What You Need to Know About Cycling

Bicycles are 200 years old and they have a fairly interesting history.

Through time, the evolution of how the bicycle looks is obvious and the comfort that they have now cannot be compared to how it was before.

The Origin Of Bicycles

The history of bicycles will be given below so you will have a better idea and a clearer imagination of how they have managed to evolve.

In the year 1817, it was first invented by Barn Karl von Drais who resided in Germany.

The one he made only had two wheels and it was mostly operated by walking because it made a gliding motion instead of the rider having to pedal it. When the year 1860 came, the bicycle’s name was changed to Velocipede or the bone shaker because it had a total of two wheels which had pedals and metal cranks at the front. The bone shaker was coined because the frame was made of wood and they used metal to make the tires.

After 10 years, this was the time when people started to call it a bicycle because of the two wheels. The wheel at the front let the rider go farther by making the pedal rotate only once. They started to use metal for the frame and the tires were already made of rubber which made the bicycle more comfortable to ride compared to the bone shaker.

Year 1885 came when they started making the Rover Safety bicycle which was first made by John Kemp Starely who was an English inventor. The bicycle already had a chain, the wheels were of the same size, and the frame isn’t far from what today’s bicycles have.

After 3 years, John Boyd Dunlop who was an Irish, equipped the bicycle with air-filled tires which he developed. This one gave a better riding experience than the hard tiles that the bicycle previously had.

During the 1920s, this was the time when they started making bicycles for kids and the year 1940 was when kickstands were included. After 20 years, people fell in love with bicycles even more that they developed ones meant for racing. They made better handle bars, narrower tires, various speeds, and frames became lighter.

It was in the year 1980 when mountain biking and other extreme sports which involved bicycles became well-known. They made frames that were more stable and sturdy, provided bigger wheels for the bike, and the handle bars were more flat compared to before.

People started to include the sport of mountain biking during the year 1996. Up to this day, people are still getting involved in mountain biking which gives them a better sense of satisfaction, determination, and relaxation.

Now that you know about the history of bicycles, it is time to discover the different types of bicycles.

Types Of Bicycles

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Road Bikes

  • These bikes are meant for traveling in high speeds even on surfaces that are not flat and the tires placed on road bikes are narrower compared to others, the frame is light in weight, and the wheelbase is to a minimum length.
  • They cannot be ridden on paths that are unpaved and rugged tracks and surfaces. You need to make sure that the road bike is in its proper fit otherwise you will experience a lot of discomfort while riding.
  • They can be equipped with cargo racks, lights, and sometimes fenders are placed for your daily commute or riding around the city. Road bikes have two types of handle bars: drop-bar and flat bar.
  • The drop-bar handle bars give more room for hand positioning so that long riding won’t become too tiring and your upper body can easily change its state. You can also go to an aerodynamic position which is good for wind resistance.
  • If you will be using the bike for short riding and commuting, you can opt for the flat bar. Recreational riders also go for flat bar handles.

Bikes For Touring

What You Need To Know About Bicycle
  • Bikes of this sort are for long rides especially if you are carrying riding gear with you. This one is more sturdy, gives a swifter ride, and it has a lower number of gears compared to road bikes.
  • Since you have low gears, you will be able to pedal even if you have a heavy load on your back. Drop-bar handle bars are built with this type of bike so your riding position is upright and they have mounts for racks and allowing attachment for fenders.

Hybrid Bikes

  • The name pretty much explains what this bike is all about. It is composed of the features found in mountain and road bikes. The wheels loaded on hybrid bikes are not as sturdy as what mountain bikes have.
  • They are also not as narrow as what road bikes have. The wheels it has can be ridden on trails and paved surfaces because they are very versatile. This one has more gears and the handle bars are upright.

Mountain Bikes

  • They have components that have more strength because they are meant for rough riding absorption since they are used on off-roads. These bikes have a high level of performance when it comes to braking power, suspension, and their tires are fat.
  • The seats are noticeably more comfortable compared to others. The handle bars provided for this bike are the straight ones allowing you better control for steering. Even if they are meant to be used for off-road, you can still take them to urban areas because of their good shock absorbers.

There are two types of mountain bikes-hard tail and full suspension. The hardtail mountain bikes have a front suspension fork with a frame that’s rigid and no shocks place at the rear. The full suspension mountain bikes have shocks at the front and rear ends which is why people often use this type of mountain bike for back country, trail, and adventure riding.

BMX Bikes

  • They are primarily made for competing on trails and courses with a single gear. They have knobby tires, calipers that are cable operated, and brakes at the front and rear end.
  • Even if they are excellent for riding on the streets, racing on dirt, and jumping on ramps, the low seat that this bike has is not very comfortable for long distances.

Comfort Bikes

  • When talking about comfort bikes, these are the ones you would love to ride around neighborhoods that don’t have too many bumps. The seats are very easy to use which gives you a very relaxed and upright position.
  • The tires on this one are larger letting the rider run on gravel and dirty roads. There are also some that have front suspension fork and wheels that are bigger.

Tandem Bikes

  • Two people can ride this bike and the one who sits in front is the one controlling it. They are in charge of the steering, braking, and shifting gears. The one riding at the back can control the brakes but only limited.
  • Their pedals are connected so both the front and back pedals move as one. There are four categories in tandem bicycles – road, hybrid, mountain, and recumbent. They have the same features depending on which type, but the only thing is they are meant for two riders.

Trikes and Recumbent

  • The recumbent bike that lets you sit upright and help with people who experience neck, back, and hand complications. You will easily ride downhill fast, but it’s hard to climb hills on this one because of the rider’s sitting position.

What Are The Different Uses Of Bicycles?

Via cargocycling.org

  • You can ride a bicycle going to work – There are a lot of people who do this already and cities have created bike lanes for people who prefer it as a means of transportation.
  • It can be for recreational activities – Riding bicycles is not just for the purpose of getting you across the city. You can also use them for riding on mountains, trails, and ramps.
  • Shopping – If parking can be a problem at the mall or grocery, ride your bicycle if you are not planning to buy a lot that you would need a bigger means of transportation.
  • Students use them to go to school – Not only will you get to school on time, you are getting a dose of exercise as well before things get busy.
  • The post man loves bikes – If you observe the people who deliver your mail, they are on bikes. They just have a basket placed on the handle bar where they put all the mail they have to deliver.
  • Exercise – This is quite self-explanatory, but whenever you are on a bicycle for whatever purpose, you are working your body and most especially your legs. You will have better endurance in the future and your body will become more fit. It also provides a low-impact for the knees and joints. This is why even the elderly love riding bikes.
  • To minimize air pollution – Bikes don’t produce fumes and they don’t need gasoline. Since this is the case, they are easier to maintain compared to a car.

How Can You Benefit From Bicycles?

Via 3.bp.blogspot.com

  • Bicycles are cheaper than cars and you won’t have to go through a lot of trouble maintaining them. You can easily buy one with only a fraction of a price of a car. They also last longer than cars and it only costs a few hundred dollars more to put accessories and light to have one that you can use under any weather condition.
  • Compared to running, it has a lower impact on your ankles, legs, and knees – You can use this even if you just came from a knee injury and still recovering. Cycling is able to make you move and increase your heart rate without putting excessive pressure on your joints. Running can later on affect your body, but with cycling, engages all muscles with minimal impact on the knees. It’s also a cardiovascular exercise all at the same time.
  • Increases stamina – Since you are enjoying cycling too much, you won’t notice that after a while you are able to ride on longer distances without getting too tired.
  • Stress reliever – Any exercise is able to lower stress, depression, and your overall well-being improves. When you are cycling outdoors, it gives you a sense of being attuned with nature and you are able to breathe fresh air. While being outdoors, you are able to take your mind off things and forget problems for a while; much better than drinking alcohol.
  • Escape traffic – Since big cities have a lot of traffic and often get congested during rush hours, you can easily ride your bike on the bike lanes provided and be ahead of everyone else who are stuck in their cars waiting for the traffic to move.
  • You can help with charity – You can join charity events that hold bike races. There are a lot of charities that do this and check what’s available near you. A lot of races let you choose the distance that you can cover so you won’t be overwhelmed right away.
  • Space savvy – Bikes can be parked almost anywhere and this is useful especially in parking lots that are already full and you need to get things done right away. You technically don’t need a parking space for your bike as long as you leave it in a safe area where it won’t get stolen.
  • No air pollution – Since bicycles don’t need gas to operate, it does not burn it which produces fumes that cause air pollution into the air. You will not end up breathing in pollution that usually comes from cars while you are riding the bike in the mountains or on the trail.

Bike Riding As a Sport

When pertaining to bike riding as a sport, it’s no longer the typical every day commute that you do while riding one. This will now involve wearing the proper gear, training for a race, how to conquer ramps, jumps, tracks, and trails.

First let’s discuss the proper gear when riding bikes for sports:

Bicycle Accessories

Via previews.123rf.com

Helmet

  • You are going to need one to protect your head in case you fall or get hit. Of course you are not hoping for any of this to happen, but it’s better to be safe and protected than sorry. Made of polycarbonate outer shell and a foam lining inside.

Shorts with Padding

  • Cycling shorts that have padding to protect your crotch (if you’re a boy) and butt is needed. You will be sitting on your bike for a long time especially during a race, you need to keep yourself comfortable.
  • If you don’t have proper padding, you feel sore afterwards. They are made of nylon and spandex that contain properties that don’t let bacteria and moisture to keep you smelling fresh.

A Cycling Jacket or Jersey

  • Whichever you prefer and it could also depend on the weather. You can’t just wear a shirt that’s made of cotton. The jersey or cycling jacket is made of polyester making it soft, breathable, and light in weight to keep you dry the whole time.

Shoes for Cycling

  • You will need this for pedaling during long travels because it is made of breathable synthetic upper material and won’t be too tight on your feet. This is important for comfort and the midsole have proper cushioning. This type of shoe has properties that keep odor causing bacteria away.

Water Bottle

  • This is to keep yourself hydrated during the race or ride.

Also check out this post for cycling gloves.

Bike Contests and Races

Via freshairjunkie.com

Time Trial Contest

  • A person or a team rides in intervals should finish a certain distance within a given time frame. This one is usually done on public roads.

Road Racing

  • This varies in distances between a few kilometers up to 200 km. They can use courses in different places or complete laps within a circuit. Sometimes races have a combination of both. There is also such a thing as handicap races which are meant for all riders in different levels and age groups.

Downhill Racing

  • This one has a more technical riding ability because it involves jumps and turning in tight corners. The rider that finishes first will win.

Cross-country Racing

  • This is joined by a lot of people and they are sometimes categorized according to age groups and they are asked to start in different times. The racing course is composed of climbs, trails, rocky areas, and some technical trails.

Track Elimination Race

  • After each lap, the rider who is at the last gets eliminated and the number of laps would depend on how many people joined the race. The deciding point would be down to the last few racers who will compete for the finish line.

Track Sprint Race

  • Unlike other races, you should join in pairs. You will both begin racing at the same time and the first one to make it to the finish line after 3 attempts within a given distance wins.
  • This can be compared to a cat and mouse during the start because they need to see who will sprint first. This doesn’t mean that the first one to sprint always wins. Sometimes they are the first ones to get tired and the other one ends up winning.

What Are Other Purposes Of Bicycles?

  • Bicycles used for exhibitions – This is not a matter of racing with another rider or making it to the finish line first. During bike exhibitions, a rider shows different tricks he or she can do using a bicycle. There are jumps and agility involved. The winner is determined by how well they execute each move.
  • Used in art – Since the bicycle has a slope at the top of the tube that emanates gracefulness, it is considered to be a work of art especially with the chain and machinery with the way it was made. Artists and enthusiasts use the different parts of the bike to turn them into different creations.

    Via pinimg.com

  • Pedicabs – They are like open-air taxis that you can hire to take you from one place to another. These are cheaper compared to hiring a taxi and you get to enjoy the air. Side cars are attached to the bike so you can get on it.
  • Bikes used for food carts – The innovation of mobile coffee and food stands have become very popular. They can even deliver your order to you.
  • Bike for delivering newspapers – Every morning, the newspaper boy places them in the basket attached to the handle bars and distributes the newspapers to each home. They can easily do it by just taking one and throwing to the front door of the house or the lawn.
  • Clown bicycles – They are designed for bringing comedic visual effect to the audience and also making stunts. They are usually used by circus clowns.
  • The unicycles – These are used by jugglers in Solo circuses to entertain and amaze audiences. The final part of the show will have a 5 or 6 feet high unicycle and the rider juggles knives, clubs or fire. They can also juggle a combination of rubber chickens, axe, knives, and a fire torch while riding on a tall unicycle.
  • Stilt bicycles – This is an adapted bicycle with a ridiculous height. It is more than 6 feet tall and usually bright red in color. It is a 15-speed bicycle that’s been converted and the handle bar stems were extended to as high as 6 feet. Riders get on the bike while being on a pair of stilts. This easily attracts people and catches their attention because the rider also juggles and performs magic while on it.
  • Bikes for pets - There are bicycles with an extended frame wherein a large or small basket is placed on it so that puppies and dogs can sit in it. Some people attach a trailer to the back wheel where they can put their pets. This is mostly used for dogs that have been injured and are suffering from the difficulty of walking.

How Do They Make Bicycles?

Via chilibyhimself.files.wordpress.com

The Materials

The diamond-shaped frame is very important because it is the connecting link between all of the components of the bike and they are geometrically designed to give ease and riding comfort.

The frame of the bike includes the triangles found at the front and rear in which the front part has four tubes that form a quadrilateral shape.

The triangle at the rear is made combining a rear wheel dropout, chainstays, and seatstays. There is a front and steering tube attached to the head tube found at the front.

Through the years, the frame material was improved making it stronger and more durable.

The Process of Making The Bicycle

There are several stages into this process wherein seamless tubes are derived from blocks of solid material. This makes it more advanced compared to steamed tubes which they make by drawing flat steel strip stock, engulfing it into a tube and then welding it with the whole length of the tube.

The seamless tubes are made stronger by making the walls and joints thicker at the center. In order to give more durability to the frame, they place butted tubes which have different levels of thickness which are also built for some types of bikes.

They incorporate the tube into the frame by welding them together. Other components of the bike are made using machines and can easily be attached to the frame before they adjust everything.

How They Assemble The Frame of The Bike

The process starts by softening the metal through heating and then hollowed out. They re-heat the frame, dipped in acid for some time to get rid of any scales before lubricating it. After this, they measure the hollows and cut them precisely into different parts.

If the bike is being made for adult use, its frame size is between 19 to 25 inches or 48 to 63 cm. They measure this from the top of the seat post tube down to the middle part of the crank hanger. After this, the hollows are measured over a rod which is attached to a draw bench.

And then the cold drawing process is done by passing the hollows through dies that stretches them out so they become thinner and longer tubes.

They will now shape the tubes into different lengths and designs. It might take a few times to achieve the proper strength, resilience, and weight.

Attaching The Tubes Together by Welding, Gluing, or Brazing

Two tubes will be attached by the joints by using a machine or human hands. Brazing is a term used when they are welding the tubes at a temperature of not higher than 871 degrees Celsius. Where lugs are heated, there gas burners evenly arranged around it.

This will later on start to form a white flux which will melt making the surface clean so it will be prepared for brazing. When brazing filler is done, it is generally composed of brass or silver and melts at a lower temperature. While melting, the filler is applied to seal it.

Aligning and Cleaning Them

About 6 frames that have been assembled will now be checked if they have been aligned correctly. They will make some shifts and adjustments while the frame of the bike is still hot and cane be molded easily.

There are excess flux and brazing material that they need to clean so they put the frame in an acid solution and then washing everything until it becomes smooth. When the metals are already cool, they make some more adjustments.

Finishing The Bike

They will start painting the frames to make it more attractive and give better protection. They will first paint it with an undercoating and then enamel. The painting of the frame can either be done by hand or in powered spraying rooms.

The last part is to apply lacquer and transfers onto the frame. Sometimes they use chrome instead of paint on other component.

The Impact Of Bicycles In People’s Lives

Via cycles4change.files.wordpress.com

Those who got into biking have seen enormous improvements in their lives.

  • People sleep better after riding a bike because it also gives them a good dose of exercise for the day. This is especially good for people who have insomnia because they have a lot of trouble sleeping.
  • Aside from improved sleep, your metabolism also becomes better. The benefits of cycling also affects your core because it shortens the time it takes for food to travel through the large intestines which minimizes the amount of water that gets absorbed back by the body making your stool softer.
  • At the same time it increases your heart rate and breathing which keeps you from feeling bloated.

  • Since cycling is an aerobic activity, it is very healthy for the brain because it is able to keep a substantial flow of blood to the brain. This is why physical activity keeps people’s minds sharp and alert as they age.
  • It is also able to provide more relaxation and better well-being because it helps with depression, stress, and battles against anxiety.
  • The level of cortisol in a person’s body increases after exercise keeping stress levels down. When a person is spending time outdoors on their bikes, they have a lot of fun and their mood improves.
  • When you ride the bike, your mental ability improves because it helps in replenishing brain cells in the hippocampus which is responsible for a person’s memory. The flow of oxygen to the brain becomes more regulated which later on helps in preventing Alzheimer’s disease.

Since there is a lot of air pollution, when you are on a bike, you can practically avoid it. The ones who are riding buses, cars, and taxis get more exposed to the pollution compared to bikers. This is because cyclists are usually on the edge of the road so they are not directly exposed to the fumes.

And if you are into any sport, cycling helps improve your performance because it is an aerobic exercise altogether that boosts performance and endurance.

Why You Should Own A Bicycle

  • Even if you are used to riding a car, you should train yourself to use a bike so you can easily get to places without having to think about the parking, traffic, and running out of gas.
  • You also don’t need a big space if you own a bicycle because you can actually store it almost anywhere. If you are someone who is still recovering from an injury but want to continue exercising, riding a bike is the best way to go.
  • Not only will you be able to maintain your weight, your mind will become clearer as well while recovering. It also helps in keeping the amount of pollution down in the neighborhood that you are living in and you can win more friends who are also into biking.
  • Another thing is that you are able to enjoy nature, sceneries, fresh air, and the beauty of being outside. While you are riding on a bike, you are able to relax your mind, clear your thoughts, and just focus on what you are doing.

The good effects of cycling come in all aspects which is why you should really get started.

Proper Maintenance For Bikes

(This Method Can Be Applied To Any Type Of Bike)

Via funcheap.com

Of course you need to keep your bike clean so you will need a bucket that has soapy water in it, a clean sponge, and a toothbrush (an old one is okay).

Now to properly clean your bike, you first make sure that the tires of your bike are properly inflated because they will have a higher chance of getting punctured if not inflated properly. You need to get yourself a standing track pump that comes with a pressure gauge. Always take note of the number of PSI written at the side of the tires.

After checking on the tires, the brake pads need to be attended to as well. If you cannot see the grooves anymore, then it is time to change them. You will only need Allen keys to replace them and you’re good to go.

If your brakes are already producing a sound, it means that they are already filthy, especially the rims. You need to make sure that both are clean and dry almost all of the time, but in case this doesn’t get rid of the screeching, they might need to be adjusted.

In case that the brakes have become saggy, they need to be tightened. If the brake lever moves towards the handle bars, they need tightening. All you have to do is swivel the barrel adjuster that can be found beside the brake lever. In case this doesn’t work, take your Allen keys and free tweak the brake nut to free the cable. Pull it and close it again.

Lubricate

You need to buy a lubricant and apply it on parts of the bike that metal is in constant contact with metal. Just make sure that the chain is clean before applying lubricant.

This is important because brakes and chains will not work properly if they are dry. There is also a tendency that they will produce a sound that could bother you while riding.

Via ooyala.com

Take it to a bike shop for the tires

If the tires tend to wobble if you spin them while the bike is upside down, they need to be taken to the store to have it fixed. You cannot do this on your own because a specific type of equipment is required for this. The term for this is called “truing” and once you tell the person at the bike store that your bike needs this, they will know exactly what to do. A wobbly tire is not good to use and it can cause instability to your bike.

Keep the seat comfortable

Adjust the seat until you reach a comfortable sitting position. In case you feel some pain on your knees while pedaling, the seat needs to be adjusted. While you are pedaling, you are supposed to have your legs straight when going downwards.

Never forget to wipe the bike dry before using it again because dirt will only stick to it if all parts are still wet. Some people like to use a microfiber cloth to wipe the whole bike and then they use a clean rag to polish the bike with a car wash or polisher.

You don’t need to buy a special kind of wax or polishing, the one you use for your car will do. You should also buy a work-stand to make the cleaning easier for you and checking on the parts of the bike will also be simpler.

Common Questions About Bicycles

How long will it take for me to put everything together?

Which places let bicyclists to use stop signs as yield signs?

Do people on bicycles always have to stay in the shoulder lane?

What do they require for bicycle riders at night?

SIZE CHART FOR KIDS

Via wheelworx.ie

SIZE CHART FOR ADULTS

Via masoncycles.cc

Last Thoughts Before You Start Cycling

Thankfully, the person who invented the bicycle left it to have a lot of room for improvement and that’s why the invention still exists today. Over the years, people have managed to keep on improving and equipping the bike with features so they can be used for different purposes and riding styles.

No matter what level of fitness you are in, there is always a starting point for everything. You can buy a bike that is the simplest to use without the complicated components that will confuse any beginner. You should not worry because most bikes come pre-assembled and you only have to do about 10% of putting the bike together before you can use it.

As you can see, bikes are no longer limited to just every day riding. Creative minds and innovators have used the bike for different purposes as well regardless if it’s for something important or pure entertainment.

Those who ride bikes as a sport are able to experience a certain level of satisfaction, determination, and focus so if you think you are ready, it is a good sport to indulge yourself in. You will become more physically fit and it helps in making your life longer because of its numerous health benefits.

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About the author

Lisa

Hey there, I'm Lisa, founder and editor in chief here at Recreation Space. We found fitness through recreational activities. And we want to share it with you. We believe in empowering people with knowledge to make smarter, healthier choices in their lives.

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