A Beginner’s Guide to Different Types of Bikes

The mountain bike is a popular, versatile bike that can be ridden off-road and on road. Check it out, along with these other types of bikes:

Road Bikes / Cycles

These are the types of bicycles you will see being used in popular road races. If you want to get serious about cycling, this is probably the bike for you. Their streamlined and lightweight design make them more aerodynamic than other classes of bicycles. Handlebars swing downwards, so that the rider can assume a crouched aerodynamic position when riding. The main limitation on road bikes is that they are not too well suited to off-road terrain, due to their thin tyres and lightweight frame.

Mountain Bikes

Mountain bikes are a great all round versatile bicycle. Their frames are normally much thicker and sturdier than those of road bikes. As the name suggests, they are well suited to “mountain” type off-road trails, with multiple gears helping the rider negotiate varying gradients. Tyres are also quite thick with gripping tread. A rider assumes a more upright position when riding, compared to a road bike, with flat handlebars and suspension (on better bikes) also assisting with changes in terrain. While mountain bikes aren’t as sleek as road bikes, they are still a decent ride on road as well.

BMXs

Many kids would have grown up idolising professional BMX riders with their daredevil tricks and fearless movement racing around challenging dirt tracks. These are the BMX’s two main uses. With a smaller, strong frame, BMXs have no gears, with pure peddling power strength required to move the bike along. Short for Bicycle Motocross, these bikes were purpose designed for bumpy, dirt track racing. The sport’s popularity is evidenced by its inclusion in the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Some BMX riders seek to perfect difficult stunts and tricks, more akin to performance than actual bike riding. Some freestyle BMX stunts can be seen in events featured in extreme sports competitions.

Foldable Bikes

From the sporting to the practical, foldable bikes are a convenient option, allowing the rider to fold up their bike into a compact size. Some may be able to packed away into a bike bag. Folding into a smaller size allows these bikes to be carried on public transport, and then unpacked for the next (riding) leg of the journey! Being foldable also makes these bikes easier to store, whether at home, office or on buses or planes. The more complex designs and parts of these bikes means they are usually a pricier option.

Motorised and Electric Bicycles

These bicycles provide assistance to the bike rider. Electric bicycles have become increasingly popular in recent years, particularly in China, where there are estimated to be around 120 million. Electric bikes are powered by an electric motor, which itself, is powered by a rechargeable battery. Different variations can either provide power on demand by handlebar initialisation (when natural cycling gets too tough!), or automatic, with electric assistance being given as a sensor on the bike judges the rider’s cycling speed. Motorised bicycles use an internal combustion engine for power.

Riding BMX bikes can be great fun in off-road settings.

Cycling Glasses for Increased Safety While Riding Down the Hill

It is a treat to go out in a sunny day when the sun makes the day look so perfect. However, it is also a truth that bright sun can inflict havoc to your eyes and can cause disruption in your vision during your bike rides. Especially when you are riding in the mountains, possibility of hindrance in vision due to the sun rays increases manifold. Mountain bike helmets may not offer complete protection to eyes from bright sun rays.

A very bright sun can cause glares on the road, on any vehicle passing by, and even on your own bike. The glares can force you to squint and sometimes even close your eyes. This can be risky especially when you are riding in a crowded place or taking a tricky turn. Exposure to too much of sun can also cause permanent damage to your vision and can distract you from what’s happening in your surroundings. Due to all these reasons, a pair of high quality cycling glasses are a must have protection accessory while riding mountain bikes.

Cycling glasses are not only helpful while riding in the sun but they are also very helpful to protect your eyes in a windy day. If you are not wearing your mountain biking helmet in a windy day, there are chances of dirt and dust entering your eyes and giving you a tough time controlling your bike. Also, cycling glasses act as a shield to protect your eyes from debris, insects, or other unwanted particles floating in the air. Of course you will not want all these unwanted particles to affect your vision while you are riding downhill.

Clearly, cycling glasses can prove to be a vital addition to your list of protection gears along with mountain bike helmets and pads. They ensure a comfortable and safer ride. A large variety of cycling glasses are available in the market these days. So, you can easily find one that is perfect for you. The kind of glasses you should select depends largely upon the vision requirements you have and of course your budget. In addition, you also need to check the compatibility of your mountain biking helmet with the glasses. If you use a full face mountain bike helmet, then it is wise to try both the items together before buying the cycling glasses. Also, make sure that the glasses fit your face well and do not slip when you are riding at high speed. After all, you will not want your favorite pair of glasses to fall down and get crushed in the hills.

Cycling Shirts – 4 Great Reasons to Wear One Out on the Road

Most cyclists do not bother wearing performance cycling shirts, preferring to opt for an ordinary t-shirt or a hoodie. There are four great reasons to switch to wearing a cycling jersey instead. They can help keep you dry during high exertion, but they could even help save your life one day.

Safety

On the roads, as a cyclist or biker, you are at a distinct disadvantage. First of all, the two-wheeled construction of your vehicle makes you look narrower, especially head on, and it is all too common for drivers of other vehicles to pull out of side streets without having noticed an oncoming bike. This leads to the other important disadvantage. In a collision, it is almost always the cyclist or biker that comes out of the encounter worst. Head, neck and spinal injuries are some of the usual outcomes for riders involved in traffic accidents with cars or trucks.

Whereas riders of motorcycles usually protect themselves with helmets and padded leathers, the people who ride bicycles are often not well protected at all. More and more cyclists are wearing helmets, but this is a more recent development, and heavy leathers would not be practical.

The best method of defense for cyclists is to be clearly seen by other road users; to wear high-visibility clothing and this is where cycling shirts come in. Most cyclists would not dream of riding around town in a cycling shirt because many of them are very highly colored, or Day-Glo, or just plain garish! But these are precisely the reasons why you should wear them; so that you cannot be ignored by a truck driver waiting to pull out at a junction. So find the most colorful and easily seen jersey you can buy, and be safe.

Cycling Shirt Design

Cycling jerseys are designed differently to normal t-shirts. This doesn’t matter so much if you are on a mountain bike and sit up straight on the saddle. If you ride a racing bike though, you will be leaning over towards the handlebars. Ordinary t-shirts tend to ride up the back of the rider on a racing bike. Cycle shirts are made with the back longer than the front, so that even when leaning to ride fast, it will not slide up and expose your lower back. This is fairly uncomfortable for the rider and perhaps unpleasant for anyone behind.

The other great thing about cycling shirts is the extra long zipper at the front, especially if you are cycling in a race, or just riding in very hot weather. With a normal t-shirt, your options are limited, but with a proper jersey you can adjust the zipper to cool yourself down.

Hi-Tech Fabrics

Perhaps the best part about wearing a quality cycling jersey is that most are made from hi-tech fabrics which wick moisture away from your body on challenging rides, and so you are left comfortable and dry, rather than soggy and wishing you had brought another couple of tops with you.

Pockets on the Rear

Cycling shirts generally have pockets on the rear. This is an advantage for a couple of reasons. Firstly, it is less likely that things will fall out of them – some shirts even have zipped pockets. Secondly, and an important point if you are racing, heavy items in your pockets do not stretch down and interfere with your riding.

So to summarise my four great reasons for road riding with a proper cycling shirt: bright colors mean you’ll be seen and be safe; more length in the back of the shirt is more comfortable and protects you from getting a chill; moisture wicking hi-tech fabrics keep you dry and help you control body temperature; and rear pockets stop items bouncing off your knees, and breaking your rhythm, when riding.