A bicycle is a human-powered, two-wheeled, steerable machine that can be pedaled to travel at speeds up to four or five times the pace of walking. A bicycle consists of a seat, pedals, gearing, and handlebar mounted on a frame. The rider sits on the saddle and steers by leaning and turning the handlebars. The rider’s feet push the pedals, which in turn power a chain connected to a sprocket on the rear wheel. The sprocket on the rear wheel is connected to the front wheel by another chain. When the rider turns the handlebars, it swivels the front wheel to steer the bike.
Bicycles are used for recreation, exercise, commuting, and transportation. They are a popular form of alternative transport that reduces air pollution and traffic congestion. Despite their many benefits, bikes can be dangerous for novice riders. A cyclist who is struck by a vehicle or falls from their bike may require treatment from specialists such as emergency medicine physicians, neurologists, orthopedic surgeons, oral surgeons, ophthalmologists, or physical therapists. Injuries to the heart and lungs from cycling may require intervention by cardiovascular or pulmonary specialists.
Choosing a Bike
The choice of a bicycle depends on the purpose for which it will be used and the kind of terrain on which it will be ridden. For example, a commuter bicycle will likely have wide tires intended for paved roads and disc brakes that offer more stopping power than rim brakes. It will also probably be built with a suspension system to reduce the bumps of riding over rough surfaces.
While there is no single best bicycle, the type that a person chooses will largely depend on their budget, the type of riding they do most often, and how much they value safety features. It is important to wear a helmet and obey the rules of the road, including wearing bright clothing, using hand signals when changing directions, and staying visible to other motorists. A bicycle should be fitted with a reflector on each side, and a front and rear light in case the rider is traveling at night.
Many bicycle reviews will begin with the author claiming that their test bike “allows them to rip through singletrack” or to “glide over rocks and blast corners.” While it is nice for an expert to demonstrate their abilities, this language only serves to confuse the reader as to what exactly the reviewer is describing by using this adjective. It is also important to remember that great riders do not necessarily make great reviewers, as it takes an objective eye to separate the impact of one’s abilities from the capabilities of a bike.