What is a Bicycle?


A bicycle is a two-wheeled vehicle propelled by pedals and steered with handlebars. When humans on foot compete in the contest of locomotion efficiency, they come in about as ungainly as sheep and just ahead of condors. But when on a bicycle, they beat both of them and even dogs. There are a lot of reasons to ride a bike, from the simple pleasures of speed and freedom to the health benefits of exercise and social interaction. Some people choose to bike because it’s easier on joints than running or walking, and cycling can be done at low intensity for those recovering from injury or illness. Others find the bike to be a fun way to commute and avoid traffic.

A bike’s frame and fork are typically made from a metal such as steel or aluminum alloy. Many higher-end models feature suspension seat posts and springs to cushion the rider’s body against road vibrations and bumps. The handlebars, crankset, and chain are usually also metal. The wheels and tires may be plastic, rubber, or a combination of both. The wheel diameter is important for stability and control, but the tire’s tread pattern, width, and shape are critical for traction and speed.

The bicycle is the most popular mechanized form of transportation in the world, used by millions of people for work and recreation. It’s often viewed as a symbol of modernity, with its clean lines and fusion of human and machine. Simone de Beauvoir, for example, writes that the pale-blue bicycle in her second novel “The Blood of Others” is “so lissom, so slender, it seemed to cut through the air.”

Cycling has several environmental and health benefits. It reduces air pollution, lowering the level of harmful chemicals and particles that affect the environment and human health. It also eliminates the need to buy and operate motorized vehicles, which consume oil and produce exhaust. In cities, it reduces congestion and noise pollution. Moreover, the rider is not exposed to the roar of automobile engines, which can cause stress and noise-related health problems.

Cycling is a fun, inexpensive, and convenient mode of transportation. Its popularity has increased dramatically worldwide, especially in developing nations. In some cities, it has even replaced cars as the primary mode of transport. It is easy to learn, and riders can continue it for life at a lower intensity than other sports and physical activities. And, unlike other sports that require expensive equipment and special locations or times to be enjoyed, the bicycle is accessible to almost anyone, regardless of income, education, or fitness level. This accessibility makes it a viable option for people who would otherwise not participate in recreational or sport activities. In fact, biking can be a gateway to more rigorous physical activities and other healthy lifestyles. This, in turn, contributes to a healthier population and a more sustainable planet. Moreover, it provides a safe and effective means of mobility for people with disabilities.