Bicycles are human powered vehicles, typically featuring pedals, a seat, two wheels and a frame.
There are over one billion bicycles found throughout the world.
Bicycles are used for transport, recreation, competitive racing, courier delivery and a range of other tasks.
Competitive cycling includes track cycling inside velodromes, time trials, mountain biking, BMX and longer events such as the Tour de France.
The Tour de France was first held in 1903 and his since become the most famous cycling race in the world. Held over three weeks, the annually changing route goes through the Pyrenees and Alps before finishing in Paris.
Tandem bicycles are made to be ridden by two or more people.
Although unicycles (one wheel) and tricycles (three wheels) don’t have two wheels, they are sometimes still referred to as ‘bikes’.
The energy required to cycle at low to medium speeds is roughly the same as the energy required to walk.
Bicycles typically use a chain to transmit power to the rear wheel.
To get efficient use of their pedaling, cyclists use a high gear when going downhill, a medium gear on flat surfaces and a low gear when going uphill.
Different brake types include rim brakes, internal hub brakes and disc brakes.
Some bicycles feature suspension. This is especially common in mountain bikes where they are used to help deal with the vibration caused by uneven surfaces.
Road bikes typically have thinner tires inflated to higher pressures than those found on mountain bikes, taking advantage of the smoother surfaces that roads generally provide.
Before the word ‘bicycle’ become popular (coming from the French word ‘bicyclette’), bikes were typically called ‘velocipedes’.
Two wheeled transportation developed in the 1800s, from pushed powered bikes through to mechanical crank drives with pedals.
You may have heard of the Penny-farthing, an early type of bicycle that featured a front wheel significantly larger than the rear. The name comes from the old British Penny and Farthing coins which represent the large and small wheels.
The pneumatic tire came along in the later years of the 19th century along with the rear freewheel and coaster brakes.
Cycling became increasing popular in the early stages of the 20th century as cycling clubs and races caught on.