A Brief Education in Cycling

On the list of the most high-profile sports in the world, cycling does not necessarily fall within the top ten. In fact, most of us know very little about the sport in general. Though bicycles are among the most familiar objects known to man, we are much more likely to associate them with training wheels and leisurely bike rides, not competitive, heart-pumping athletic activity. While the Tour de France and the Olympics bring some attention to the sport, it remains largely unknown. Cycling seems to simply fly under the radar.

And while cycling isn’t necessarily the most popular or well-known sport in the world, it is not insignificant. The reality is that cycling is really quite exciting to follow and is extremely beneficial to practice.

The bicycle – the tool used for the sport of cycling – is primarily a means of transportation. Largely used for getting from one place to another and for recreation, it is also used in sport and athletics.

Cycling races date back to the 19th century. From the 1890s up through the mid 1900s, cycling was an extremely popular sport around the world. This time period is referred to as the “Golden Age of Cycling.” Over the years, the sport’s popularity diminished. The Tour de France, which began in 1903, remains a premier world athletic event, giving some clout to the sport. The Olympic Games also feature cycling. That said, the sport remains quite ignored.

Racing and competition in cycling can take place in various formats. Road races, indoor competitions and mountain bike races are all aspects of this multi-faceted activity. Cyclers compete as both teams and individuals, and competitions can last minutes, hours and even days.

Nowadays, cycling is moving beyond the world of professional racers and becoming popular among a wide array of amateur athletes and sports enthusiasts. It is an excellent way to spice up a cardio work-out.

Research has linked cycling, like most physical activity, to an overall increase in physical and mental health. The time, effort and money put into starting out in the world of cycling will be returned to the individual manifold.

Like running, cycling is a great way to improve cardiovascular fitness. It benefits the legs, buttocks and abdomen among other parts of the body while getting heart rates up to burn calories and to lose fat. Easier on the joints than impact sports, cycling is a great cardio alternative for those with arthritis or past sports injuries. Because it is generally practiced sitting down, it is an activity within reach of all.

Those looking to try out cycling have both indoor and outdoor options. Indoor spin classes are popping up in gyms all over and seem to be all the rage. For those who prefer to be outside, the cycling options are endless. All that’s necessary is a bike.

Cycling is truly a fantastic sport to both watch and practice. If you haven’t gotten in on the action yet, check out your television sports channels and head to your local sporting goods stores.