also inspired the founding of the European Cyclists' Federation in 1983...

; global conferences are coordinated by Velo Mondial.

Benefits

The physical exercise
Physical exercise
Physical exercise is any bodily activity that enhances or maintains physical fitness and overall health and wellness. It is performed for various reasons including strengthening muscles and the cardiovascular system, honing athletic skills, weight loss or maintenance, as well as for the purpose of...

 gained from cycling is generally linked with increased health and well-being. According to the World Health Organization
World Health Organization
The World Health Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations that acts as a coordinating authority on international public health. Established on 7 April 1948, with headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, the agency inherited the mandate and resources of its predecessor, the Health...

, physical inactivity is second only to tobacco smoking
Tobacco smoking
Tobacco smoking is the practice where tobacco is burned and the resulting smoke is inhaled. The practice may have begun as early as 5000–3000 BCE. Tobacco was introduced to Eurasia in the late 16th century where it followed common trade routes...

 as a health risk in developed countries, and this is associated with many tens of billions of dollars of healthcare costs. The WHO's report suggests that increasing physical activity is a public health 'best buy', and that cycling is a 'highly suitable activity' for this purpose. The charity Sustrans
Sustrans
Sustrans is a British charity to promote sustainable transport. The charity is currently working on a number of practical projects to encourage people to walk, cycle and use public transport, to give people the choice of "travelling in ways that benefit their health and the environment"...

 reports that investment in cycling provision can give a 20:1 return from health and other benefits. It has been estimated that, on average, approximately 20 life-years are gained from the health benefits of road bicycling for every life-year lost through injury.

Bicycles are often used by people seeking to improve their fitness and cardiovascular health. In this regard, cycling is especially helpful for those with arthritis
Arthritis
Arthritis is a form of joint disorder that involves inflammation of one or more joints....

 of the lower limbs who are unable to pursue sports that cause impact to the knees and other joints. Since cycling can be used for the practical purpose of transportation, there can be less need for self-discipline to exercise.

Cycling while seated is a relatively non-weight bearing
Weight bearing
In orthopedics, weight-bearing is the amount of weight a patient puts on the leg on which surgery has been performed. In general, it is described as a percentage of the body weight, because each leg of a healthy person carries the full body weight when walking, in an alternating fashion.After...

 exercise that, like swimming, does little to promote bone density. Cycling up and out of the saddle, on the other hand, does a better job by transferring more of the rider's body weight to the legs. However, excessive cycling while standing can cause knee damage It used to be thought that cycling while standing was less energy efficient, but recent research has proven this not to be true. Other than air resistance, there is no wasted energy from cycling while standing if it is done correctly.

Cycling on a stationary cycle is frequently advocated as a suitable exercise for rehabilitation, particularly for lower limb injury, owing to the low impact which it has on the joints. In particular, cycling is commonly used within knee rehabilitation programs.

As a response to the increased global sedentarity and consequent overweight
Overweight
Overweight is generally defined as having more body fat than is optimally healthy. Being overweight is a common condition, especially where food supplies are plentiful and lifestyles are sedentary...

 and obesity
Obesity
Obesity is a medical condition in which excess body fat has accumulated to the extent that it may have an adverse effect on health, leading to reduced life expectancy and/or increased health problems...

, one response that has been adopted by many organizations concerned with health and environment is the promotion of Active travel
Active travel
Active travel refers to an approach to travel and transport that focuses on physical activity as opposed to motorised and carbon-dependent means. Given that in the UK over 50% of car journeys are under 5 km, there exists considerable scope to replace motor car journeys with more active forms...

, which seeks to promote walking and cycling as safe and attractive alternatives to motorized transport. Given that many journeys are for relatively short distances, there is considerable scope to replace car use with walking or cycling, though in many settings this may require some infrastructure modification, particularly to attract the less experienced and confident.

Injuries

Cycling suffers from a perception that it is unsafe although use of appropriate safety equipment and observance of road rules can reduce risk of serious injury. In the UK, fatality rates per mile or kilometre are slightly less than those for walking. In the US, bicycling fatality rates are less than 2/3 of those walking the same distance. The fatality and serious injury rates per hour of travel are just over double for cycling than for walking (owing to the reduced travel time), in the UK. It should be noted that calculated fatality rates based on distance for bicycling (as well as for walking) can have an exceptionally large margin of error, since there are generally no annual registrations or odometers required for bicycles (as there are with motor vehicles), and this means the distance traveled must be estimated.

Most cycle deaths result from a collision with a car or heavy goods vehicle, both motorist and cyclist having been found responsible for collisions However, around a fifth of non-fatal injuries to cyclists do not involve any other person or vehicle.

A Danish study in 2000 concluded that "bicycling to work decreased risk of mortality in approximately 40% after multivariate adjustment, including leisure time physical activity".

Injuries (to cyclists, from cycling) can be divided into two types:
  • Physical trauma
    Physical trauma
    Trauma refers to "a body wound or shock produced by sudden physical injury, as from violence or accident." It can also be described as "a physical wound or injury, such as a fracture or blow." Major trauma can result in secondary complications such as circulatory shock, respiratory failure and death...

     (extrinsic)
  • Overuse (intrinsic).


Acute physical trauma includes injuries to the head and extremities resulting from falls and collisions. Since a large percentage of the collisions between motor and pedal vehicles occur at night, bicycle lighting is required for safety when bicycling
Bicycle safety
Bicycle safety is the use of practices designed to reduce risk associated with cycling. Some of this subject matter is hotly debated: for example, the discussions as to whether bicycle helmets or cyclepaths really deliver improved safety...

 at night.
The most common cycling overuse injury occurs in the knees, affecting cyclists at all levels. These are caused by many factors:
  • Incorrect bicycle fit or adjustment, particularly the saddle.
  • Incorrect adjustment of clipless pedals.
  • Too many hills, or too many miles, too early in the training season.
  • Poor training preparation for long touring rides.
  • Selecting too high a gear. A lower gear for uphill climb protects the knees, even though your muscles are well able to handle a higher gear.


Excessive saddle height can cause posterior knee pain, while setting the saddle too low can cause pain in the anterior of the knee. An incorrectly fitted saddle may eventually lead to muscle imbalance. A 25 to 35 degree knee angle is recommended to avoid an overuse injury.

Overuse injuries, including chronic nerve damage at weight bearing locations, can occur as a result of repeatedly riding a bicycle for extended periods of time. Damage to the ulnar nerve
Ulnar nerve
In human anatomy, the ulnar nerve is a nerve which runs near the ulna bone. The ulnar collateral ligament of elbow joint is in relation with the ulnar nerve. The nerve is the largest unprotected nerve in the human body , so injury is common...

 in the palm, carpal tunnel
Carpal tunnel syndrome
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is an entrapment idiopathic median neuropathy, causing paresthesia, pain, and other symptoms in the distribution of the median nerve due to its compression at the wrist in the carpal tunnel. The pathophysiology is not completely understood but can be considered compression...

 in the wrist, the genitourinary tract or bicycle seat neuropathy may result from overuse. Recumbent bicycle
Recumbent bicycle
A recumbent bicycle is a bicycle that places the rider in a laid-back reclining position. Most recumbent riders choose this type of design for ergonomic reasons; the rider's weight is distributed comfortably over a larger area, supported by back and buttocks...

s are designed on different ergonomic
Ergonomics
Ergonomics is the study of designing equipment and devices that fit the human body, its movements, and its cognitive abilities.The International Ergonomics Association defines ergonomics as follows:...

 principles and eliminate pressure from the saddle and handlebars, due to the relaxed riding position.

Note that overuse is a relative term, and capacity varies greatly between individuals. Someone starting out in cycling must be careful to increase length and frequency of cycling sessions slowly, starting for example at an hour or two per day, or a hundred miles or kilometers per week. Muscular pain is a normal by-product of the training process, but joint pain and numbness are early signs of overuse injury.

Cycling has been linked to sexual impotence due to pressure on the perineum from the seat, but fitting a proper sized seat prevents this effect. In extreme cases, Pudendal Nerve Entrapment
Pudendal nerve entrapment
Pudendal nerve entrapment , also known as Alcock canal syndrome, is an uncommon source of chronic pain, in which the pudendal nerve is entrapped or compressed. Pain is positional and is worsened by sitting...

 can be a source of intractable perineal pain. Some cyclists with induced pudendal nerve pressure neuropathy gained relief from improvements in saddle position and riding techniques.

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health is the United States’ federal agency responsible for conducting research and making recommendations for the prevention of work-related injury and illness. NIOSH is part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention within the U.S...

 (NIOSH) has investigated the potential health effects of prolonged bicycling in police bicycle patrol units, including the possibility that some bicycle saddles exert excessive pressure on the urogenital area of cyclists, restricting blood flow to the genitals. NIOSH is investigating whether saddles developed without protruding noses (which remove the pressure from the urogenital area) will alleviate any potential health problems.

A Spanish
Spain
Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

 study of top triathletes found those who cover more than 186 miles (300 km) a week on their bikes have less than 4% normal looking sperm
Sperm
The term sperm is derived from the Greek word sperma and refers to the male reproductive cells. In the types of sexual reproduction known as anisogamy and oogamy, there is a marked difference in the size of the gametes with the smaller one being termed the "male" or sperm cell...

.

Despite rumors to the contrary, there is no scientific evidence
Scientific evidence
Scientific evidence has no universally accepted definition but generally refers to evidence which serves to either support or counter a scientific theory or hypothesis. Such evidence is generally expected to be empirical and properly documented in accordance with scientific method such as is...

 linking cycling with testicular cancer
Testicular cancer
Testicular cancer is cancer that develops in the testicles, a part of the male reproductive system.In the United States, between 7,500 and 8,000 diagnoses of testicular cancer are made each year. In the UK, approximately 2,000 men are diagnosed each year. Over his lifetime, a man's risk of...

.

Air pollution

One concern often expressed (both by non-cyclists and some cyclists) is the thought that riding in traffic exposes the cyclist to higher levels of air pollution, especially if he or she travels on or along busy roads. Some authors have claimed this to be untrue, showing that the pollutant and irritant count within cars is consistently higher, (presumably because of limited circulation of air within the car and due to the air intake being directly in the stream of other traffic). Other authors have found small or inconsistent differences in concentrations but claim that exposure of cyclists is higher due to increased minute ventilation
Ventilation (physiology)
In respiratory physiology, ventilation is the rate at which gas enters or leaves the lung. It is categorized under the following definitions:-Sample values:...

  and is associated with minor biological changes. The significance of the associated health effect, if any, is unclear but probably much smaller than the health impacts associated with accidents and the health benefits derived from additional physical activity.

See also

  • History of cycling
    History of cycling
    -Racing:The first documented cycling race was a 1,200 metre race held on May 31, 1868 at the Parc of Saint-Cloud, Paris. It was won by expatriate Englishman James Moore who rode a bicycle with solid rubber tires...

  • Bicycle
    Bicycle
    A bicycle, also known as a bike, pushbike or cycle, is a human-powered, pedal-driven, single-track vehicle, having two wheels attached to a frame, one behind the other. A person who rides a bicycle is called a cyclist, or bicyclist....



General
  • Glossary of bicycling
  • List of cyclists
  • Bike dynamics
    Bicycle and motorcycle dynamics
    Bicycle and motorcycle dynamics is the science of the motion of bicycles and motorcycles and their components, due to the forces acting on them. Dynamics is a branch of classical mechanics, which in turn is a branch of physics. Bike motions of interest include balancing, steering, braking,...

  • Bicycle performance
    Bicycle performance
    A bicycle's performance, in both biological and mechanical terms, is extraordinarily efficient. In terms of the amount of energy a person must expend to travel a given distance, investigators have calculated it to be the most efficient self-powered means of transportation...

  • Indoor cycling
    Indoor cycling
    Indoor cycling, as an organized activity, is a form of exercise with classes focusing on endurance, strength, intervals, high intensity and recovery, that involve using a special stationary exercise bicycle with a weighted flywheel in a classroom setting.- History :Group indoor cycling was...

  • Offroad cycling
  • Road cycling
    Road cycling
    Road cycling is the most widespread form of cycling. It includes recreational, racing, and utility cycling. Road cyclists are generally expected to obey the same rules and laws as other vehicle drivers or riders and may also be vehicular cyclists....



  • Cycling Culture
    • Bicycle culture
      Bicycle culture
      Bicycle culture can refer to a mainstream culture that supports the use of bicycles or to a subculture. Although "bike culture" is often used to refer to various forms of associated fashion, it is erroneous to call fashion in and of itself a culture....

    • Clothing-optional and top-free cycling events
      Clothing-optional bike rides
      A clothing-optional bike ride is a cycling event in which nudity is permitted or expected. There are many clothing-optional cycling events around the world. Some rides are political, recreational, artistic or a unique combination...

    • List of films about bicycles and cycling


    Cycling Advocacy & Safety
    • Bicycle law
      Bicycle law
      Bicycle law is a specialized field of law relating to the use of bicycles. Although bicycle law is a relatively new specialty within the law, first appearing in the late 1980s, its roots date back to the 1880s and 1890s, when cyclists were using the courts to assert a legal right to use the roads....

    • Cycling advocacy
      Cycling advocacy
      Cycling advocacy consists of activities that provide greater safety, comfort, and convenience for bicyclists by educating cyclists and motorists, improving road quality on bike routes, establishing more and better bicycle parking, providing legal protections for cyclists by including cycling...

    • Cycling safety
      Bicycle safety
      Bicycle safety is the use of practices designed to reduce risk associated with cycling. Some of this subject matter is hotly debated: for example, the discussions as to whether bicycle helmets or cyclepaths really deliver improved safety...

    • Hand signals
      Cycling hand signals
      Hand signals are given by cyclists and some motorists to indicate their intentions to other traffic. Under the terms of the Vienna Convention on Traffic, bicycles are considered to be vehicles and cyclists are considered to be drivers...

  • Segregated cycle facilities
    Segregated cycle facilities
    Segregated cycle facilities are marked lanes, tracks, shoulders and paths designated for use by cyclists from which motorised traffic is generally excluded...

  • Vehicular cycling
    Vehicular cycling
    Vehicular cycling is the practice of riding bicycles on roads in a manner that is visible, predictable, and in accordance with the principles for driving in traffic.The phrase vehicular cycling was coined by John Forester in the 1970s to characterize the...

  • Filtering forward


  • Sports-related cycling and fast-paced recreation
    • Bike trials riding
    • Bicycle racing
      Bicycle racing
      Bicycle racing is a competition sport in which various types of bicycles are used. There are several categories of bicycle racing including road bicycle racing, cyclo-cross, mountain bike racing, track cycling, BMX, bike trials, and cycle speedway. Bicycle racing is recognised as an Olympic sport...

    • Bicycle motocross
      Bicycle motocross
      Bicycle motocross or BMX refers to the sport in which the main goal is extreme racing on bicycles in motocross style on tracks with inline start and expressive obstacles, and it is also the term that refers to the bicycle itself that is designed for dirt and motocross cycling.- History :BMX started...

      (BMX
      BMX
      Bicycle motocross or BMX refers to the sport in which the main goal is extreme racing on bicycles in motocross style on tracks with inline start and expressive obstacles, and it is also the term that refers to the bicycle itself that is designed for dirt and motocross cycling.- History :BMX started...

      )
    • Bike derby
      Bike derby
      Also known as "Foot Down" a bike derby is a contest, the goal of which is to be the last person still riding their bike. Modeled somewhere between a Demolition derby and a Roller derby, a bike derby adds the element of maintaining balance on a bicycle while causing other contentants' to lose their...

    • Cross-country cycling
      Cross-country cycling
      Cross-country cycling is the most common discipline of mountain biking. While less publicized than downhill cycling as it is more difficult to televise, it garners the highest levels of participation both recreationally and competitively....

    • Cycle speedway
      Cycle speedway
      Cycle speedway is a form of bicycle racing on short oval dirt tracks, usually outdoors, occasionally indoors, typically 70-90 metres long. Like motorcycle speedway, riders use machines without brakes or multiple gears but, unlike motor speedway, the object is not to slide bikes round the...

    • Cyclo-cross
      Cyclo-cross
      Cyclo-cross is a form of bicycle racing. Races typically take place in the autumn and winter , and consists of many laps of a short course featuring pavement, wooded trails, grass, steep hills and...

    • Cyclosportive
      Cyclosportive
      A cyclosportive, or often simply sportive, is a short to long distance, organised, mass-participation cycling event, typically held annually....

  • Freeride
    Freeride
    Freeride is a discipline of mountain biking closely related to downhill cycling and dirt jumping focused on tricks, style, and technical trail features. It is now recognized as one of the most popular disciplines within mountain biking....

  • Goldsprint
    Goldsprint
    A Goldsprint is a bicycle rollers racing and social event. Riders on stationary bikes compete against each other in front of spectators.While roller racing has a history going back to the beginning of cycling, Goldsprints are fairly new and closely related to bicycle messenger culture. It began in...

  • Mountain biking
    Mountain biking
    Mountain biking is a sport which consists of riding bicycles off-road, often over rough terrain, using specially adapted mountain bikes. Mountain bikes share similarities with other bikes, but incorporate features designed to enhance durability and performance in rough terrain.Mountain biking can...

  • Road bicycle racing
    Road bicycle racing
    Road bicycle racing is a bicycle racing sport held on roads, using racing bicycles. The term "road racing" is usually applied to events where competing riders start simultaneously with the winner being the first to the line at the end of the course .Historically, the most...

  • Track cycling
    Track cycling
    Track cycling is a bicycle racing sport usually held on specially built banked tracks or velodromes using track bicycles....

  • Triathlon
    Triathlon
    A triathlon is a multi-sport event involving the completion of three continuous and sequential endurance events. While many variations of the sport exist, triathlon, in its most popular form, involves swimming, cycling, and running in immediate succession over various distances...

  • U.S. intercollegiate champions


  • Utility cycling and slow recreation
    • Artistic cycling
      Artistic cycling
      Artistic cycling is a form of competitive indoor cycling in which athletes perform tricks for points on specialized, fixed-gear bikes in a format similar to ballet or gymnastics...

    • Bicycle commuting
      Bicycle commuting
      Bicycle commuting is the use of a bicycle to travel from home to a place of work or study — in contrast to the use of a bicycle for sport, recreation or touring....

    • Bicycle touring
      Bicycle touring
      Bicycle touring is cycling over long distances – prioritizing pleasure and endurance over utility or speed. Touring can range from single day 'supported' rides — e.g., rides to benefit charities — where provisions are available to riders at stops along the route, to multi-day...

    • Bicycle messenger
      Bicycle messenger
      Bicycle messengers are people who work for courier companies carrying and delivering items by bicycle. Bicycle messengers are most often found in the central business districts of metropolitan areas...

    • Bicycle transportation engineering
      Bicycle transportation engineering
      Bicycle transportation engineering is the study of transportation engineering as it affects bicycles and cycling. It includes the design of dedicated transport facilities for cyclists, but also the study of how mixed-mode environments Bicycle transportation engineering is the study of...

    • Bicycle sharing system
    • Bicycle rental/hire
      Bike rental
      A bike rental or bike hire business is a bike shop or other business that rents bikes for short periods of time for a fee...

    • Brevet
  • Challenge riding
    Challenge riding
    Challenge riding is a form of cycling where the riders challenge themselves rather than each other. Some challenge rides are charity events or pledge rides. Some are organised as pre- or early-season training events...

  • Cycleways, list of
  • Icebiking
    Icebiking
    Cold-weather biking is the activity of cycling in winter weather with snow, ice, and slush. As in warm months, people bike in cold-weather for several reasons...

  • Rail trail
    Rail trail
    A rail trail is the conversion of a disused railway easement into a multi-use path, typically for walking, cycling and sometimes horse riding. The characteristics of former tracks—flat, long, frequently running through historical areas—are appealing for various development. The term sometimes also...

  • Utility cycling
    Utility cycling
    Utility cycling encompasses any cycling not done primarily for fitness, recreation such as cycle touring, or sport such as cycle racing, but simply as a means of transport...



  • Other
    • Aerobic exercise
      Aerobic exercise
      Aerobic exercise is physical exercise of relatively low intensity that depends primarily on the aerobic energy-generating process. Aerobic literally means "living in air", and refers to the use of oxygen to adequately meet energy demands during exercise via aerobic metabolism...

    • Divorce your Car!
    • Exercise
    • General fitness training
      General Fitness Training
      General fitness training works towards broad goals of overall health and well-being, rather than narrow goals of sport competition, larger muscles or concerns over appearance...

    • Interactive Bicycling Parameters index
  • Green transport
  • Active travel
    Active travel
    Active travel refers to an approach to travel and transport that focuses on physical activity as opposed to motorised and carbon-dependent means. Given that in the UK over 50% of car journeys are under 5 km, there exists considerable scope to replace motor car journeys with more active forms...

  • Heart rate monitor
    Heart rate monitor
    A heart rate monitor is a personal monitoring device which allows a subject to measure his or her heart rate in real time or record his or her heart rate for later study...

  • Sustainable transport
    Sustainable transport
    Sustainable transport refers to any means of transport with low impact on the environment, and includes walking and cycling, transit oriented development, green vehicles, CarSharing, and building or protecting urban transport systems that are fuel-efficient, space-saving and promote healthy...

  • Bike registry
    Bike registry
    Bike registry is available from a number of different agencies. Bicycles are routinely registered for use on school and university campuses for the purpose of campus security and as a deterrent to bike theft. Some states and municipalities require registration for bikes used within their...


  • External links

    • sheldonbrown.com Sheldon Brown
      Sheldon Brown (bicycle mechanic)
      Sheldon Brown was an American bicycle mechanic and technical authority on bicycles. He contributed to numerous print and online sources related to bicycling, bicycle mechanics and maintenance, including his own website — and received numerous awards for his contributions.-Biography:Brown...

      's web site, a source of technical information.
    The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
     
    x
    OK