A bicycle, also called bike or cycle, is a two-wheeled, pedal-driven vehicle that can be used for transportation. It is a popular way to get around and can be very enjoyable. It is a low-cost alternative to driving and offers several benefits, including reducing carbon dioxide emissions and helping people live longer.
Bicycles are made of steel, aluminum, or other lightweight materials and come in various styles for different purposes. Road bikes are the most common, with sturdy frames and attachment points for adding racks, fenders, water bottles, pumps, lights and other accessories. Touring bikes are designed for long-distance travel with a heavy load and performance bikes are designed for going fast on flats and charging up hills.
How to Avoid a Bike-Related Injury
Bicycling is a safe, healthy and active form of transport. It is also much less expensive than a car or truck and can reduce the risk of serious injury in cases of accidents.
Cycling safely involves following traffic rules, staying alert and obeying all signs and signals. It is also important to avoid collisions with pedestrians and other cyclists, as well as motor vehicles.
Pedal-powered bicycles (velocipedes de pedale) were first constructed in Paris, France, during the early 1860s. The word “bicycle” came into use in 1868 to replace velocipede de pedale, which had been a popular means of transportation in Europe for more than a century.
The first American bicycle craze, velocipedomania, began in late 1868 and quickly spread to major East Coast cities. Small American manufacturers sprang up, and more than 250 patents were filed in two years.
As the craze developed, young consumers grew in interest and generated a boom in sales. After 1900 innumerable refinements were made to bicycles and their components, including the development of chainwheels that enabled a variety of gear ratios.
Some cyclists prefer to use a single-speed bicycle for riding on streets with little traffic. Others choose to ride in the center of the street, especially on busy roads, to increase visibility. If the sidewalk is not an option, make sure that all traffic can see you and be aware of pedestrians, especially in busy areas.
Wear a helmet when you are riding. Helmets protect your head, face and neck from injury in the event of a crash or fall. They also comply with federal law for children and working cyclists, and are recommended by many health organizations.
Don’t ride on sidewalks unless there are no other safe options available and only on a designated path or greenway. Drivers do not usually see swift-moving cyclists traveling on sidewalks and may not be able to stop in time.
Stay in the right lane of traffic and watch for cars coming out of driveways or alleys. When necessary, make a noise–use a horn, bell or whistle–and go at a safe speed.
Be a good ambassador of the bicycle by showing others how great cycling is for their health and the environment. This will help you gain a wider audience and make people think of you as an open-minded person.