To put it in simple words, the sport or act of riding or traveling by bicycle is cycling. The word ‘Bicycles’ originates from the emulsification of two words- the prefix ‘bi,’ which means two, and ‘cycle,’ which means wheel. From when this sport was introduced, it has now also evolved in many areas, including sports. Cycling as a sport is an extremely competitive physical activity using bicycles where the competitors ride on challenging trails which include velodromes, mountain tracks, water crossings, and dirt, etc.(Garrard, J., Rissel, C. and Bauman, A., 2012)
History Of Cycling.
- Firstly speaking about bicycles, we all have seen pictures of old bicycles in encyclopedias, television, or in art galleries with huge front wheels and tiny rear wheels and extremely levitated seats, yes! Those were the very first bicycles introduced in 1817; the mastermind behind creating these astonishing steerable, two-wheeled mechanisms was a German baron named Karl von Drais.
- Karl’s contraption was known by various names like “hobby-horse,” “velocipede,” and “running machine.” This noble creation of Karl von Drais made the world at large acknowledge him as the father of the bicycle.
- Cycling as a sport officially began on May 31, 1868, 51 years later after the invention of bicycles. The 1,200-meter race was managed between the fountains and the entrance of Saint- cloud park in Pairs which still stands there and is home to several species of flora and fauna. The winner of this memorable race was James Moore, an 18-year-old expatriate Englishmen who originated from Paris.
Types Of Bicycles/Evolution Of Cycling.
Cycling from the time of its innovation in 1817 has traveled a long way and evolved in the form of cycling we know it today and bicycles we ride in 2021. (Stoffers, M., 2012)
- The 1880s- The Safety Bicycles.
The 1890s was the start of a new era for bicycles as major changes were made in the bicycles running on streets based on the designs of Karl von Drais since 1817 with some modifications throughout the time. But the significant change was in the 1890s when the safety bicycle boomed.
The term safety bicycle was used in the 1880s for any alternatives to penny-farthing. The penny-farthings were bicycles with high wheels and elevated seats which were popular up until the 1880s. The safety bicycles caused a boom due to being lighter, less expensive, and easier to ride. Unlike the penny-farthings, the rider’s feet could reach the ground, making it easier to control the bicycle and stop, highly diminishing the danger of ‘taking a header Or long fall over the handlebars. The impact of the safety of bicycles on female emancipation was huge. It symbolized the new era of women, also revolved around the ‘rational dress’ movement of the late nineteenth century.
- The 1890s- The Tandems.
Just ten years after the revolution of the safety bicycles, the tandems came into the limelight and started to show up more in the early 1890s. Many of the early tandems were ‘courting bikes’ initially designed for a man and women to ride the bicycle together, not on different bicycles but a single bicycle with two seats, one in the front and the other one placed in the rear. The tandem’s front seat was for the lady, and the man was placed behind and steering the bike through a linkage from the rear position. However, tandem popularity began to decline after WWII.
- The 1930s – Switching The Gears.
The 1930s introduced derailleurs; a derailleur is a variable bicycle gearing system consisting of a chain, multiple sprockets of different sizes, and a mechanism to move the chain from one sprocket to another. It was first developed in France in the early 20th century but was first introduced in the Tour de France. Before that, the riders have to use a two-speed bicycle and get off the bike to switch the gears. Derailleurs, however, started to become standard on roads from 1938 when Simplex introduced a cable-shifted derailleur, the mechanism which is still in use on some bicycles.
- The 1980s- Mountain Bikes.
A tremendous boom was in place for bicycles in the mid-1970s in America when the petrol prices hike was the making the use of automobiles prohibitive, followed by a period where sports bicycles were the focal design which was trending. In the 1980s, people started to switch from only-road bicycles to all-terrain bicycles such as mountain bikes and BMX as they were much lighter, had multiple, and also had stronger frame construction. These bicycles gave people a sense of adventure and adrenaline rush which gave rise to mountain bike races and BMX competitions worldwide.
- 21st century- Bicycles Of All Kinds.
While the frames of bicycles have remained the same for over 100 years in the 21st century, use of space material has come in use, for instance, carbon fiber and titanium, which are more robust and lighter than the early used iron and wooden frames. The styles of bikes have also been upgraded and have got much more aerodynamic and efficient. Hybrids are now in place, road bikes and mountain bikes with better structure, lighter weight, and better derailleur systems. The 21st century also kept convenience in mind and brought gadgets like an installed torch, a bottle holder, Bluetooth, and much more. Electric bicycles are also introduced and have features that no one would have imagined and are environmentally friendly.
BENEFITS OF CYCLING
Cycling Improves Mental Health Being.
A study of YMCA found that people who had a physically active life had well-being score better than inactive individuals. Physical activities, which force us to get tired and sweat a lot, helps to remove toxins from our body and act as a detox therapy which results in a better mood and better mental health. Even doctors suggest cycling and other physical activities to people who might be suffering from depression.
- Cycling Improves Strength/Health And Stimulates Weight Loss.
The simple equation when it comes to weight loss is ‘calories out must exceed calorie intake, So the need to burn calories than you consume. Cycling is beneficial for health it burns about 1-hour calories between 500 to 1000, depending on the intensity of the rider. This helps us stimulate weight loss and acts as a step towards a better immune system and health. Fitness is the key to leading a healthy life; having a fitness routine keeps our body active and our calories in check. Cycling is considered a full-body workout routine but has a slightly primary focus on leg strength; various researchers found that a cyclist’s leg strength and the leg strength of an inactive individual have vast differences.
- Cycling Helps The Environment.
It is a known fact that fossil fuels are depleted and expensive for the common people to use. As a result, the prices of petrol have hiked, and it also severely harms the environment. The co2 emissions from automobiles are known to be the most significant contributor to carbon dioxide emissions. The use of bicycles can eradicate this problem. Bicycles are based on human power. The use of any fossil fuel is zero, and if efficient in every way, it helps the environment and our health and promotes fitness, and all age groups have access to it.
In conclusion, cycling is something that we all are familiar with, our parents taught us how to ride a bicycle, and we are in the process of learning, getting hurt, and creating memories. Riding our bikes with friends and having a joyful time. Cycling is a challenging sport and has been there since childhood like a sibling and always ensures that we grow. Grow in all the aspects of living, be it fitness, mental health, protection of our environment, or being connected to our history. Exploring new ways to ride such astonishing machines on new terrains and evolving continuously, that’s what cycling offers.(Oja, P., Titze, S., Bauman, A., De Geus, B., Krenn, P., Reger‐Nash, B. and Kohlberger, T., 2011)