I have always been a commuter cyclist and never really gotten into cycling as a sport. However recently i've been curious as to what different sports there are and thought i'd write a simple list in case anyone else might be interested in taking their commuter cycling to the next level.
- Mountain biking
- Track cycling
- Road cycling
Mountain biking is a sport of riding off-road, usually on rough terrain such as down mountains. The bikes used in mountain biking are specialised as they need to endure rough treatment, they may have air or coil-sprung shocks used as suspension, larger and wider wheels and tyres, stronger frame materials and hydraulic disc brakes. Throughout the 1990s and first decade of the 21st century, mountain biking moved from a little-known sport to a mainstream activity. Due to this activity being outdoors and with its spirit of adventure, it has been really popular during covid19 as people want to reconnect with nature and do exercise at the same time.
Read more: The essentials of mountain biking
Track cycling has been around since at least 1870. Track races generally fall into two categories - sprint races and endurance races. Riders will typically fall into one category and not compete in the other. Track cycling has been an olympic sport since the beginning of the olympics. The track may be indoor or outdoor depending on the location's climate.
Women's track cycling was only introduced as an Olympic sport in 1988, and women were not permitted to compete in the same number of events as men until 2012, the sexism in track cycling is slowly but surely being phased out.
Road cycling which is cycling on the road, opens up the possibility of covering greater distances and has more of an emphasis on fitness. Whilst you don't have to have special equipment , road bikes usually include features like skinny tyres and drop handlebars, aiming to be as light as possible. Races such as the Tour de France are examples of road cycling races. Road cycling can be done solo or as a group, there are many cycling clubs you can join to find a local group to you, Read our previous blog post on How to join a group bike ride.
Cyclists riding in a group recreationally or in a race is called a peloton. It helps to keep pace and to increase safety.
Read more: Road cycling for beginners at Cyclist.co.uk
BMX is an acronym for Bicycle Motocross. A BMX bike is made for off-road racing and trick riding. BMX originated in California in the 1970s. Inspired by motocross riders of the time, people started to race their bikes on dirt tracks. By the 1980s bmx was at the height of its popularity, it was included in the 2008 summer Olympic Games in Beijing.
Ultra-Endurance cycling events are typically defined as a race that is over 100-miles. These events can take place on a variety of surfaces and with any sort of bike, but their duration brings into focus the importance of your nutrition, hydration and pacing strategies.
Cyclo-cross is a form of bicycle racing. Races typically take place in the autumn and winter, and consist of many laps of a short course featuring pavement, wooded trails, grass, steep hills and obstacles requiring the rider to quickly dismount, carry the bike while navigating the obstructions, getting on and off the bike. One of the major hallmarks of cyclo-cross is the inclusion of race obstacles, both natural and man made, added to mix up the race.
If you have any other cycling sports that you think should be on this list please drop me a message at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a comment below.