A bicycle is a two-wheeled, steerable machine that is pedaled to provide human-powered motion. The term bike is derived from the Latin word for wheel, and the name of the sport of cycling is derived from the French term for bicyclette, which in turn derives from the Greek for circle or cycle, meaning “two-wheeled vehicle”.
A bike’s frame is made of carbon fiber, aluminum, titanium, steel or some combination of these materials. Each material has its own characteristics and has an impact on the weight, ride quality, comfort and price of the bike. The bicycle’s handlebars, seat and cranks are often custom-built to fit the rider. There are many different types of bicycles, including racing bikes, mountain bikes, hybrids and road bikes.
Cycling is a great way to get in shape and burn calories while enjoying the outdoors. It can be as mild or intense as desired, and it’s an effective workout for most people. It increases strength, stamina and cardiovascular endurance and can help improve coordination and balance. In addition, it can reduce the risk of heart disease and high blood pressure. It’s also a good replacement for car trips when you want to get somewhere that is too far to walk or take public transportation, and it can help lower your overall carbon footprint (14).
Most people can learn to ride a bicycle with practice. The hardest part is learning to balance, but this can be improved with a few lessons from a bike shop or a cycling coach. It’s a good idea to wear a helmet and protective gear whenever you ride, even for short trips around the neighborhood.
There are several benefits of cycling, but it’s important to know the risks and how to avoid them. The most common cause of cycling-related injuries is collisions with motor vehicles, and this can be prevented by obeying standard traffic laws and positioning your bike well away from cars. Other risks include falling off or getting a flat tire, and these can be avoided by wearing a helmet and riding with other cyclists when possible.
It is important to talk with your doctor before beginning a new exercise program, especially if you have certain medical conditions or health problems. He or she may recommend a stationary or adaptive bicycle for you.
Bicycles were invented in the 1800s, and their history is a bit murky. Leonardo da Vinci is credited with drawing a sketch of a bicycle in 1492 in his Codex Atlanticus, but it is not known whether this was actually a bicycle (15). It is likely that no single person qualifies as the inventor of the modern bicycle, and its development occurred through the efforts of many people. It is believed that a wooded device invented in 1817 by Karl Drais, called the draisine or lauf-maschine, was a precursor to the modern bicycle (16). The later all-metal velociferes were probably an improvement over this design (17). The first modern bicycles were made with two wheels of reasonable size and a chain that connected the pedals to the rear wheel (18). These were probably the predecessors of today’s safety bicycles.