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The bicycle is a tremendously efficient means of transportation. In fact, you'll find that cycling is more efficient than any other method of travel, including walking! 


The engine for this incredibly efficient mode of transport is the human body, so as you can see, cycling is an excellent form of exercise. 


Since our bodies are fueled by food, cyclers need to pay special attention to their diet because it plays an important role in how the body performs.


This is a great example of how diet & exercise can work together for ultimate performance of the body & mind.


Leo Buscaglia


the workout
For those of us who don't like exercising indoors, bike riding is a great way to get exercise & to get somewhere in life. Ride w/friends or family.

Run errands, or just go out & pedal hard to feel the wind in your face. Ride the road or hit the trails. With modern bike technology, almost no area is out of bounds.

Biking is one of the best fitness activities for whole families to enjoy together. It's also the one activity that allows you to cover some real distance. There are plenty of biking tours available now through various regions of the country or world.

More than most outdoor activities, bicycling is subject to the vagaries of the weather. High speeds & relatively little contact w/the road don't mesh well w/wet or icy conditions. The road isn't the only thing that's slippery when wet. Brakes are too.

slowly absorb the information....

Bicycles are simple & beautifully elegant machines that attract just about every kid at an early age. The coolest thing about a bicycle is that it lets you get where you are going a lot faster & using a lot less energy than you would if you were walking or running.
The other neat thing about bicycles for anyone interested in machines & mechanics is that everything is completely exposed. There are no covers or sheet metal hiding anything, on a bicycle, it is all out in the open.
Many kids w/mechanical tendencies can't resist the desire to take their bike apart! click here to read more about how bicycles work!

One hundred calories can power a cyclist for 3 miles, but it would only power a car 280 feet!

The type of food a cyclist eats can affect performance. While exercising on the bicycle, it is extremely important to keep in mind that you need to meet your requirements of water, protein, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins & minerals.

Even though Leonardo DaVinci had sketched a design for it 400 years earlier, when the "velocipede" - a.k.a., the bicycle - first made its appearance in the 1860's, it was considered little more than an oddity.


Few who saw it believed that the strange-looking apparatus would ever fulfill the promise for which it was touted:


"to replace the horse

as the dominant mode of human transportation."


That's hardly a surprise, judging from the early designs that came outfitted w/metal wheels & a wooden frame. Little wonder that the early bicycles were nicknamed "boneshakers."

Cut to the present day. You can now walk into an upscale cycle boutique & pick out a bike w/a frame made of super-lightweight titanium alloy, a set of precision components comprising more than 20 gears & an advanced rider-suspension system - not to mention a price tag of several thousand dollars.

But perhaps you're not planning to go off-roading in Moab or enter the tour de France. You may prefer to make a more modest investment & acquire something that's simply suited for an afternoon ride around your neighborhood. Either way, you'll be enjoying an outdoor activity that's a proven source of aerobic exercise & strength conditioning.

The first step in selecting a bike is deciding which type of riding you want to do:

  • High-speed road riding
  • Off-road adventuring
  • Leisurely pleasure riding
  • Or some combination of those.

Belma Johnson, host of DIY's Family Sports, talks with Darryl Glascock, a bicycle specialist for Galyan's Sports, about the most popular categories of bicycles as well as some safety equipment & accessories that are available.

Mountain bikes have a durable, rugged construction (pictured below) & are designed to survive being ridden off-road, over dirt trails, rocks, roots & other rough terrain. Their characteristics include:

  • A low, compact frame
  • Thick, knobby tires for extra grip on slippery surfaces
  • Wide, high handlebars for a stable, upright ride

They may employ upward of 25 gears for adaptability in a wide range of riding conditions, & many of the more technical (& expensive) models also employ a suspension system that serves to absorb some of the bumps & jarring encountered in off-road situations.

Suspension systems may range from a set of shock-absorbers on just the front forks to an elaborate & adjustable full system that includes rear suspension (directly above right) as well. Some utilize toe-clips or "cages" to keep the rider's feet secure on the pedal through rough rides; others feature a clipless design where the pedal connects by means of a specialized cleat to the bottom of the rider's shoe.


The clipless variety offers the advantage of enhancing pedaling efficiency. You may choose from a variety of seat styles, but most used on mountain bikes are low profile & lightweight. The bike frame may be of steel, aluminum or lightweight alloy.


Generally, the lighter the material used to make the frame, the more expensive the bike will be. Though they have a thicker frame & more robust construction than road-racing bikes, the best mountain bikes are nevertheless highly engineered performance machines.


Depending on the materials used & the sophistication of design, they may range in price from several hundred to several thousand dollars. A high-quality mountain bike suitable for novice to intermediate riders generally costs around $700.



It takes less energy to bicycle one mile than it takes to walk a mile although bicycles can be up to 5 times more efficient than walking. 

Comparing the amount of calories burned in bicycling to the number of calories an automobile burns, the difference is astounding.

Road bikes, modeled after the high-performance models used in road racing, utilize a taller, & often more slender, frame. They are lightweight, built for speed & intended for use on paved roads.

These bikes utilize a greater wheel diameter & narrower tires than off-road bikes. Their aerodynamic road-racing design (immediately above) is intended to optimize pedaling efficiency so that each rotation of the pedals yields maximum forward momentum.

The result is that you travel farther & faster w/less effort. The drop-style handlebars (below) are positioned so that the rider can lean fully forward, thereby reducing wind resistance, an important consideration in racing.

Multiple gear settings allow the rider to compensate for the incline of the road & select from a range of gear positions so as to minimize fatigue over a long ride. Road bikes generally use a very light slim line seat to further reduce weight. As w/mountain bikes, the frame may be made from a variety materials, & the price of the bike is often most dependent on the type of material used.

Prices for a good aluminum-frame bike will generally start around $600 to $700.

Comfort bikes, some of which are known as hybrid bikes, are a popular style in which the design (below left) is oriented more toward comfort than performance.


They offer a mix of features found on mountain bikes & road bikes. For instance, they may use tires that have a relatively smooth center tread for riding on pavement but knobby lugs on the outer edges in case you want to veer off onto a trail (below right).


Some offer convenience features such as comfortable gel seats, a gauge that indicates what gear you're in (below center) & grip-style shifters. Since they don't need the high-end components & ultralight frames used in the performance-oriented models, these tend to be less expensive: starting around $250 to $300.   

Gear: The bike itself, padded shorts, helmet

Instruction/Facilities: None required

Time: If you're going to get out there, figure on being out a half-hour, at least. It takes a while to get warmed up.

  • If you're going to stay on relatively smooth roads, get a road bike. Otherwise, for rougher roads (including city streets) & for versatility, consider a "hybrid" bike. 
  • Comfort is the key to long rides & the right bike setup is the key to comfort. On a road or hybrid bike, set the handlebars about an inch lower than the saddle. Unless you're a racer, any lower puts undue strain on your back. For mountain bikes, 2 - 4" is right. Make sure your seat is level.
  • Buy your bike from a reputable bike shop & make friends w/your dealer. Repairs & upgrades are a whole lot easier when you have friend in the business.

iVillagers say
"I went out yesterday in a snow flurry and rode for an hour through the woods. I felt like I was a kid again! The fresh air and the hilly terrain are so invigorating." --iVillager lakeroho

"When I started biking I could barely get around the block, but now I'm doing 12 miles a day, six days a week. I'm 47 and I've lost 45 pounds!" --iVillager susanjohnsen

Clothing for Cycling

When cycling, dress in clothing that is close-fitting. Loose pants can catch in your bike chain or wheel. Accomplished cyclists often opt for fitted stretch clothing to cut down on wind resistance.

If you've got room in a backpack or saddlebag, you may want to bring a windbreaker along in case the temperatures are cool.

Always wear close-toed shoes to prevent foot injuries. Never wear sandals or bicycle barefoot. If you're going to do a lot of cycling, you may want to look into some specialized cycling shoes.

These are lightweight, low profile & made to fit into pedal cages or clip directly to specially made pedals.






When a sport relies heavily on equipment, whether it's snow skiing, skateboarding, backpacking or golf, that sport often evolves in a "chicken & egg" relationship with technology.


Bicycling is no exception.


As cycling becomes more popular, manufacturers increase their emphasis on coming up with new materials, styles & accessories to please enthusiasts. And as the bikes & equipment become more sophisticated & intriguing, more people become interested in cycling.

Helmets are the single most important piece of safety equipment in bicycling. Since they are designed to prevent head injury, it's no exaggeration to say that wearing one could save your life. Contemporary bike helmets are aerodynamically designed (some are even wind-tunnel tested); they come in a myriad of styles & colors & most are ventilated.


Advances in technology have led to helmets that are strong but still extremely lightweight, generally around nine ounces total.


Most have a padded interior & a body made of specialized StyrofoamB. covered in impact-resistant plastic. These are design-tested to disperse the energy of impact in the event of an accident. Helmets come in 3 sizes, & you should choose the smallest size that comfortably fits your head.


Refer to the manufacturer's instructions for details on fit, but in general the front of the helmet should just rest at the top of the brow, & the side straps should come together under each ear (see above left A). Tighten the chin strap to hold the helmet on securely.

Gloves come in different styles depending on their use. Road gloves (immediately right) are designed for use with road-racing style bikes & are usually made of synthetic leather. The synthetic holds up better, & stays more supple, than real leather. Palm padding provides comfort & helps avoid calluses developing on long rides. Newer gel types provide optimal palm padding & help prevent hand-numbness through weight displacement. Mountain-bike gloves (immediately below left) serve similar functions but usually have some form of top armor to protect the hands & knuckles from abrasions, since off-road riding often leaves the hands exposed to tree limbs & other hazards.


The human body is made up of mostly water; so even losing as little as 2 percent of the body's fluid through sweat can adversely affect cycling performance. Athletes riding in hot conditions for extended periods need to be careful. Severe dehydration can cause heat exhaustion or heat stroke and in even in some extreme cases, death. Cyclists are instructed to drink a few cups of water before riding and then to drink often during exercise.

A cyclist's legs provide the power for cycling. Muscle attached to the thighbone (femur) and the shinbone (tibia) does the majority of the work. Your thighbone works like a lever and if it's longer than your shinbone it will provide extra leverage on each stroke of the pedals. The length of your thighbone is determined by genetics, so if you have short thighbones you can blame your parents. The length of the thighbone is not the whole story, though--it takes muscles to move those bones.

Thousands of thin spaghetti-like fibers make up muscle tissue. These fibers receive messages from the brain, causing the fibers to contract. The main muscles at work in cycling are the quadriceps and hamstrings in the upper leg, and the gastrocnemius and soleus in the calf. These muscles contract in a sequence that creates the pedaling action.  


Essential Take-Along Items

Biking can take you a long way from home, so it's a good idea to carry along a few items to deal w/minor emergencies.

Following is a list of some recommended items that you may need when you're out on the road. These items should be available from your local bike shop, & a salesperson can advise you on the various options.

1.       Water bottle or hydropack. It's important to stay hydrated while you ride, so bring along an ample amount of water.

  1. Snack food. High-energy snacks that won't spoil are a good idea.
  2. Multitool. These versatile tools include a variety of features attachments that may assist you w/a roadside repair. Specialized bicycle multitools are available at your bike shop & include spoke wrenches, chain tools & other attachments that facilitate most basic bike repairs.
  3. Bicycle pump. Bike-mounted pumps are lightweight & easy to use in the event you have a tire that is low or flat.
  4. Spare inner tube.
  5. Tire-patch kit.
  6. First-aid kit w/tape, bandages & other basic first-aid items.
  7. Duct tape, the all-purpose fix-it accessory for temporary or makeshift repairs.


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the following websites are where the information on this webpage was found...

visit them by clicking the links!


ivillage.com - bicycling

 The usage of information from the bicycle manufacturers' websites is not an endorsement of their equipment from anxiety understanding. The reasoning behind using this information is to best describe the different options in cycling to you, the interested party, and for no other reasons. Above you will find information from different bicycle manufacturers that remind you to follow the guidelines below before attempting to pursue cycling as an exercise, sport or activity.

Before starting any exercise program, consult with your physician or health professional. He or she can help establish the exercise frequency, intensity (target heart rate zone) and time appropriate for your particular age and condition. If you have any pain or tightness in your chest, an irregular heartbeat, shortness of breath, feel faint or have any discomfort while you exercise, STOP! Consult your physician before continuing.

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