Bicycles are among the most common, affordable, and popular vehicles around the world, and ever since their invention in the late 1800s, they have been a fine way to commute, take a leisurely ride, and get some cardio, too. Today, bicycles are used for these purposes and more, and modern bikes have more streamlined and efficient designs than ever before. Bikes may be built for competitive racing, or they may be geared for leisurely riding or even for commuting to work or a marketplace. A bike rider today can find the right accessories and spare parts for their bicycle, such as toe clips (great for adding power to the pedaling), new bike chains, leather saddles, brake levers, bike bags, and more. A bike owner may find plenty of accessories at a local bike shop, and failing that, they can check online catalogs to find the right toe clips or bike chain. How popular are bicycles today, and how can they be used?
About Bicycles and Their Uses
Bicycles are among the few vehicles in the world that do not use engines or motors, instead using human input to move. This makes bicycles emission-free, lightweight enough to carry, and slender enough to store nearly anywhere. In fact, nearly one billion of these light, affordable vehicles can be found around the world today, outnumbering automobiles almost two to one (lacking engines makes them very affordable and easy to make). In more developed nations such as the United States and throughout much of Europe, bicycles are usually meant for racing or cardio, but in some parts of the world, they are in fact a primary mode of transportation. In some developing nations, bicycles are a staple for traveling from one town or village to another, and farmers and other artisans may load their bicycles with baskets or pallets of goods and deliver them to market that way.
Speaking broadly, bicycles can be used for leisure, racing, or transport. As mentioned above, bicycles are a staple of transport in some parts of the world, but even in developed nations like the United States, bicycles are an increasingly popular way to get to work. Why? Riding a bike means zero carbon emissions, and this can play a major part in the “go green” initiative by taking many cars off the road and saving gas all the while. This overlaps with another major use for bicycles: cardio. The smooth but vigorous use of a bicycle can burn a lot of calories and develop the leg muscles, and this provides all sorts of health benefits. A bike rider may expect to burn many calories and develop muscles, and their heart will benefit from this, lowering the risk of certain heart diseases. Cardio in general is a fine way to stay in shape, and cardio factors into many weight loss programs. Bike riding, swimming, jogging, and martial arts are common forms of cardio.
Bicycles are also useful for racing, and bike racing has proven popular around the world. The Tour de France is possibly the most prominent example of this, but hardly the only one. Bike races may be done for sport or even for charity events, and typically take place on pavement. Meanwhile, bicycles may also be built for leisurely riding, and these bikes may have wider tires to handle off-road terrain and not just pavement like for races.
Bike Parts and Upgrades
A good bike will have all the right parts. A bike rider may add some accessories for convenience or performance, such as bike toe clips. These toe clips attach to the pedals and meet resistance when the foot is going up, allowing the pedal to harness more energy from the rider’s legs. In this way, the bike is powered both by downward pushing and lifting up with the feet. Meanwhile, a bike may also have a basket on the front or back for carrying items such as a backpack or even groceries. And of course, the bicycle’s saddle, or seat, should be the right type. Racing bikes have narrow and hard saddles that don’t interfere with the racer’s leg movements, and racers tend to lean forward rather than sit on their saddles anyway. Leisure saddles, by contrast, are wide and soft for proper sitting.