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Riding bicycles, unicycles, tricycles and other human powered vehicles.

Cycling is a recreation, a sport, and a means of transport across land. It involves riding bicycles, unicycles, tricycles and other human powered vehicles (HPVs). The most common and popular form of cycling involves riding bicycles. Cycling can be a very fun and family oriented activity.

As a sport, cycling is governed internationally by the Union Cycliste Internationale in Switzerland (for upright bicycles) and by the International Human Powered Vehicle Association (for other HPVs). Cycling for transport and touring is promoted on a European level by the European Cyclists' Federation, and regular conferences are held under the auspices of Velo City, whereas global conferences are coordinated by .

Getting started

The two most popular types of bicycles are mountain bicycles and road bicycles. Both range in price from $50-1000 in US dollars or more depending mostly on weight and quality. In the case of road bicycles, the lightest bikes weigh around 7 kg (15 lb) and are the most expensive. For most, a good starting road bike would be in the range of 9-10 kg (20-22 lb). Most likely the bicycyle will have been manufactured in East Asia, although its actual brand name may be European or American. Basic serviceable second-hand bicycles can also be bought locally from classified advertisements.

Being sized for a bike and taking it for a test ride are both recommended before making a purchase. Most road bikes include clipless pedals in which special shoes attach to special pedals, which allows for the transfer of power to the bike throughout the entire pedaling motion.

The drivetrain components of the bike should also be considered. A middle grade derailleur is most likely sufficient for a beginner. Also, unless a lot of serious climbing will be done, a double-crank (two chain rings) front gear system will suffice in place of a triple-crank (three chain rings) system.

When buying a bicycle, set aside some money for accessories. Accessories that some consider helpful include a lock, mudguards/fenders, lights, luggage racks and pannier bags, pump, cycling shorts (with padding), clips to hold wide trousers/slacks/jeans, cycling shoes, spare inner tubes, CO2 cartridges as a possible replacement for a tire pump, water bottle and water bottle cage, a puncture repair kit and tire levers. A bicycle helmet is obligatory in some jurisdictions, especially for children and highly recommended.

Winter cycling also requires lights, cycling gloves, a waterproof jacket and/or overtrousers and possibly waterproof overshoes.

Items that can be purchased later or omitted include full-sized tire pump, multi-tool, bicycle computer, studded tires and degreaser.

Cycling is a reasonably low maintenance transport form/hobby/sport and the beginner can learn much from online forums and bike shop personnel. Many bike shops even hold complimentary maintenance classes. Inspection and maintenance of brakes is important.

Organized rides and races
Many cycling clubs hold organized rides and varying races that bicyclists of all types compete in. The typical organized race/ride starts with a large group of 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.

Most organized rides include registration requirements and will provide information either through the mail or online concerning start times and other requirements. Rides usually consist of 25, 50 and 100 mile routes, each with a certain number of rest stops that usually include refreshments, first aid and maintenance tools. One of the most noted cycling races is the Tour De France.

Bicycling and health

Bicycles are commonly used by people seeking to improve their fitness and cardiovascular health. It has been estimated that the life-years gained by regular bicycle users outweigh any associated risks of death through injury by a factor of 20:1 . In this regard, bicycles are especially helpful for those with arthritis of the lower limbs and who are unable to pursue sports such as running that involve more pounding and resultant trauma to joints.

Cyclists do however place themselves at risk for both acute and chronic injuries. In addition to head and extremity injuries from falls and collisions, cyclists may incur nerve damage at points of weight bearing. Heavy and/or prolonged bicycling over very long distances may eventually result in possible nerve damage to some areas of the body.

Source: Wikipedia

Flags: Very Short (0-60 mins), Short (1-3 hours), Medium (3-6 hours), Long (6-24 hours), Solo, With a Friend, With a Group, Children, Teens, Adults, Seniors, Outdoors, Morning, Day, Night, Sunny, Rainy
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