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    What Bike

    Choosing a bike can be very confusing with so many on offer but before you choose a bike you need to decide what type of cycling you want to do.  We will explore the various types on offer and look at what types of cycling you may want to do.

     

    Types Of Cycling

    There are so many reasons to go cycling; different journey purposes and different personal reasons for making that journey by bike. If you are  new to cycling, then we hope this page will help you decide what kind of cycling you want to do. However,  if you already know what you like, read on and you may be inspired to broaden your cycling interests

    There are as many different bike styles and we will explore these within the pages of this website.

     

    Off-road

    Competitive mountain-biking includes cross-country, downhill and even dual slalom events.  The downhill has all the glamour whilst cross country has all the hard work.   The latter is more like actually riding somewhere and uses similar equipment, unlike road-racing, bike swaps are not allowed – which helps to keep the cross-country racing mountain-bike practical and very versatile. Bike handling skills play a major part in all forms of mountain-bike competition, and are the whole thing in trials riding. Mountain-bike racing comes closest to touring in Trailquest and “Polaris” events: a kind of orienteering where route-planning and navigation becomes almost as important as your riding ability.

     

    Cyclo-cross is an off-road sport that pre-dates the mountain-bike. It’s a bit like cross-country with various obstacles, deliberately intended to be difficult. You can try to ride any kind of bike around the course, but the places where you have to run and carry it certainly favour something light.

     

    Track

    Track events are held in a velodrome: a specially built oval track with a speedily smooth surface (usually made of hardwood) and steeply banked curves to keep the riders from sliding out.

    A very minimal kind of bike is used with one fixed gear and no brakes, to complete in as many different forms of race as can be run on an athletic track only much faster and more exciting on wheels.

     

    Transport

     

    This is by far the most important and becoming more popular (with the price of fuel) kind of cycling; economically important because it takes people to work, the shops and to school.  It is also environmentally important because it replaces polluting means of transport, which is  important for health because it offers an ideal form of exercise that almost everyone can make as part of their daily routine.

     

    It is worth noting moderate exercise taken every day is far more beneficial than one big workout per week, so if you don’t already cycle for all your local shopping, why not  think about it now. Transport cycling is basically  a matter of getting from A to B with minimum fuss. You shouldn’t have to wear special clothes (However, You Should Wear A Helmet All The Time) and though you don’t really need a special bike  it helps if it’s designed with low maintenance and to keep your clothes clean.

     

    Long-distance commuting

     

    Most people live less than 5 miles from their work and that’s no problem, but if you have further to go a more sporty touring, audax or even a racing bike and special cycling clothes may save more time than it takes to shower and change. Or maybe you can mix modes: use a train or bus for most of the distance and either keep a bike parked both ends or take a folding bike with you. Some people drive halfway to work and literally park and ride.

     

    Shopping

     

    This needs big panniers, a bike designed to carry them (i.e. city, trekking, or touring bike) and a change of habits. Shop more often and enjoy fresher food! A bike is easy to park so visit the shops on your homeward commute and it won’t take extra time. You can even do the big weekly shop by bike: all you need is a trailer, or maybe a workbike.

     

    School run

    All the child seats, trailers and tandem adapters that make family cycling possible can also be used for the journey to school etc. Cycling is, of course, the only independent means of transport (other than walking) available to children. A kid’s bike is freedom. But the more cycling you can do together as a family before those first solo flights from the nest, the safer they will be.