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6 Main Cycling Options

A mountain biker preparing to descend the hill.

When it comes to cycling, everyone has their own preference. Whether that means you’re focused on taking your two wheels on the road, through the mud, or up a mountain trail, we all have a preferred cycling discipline that fits our needs and personalities.

Besides the fact that all cycling types typically involve two wheels, that’s where the similarities end. From the kit to the demographic, to the bikes themselves and the skills that are required to ride them.

What’s more? Every individual cycling type provides different benefits for your body, and once you’ve built up your skillset with one cycling discipline, those skills can usually be transferred to the next. This is why professional cyclists oftentimes have a mix of training regimens and schedules; combining multiple cycling types to work different muscles.

For instance, you can often find Tahnee Seagrave (a professional downhill racing cyclist) riding a road bike to boost her cardio and stamina. This allows her to improve her cycling performance when riding down treacherous trails.

So, if dabbling in different cycling types is an effective technique for cycling professionals, then it should be for regular cyclists, as you and I, too right? Let’s explore them all below to gain a better understanding:

Types of Cycling

1. Mountain Biking

A man enjoying his mountain biking trip.

When most cyclists think of mountain biking, they think of mud-spluttering them as they ride over impossible obstacles racing close to a vertical descent – but this is not the case. Mountain riding is a thrilling sport that gives you a good workout and adrenaline rush.

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Mountain riding does not have to happen in the mountains or hills. You can ride your bike through deserts and parks to add some variety to the routine. Mountain bikes have supple suspension making it easier for you to climb and descend safely while working out.

The vigorous demand for mountain riding stimulates your body to release natural endorphins – releasing more energy into your body. The exercise also boosts serotonin which prevents depression and anxiety.

Because of the reasons listed above, it is important to learn how to ride a mountain bike. Feel free to visit any institution that teaches cycling and sign up today to learn mountain riding.

2. Road Riding

A man biking on a road by a grassland scenery.

Are you new to road riding? You have come to the right place. Road riding is an important skill set that is dependent on mastering basic techniques as opposed to the spending miles riding on the road. Besides, road bikes are lightweight making road riding the most popular cycling disciplines.

Road riding has a lot of benefits – from improving your focus to toning the muscles of your body. Also, road riding relaxes your body allowing you to only focus on what is in front of you. Road riding is also popular because you can begin right from your front door.

3. Tandem Cycling

A couple enjoying tandem biking by the ocean.

The tandem bike (or twin bike) was designed back in the late 1800s to be ridden by more than one person. The bike lets two riders cycle together without anyone getting left behind.

It is more popular for a couple, a pair of friends, or a parent and their child. You can order a tandem bike with a child seat and trailer for the family to ride together.

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With tandem bikes, wind resistance and weight remain the same yet the power of cycling is doubled. It means you can travel far faster than traveling on solo bikes. Feel free to try them out. You can find them in bike stores or facilities hiring them.

4. Cyclocross

A bunch of athletes competing in a cyclocross race.

A Cyclocross bike is a specific type of drop-bar bike built to tackle any racing track. Cyclocross is different from other road racing bikes because of its frame geometry. They have wider clearances in order to keep their large tires in position.

Because of their features, these bikes are sturdy enough to maintain their shape and form as you ride them through the challenging terrain. CX racing consists of 60 minute short laps that have you working every muscle.

CX racing is tough and challenging to the extent where professional athletes, such as Manon Carpenter (a professional cyclist), participate to maintain their shape and their discipline in the off-season.

5. Track Riding

A Russian athlete competing in a track riding event.

Track riding is becoming more popular because it is held on specially built banked tracks. Because of this, any cyclist can join, as there’s no sun or rough terrain to worry about. However, track cycling is still challenging as it requires constant pedaling at high speeds and without brakes.

Track riding teaches you to endure over long distances because you cycle through the same track at the same speed without brakes. It also teaches you how to maneuver through without hitting your fellow cyclists. In other words, you will pick up a bunch of cycling skills on the track.

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With track riding, there are several events – from individual pursuit to scratch race, points race, Madison, and omnium. Each of these events is made to transfer skills to your primary discipline. You will become a better cyclist after participating in one or all of these track riding events.

6. BMX Biking

A man doing tricks on his BMX bike.

Even if you are not a biker, I am pretty sure you’ve come across the word BMX. BMX is a popular bike because of its style of riding. Cyclists ride BMX on well-built ramps in a skate park filled with obstacles.

As a result, cyclists are filled with short bursts of energy as they seek to ride their BMX bikes through the skate park by-passing all the obstacles within.

BMX’s are fairly cheap starting from as low as $169 and can be found in most shops in all states – because of its popularity within the cyclist’s community. BMX is an all-round sport that is ridden both outdoors and indoors.

More and more indoor facilities are opening up to accommodate two different categories of cyclists. The new ones, who are learning how to cycle, and those experienced, who like cycling with others.

There’s no excuse not to learn BMX. During the winter, most schools end up providing lessons for new cyclists using the BMX. These cyclists are taught how to handle the bike with confidence to help navigate all sections of the track. So why not give it a go?

Get Out There & Ride!

As you can see, the amount of cycling types and disciplines out there is vast. I recommend trying a variation of them for yourself to see which ones help boost your performance and hone your skills the best.

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