The bicycle, sometimes called a bike or cycle, is a two-wheeled steerable machine. Pedals turn the front wheel, and the power is transmitted by a chainwheel to a sprocket on the rear wheel. Bicycles are primarily used for transportation, although they can be used for recreation or transporting cargo as well.
A bike can be ridden with little effort at speeds up to 16-24 km per hour (about four to five times the pace of walking). Cycling is an excellent form of exercise, providing a substantial cardiovascular workout. It also improves fitness levels and lowers the risk of obesity and other health conditions.
Traditionally, a bike has been a rigid frame with a single front and rear wheel. However, the design has been refined over time to include a variety of features. For example, some bikes have been modified with pegs attached to the frame to allow extra riders to stand on them or a hitch mounted to the fork to tow a trailer.
Other bicycle accessories are designed to enhance the rider’s comfort or performance, including a saddle or seat, a padded or upholstered handlebar grip, a pedal brace, and a handlebar stem. Many bicycles have a variety of gearing, including derailleur gears that move the chain from one sprocket to another.
Bike equipment can be a significant investment. When choosing a new bicycle, it is important to consider the amount of riding that the rider will do and the type of terrain on which he or she will be using the bike. It is also essential to check the size and fit of the bicycle before purchasing it, as a bike that is too big can cause problems while riding it.
Overuse can cause injuries, especially if the cyclist rides too much for his or her body’s ability to handle it. Early signs of overuse may be muscle pain, joint pain and numbness. If left untreated, these can lead to severe and disabling injury.
In order to increase the capacity of a cyclist’s muscles, he or she must gradually add the length and frequency of training sessions. Ideally, he or she should start with an hour or two of cycling a day and work up to about 100 miles or kilometers per week.
Most people who have started riding bicycles find that the process is enjoyable and that it is a great way to get in shape. They usually enjoy riding with other people, chatting and sharing a laugh or two along the way.
It is also fun to see the sights in a new area, and to enjoy a fresh breeze on a pleasant day. For these reasons, people who like to cycle often spend time in their favorite parks and neighborhoods, and even travel long distances by bicycle.
Cyclists tend to be very healthy and generally live longer than non-cyclists. This is especially true for women. It is known that women who regularly bike have a lower incidence of heart disease, diabetes and cancer than women who do not.