Bicycling is a pastime that many of us pick up when young. For some, pleasure riding is all that you will do; for others moving into the myriad of sports cycling has to offer, even to make a career of it. Bicycling should be a skill everyone should have.
I am not sure if it was my first bike, but it is the first one I remember. Those of you that are old enough will remember the yellow banana seat bikes from the seventies. Yeah, I thought I was cool, playing card clipped on to rattle in my spokes, good old ape hangars.
I have always thought Harley Davidson bikes were incredible. Back then, my imagination would take me on an adventure to be a big badass biker. It would be years later before I owned my first Harley and went on adventures. Made what I had dreamed up come true.
I have often heard, and for the most part, I believe that once you learn to ride a bike, you never forget. What is bicycling? Is it more than the concept of learning to ride? I say yes. One learns about balance, your body starts learning how to do multiple things at once. It can be one of the earliest skills to force you to process information quickly.
Some can hop on and just go; others take years till the training wheels come off. It could be a metaphor for life. You may ride a bunch when you were a kid, and then you got your first car and didn’t look back. Years later, you pick up bicycling again for health, fun, adventure, sport, or all four.
How often do we learn something in our youth, and for some reason, we seem to forget it along the way. You never forget, more it is suppressed. My mind wanders a bit let gets back to bicycling.
How old does one have to be to start? I would say sooner, the better, start with a tricycle and learn to pedal and steer. The sooner you can move up to two wheels, the better. The debate is back and forth on training wheels. I think it depends on the kid. Either way, you need to make it fun. When they crash, dust them off and get them going again.
The significant benefits from learning this young are helping with coordination skills and cardiovascular. Then starting to learn situational awareness. The significant part is you don’t have to spell all this out. It happens from kids enjoying something fun. Wind blowing on their face, imagination running wild with adventure, taking them places faster. Learn while having fun what is not to like from a parent’s perspective.
Once they learn the basics and are down to two wheels, you can start exploring other avenues that involve racing, stunts, or a bit of both—all the different types of bikes out there for them to enjoy. Don’t think for a moment that your too old yourself to get back into bicycling again. With or without kids, get out there, explore and have fun also.
Pleasure riding is good. However, if you or your kids are competitive, take a look at the sports you can do.
Road racing bicycles
- Time trial bicycles are road bicycles with an aerodynamic features that are not permitted when the racers ride as a group, such as aero bars and a disk rear wheel.
- Triathlon bicycles have seatposts that are closer to vertical than the seatposts on road racing bicycles. This enables a greater contribution from hamstring and gluteus muscles. Triathlon bicycles also have specialized handlebars known as triathlon bars or aero bars.
Track bicycles are ultra-simple, lightweight fixed-gear bikes with no brakes, designed for track cycling on purpose-built cycle tracks, often in velodromes.
- Path Racers are an antique type of track bicycle.
Cyclo-cross bicycles are lightweight enough to be carried over obstacles, and robust enough to be cycled through mud.
BMX bikes (bicycle motocross) have small wheels and are used for BMX racing, as well as freestyle with tricks such as wheelies. Freestyle BMXers often ride dirt jumps and skatepark ramps, or in street-style BMXing where a rider navigates through a course of stairs and metal rails.
- Tramp bikes are specifically converted BMX bikes that can be used on a trampoline, having everything removed except the frame, fork, seat and handlebars.
- Cross Country bikes (or XC bikes) are mountain bikes with a light frame, with a front or full suspension. They are designed for long courses and marathons.
- Downhill bikes (or DH bikes) are a specialized type of mountain bike with a very strong frame, altered geometry, and long travel suspension. They are designed for use only on downhill courses.
- Freeride (or FR) bicycles in this category usually have very strong frames and dual-suspension with travel of six inches and up. They tend to have a shorter wheelbase than downhill bikes but otherwise have very similar geometry and components. Whereas downhill racers tend towards strong and light components, extreme freeriders tend not to worry about weight as much as strength of materials so it can withstand the huge drops and gaps that they typically perform.
- Enduro bicycles are a middle category between Downhill and Cross Country bicycles. This type of bicycle usually has a strong but lighter frame, and dual-suspension with travel between four and seven inches.
- Trials bicycles designed for trials riding, often without regard for attaching a seat.
Artistic cycling bikes are used to perform tricks (called exercises) for points in a format similar to ballet or gymnastics.
Get out more
Another great thing about bicycling is that it gets you outside more. You need a way to disengage from the pixels. You want to get your kids to have less screen time. Bicycling is a cure. The adventures are endless, a skill that lasts a lifetime.
Awhile back, I had a podcast with a friend of mine. Jay has been bicycling for years, both for fun and competitively. BR PODCAST EP 09 ENDLESS CYCLE He discusses how it has helped shape his life through the years.
If you or your kids don’t know how to ride a bike, it is never too late to learn. Learning bicycling together can create some lasting memories to laugh about for years to come. Get started down the path and enjoy the experience.
Questions Thoughts? Leave them in the comments.
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