What Are The Differences Between Biking And Cycling?

What Are The Differences Between Biking And Cycling

Riding bicycles can be therapeutic because it allows you to spend more time in nature. I have been riding bicycles for many years, and a common mistake that I’ve seen people make is considering biking and cycling to be the same.

These two activities may involve riding a bicycle, but they have some significant differences. If you want to learn more about them, you’re on the correct platform. Here is all the information you require.

If you are interested in learning the Different Types Of Cycling, check out these 9 best alternatives with their benefits!

What Is Biking?

Biking refers to riding a bicycle for recreational purposes. This means you ride your two-wheeler to explore rough terrains. You may also travel long distances on your bicycle in an urban setting. Biking is an activity involving a bicycle. You can generally ride the bike on a road, bike path, mountain trail, or rough terrain.

This term may also be used for describing a mode of transport. If you’re transferring goods from one place to another in an urban area, the act is considered biking.

Many professionals also use biking mainly for mountain bike riding because the activity is done on rough terrain. However, you may also ride your bicycle on a proper road.

What Is Cycling?

Cycling is the term mainly used for riding unicycles, bicycles, and tricycles. However, the word primarily refers to non-recreational modes of transportation. You may cycle to your work on a bike such as an electric bike.

Driving a cycle on long public routes is called cycling and can be done using racing bikes. Some vehicles may also require you to only use your hand for control instead of the complete handlebar. Cycling also has various types that make it different from biking.

Cycling is also referred to when participating in cycling sports such as a marathon. So the term is mainly for professional activities.

What Are The Differences Between Biking And Cycling?

Now that I have told you about the basic usage of biking and cycling, you may be wondering about their differences.

Even though biking and cycling typically involve the same thing, a bicycle, they differ in several ways. Here are some key things that set these two things apart:

1- Cycling Has Various Types

Biking may be considered for riding motorcycles, but it does not have many types. This is because of the recreational purpose of the activity. However, the same cannot be said for cycling due to its high flexibility.

Cycling involves sports activities which cause it to have many subcategories. These include:

Track CyclingOval Track
Road CyclingPaved pathways
CyclocrossOpen country cycling
TandemRiding a tandem bicycle
Table Displays Various Types Of Cycling – bikerify.com

Track cycling is mainly for those who participate in racing events for fun or professional experience. The road type is the most common form because it is due to commuting to work.

Cyclocross is the type for people who participate in marathons across the country. Those who decide to tour specific countries on a bicycle also come under this category.

The tandem type is primarily for couples and friends who love to cycle together. These bikes are mainly found in parks and other recreational spaces.

2- Biking Is Generally Used For Motor Bikes

Many people interchange cycling and biking because they both involve riding a bicycle. However, most of the population does not use this term for driving cycles. Instead, many people consider the act of riding a motorbike to be biking.

A motorbike involves various types, such as racing, heavy, and scooters. So biking is frequently used for vehicles that come with a motor and do not require pedaling. Of course, this is not the appropriate usage of the term because motorbikes are not bicycles.

See also: What Bike Gear To Use On Flat Roads? (Here’s the truth!)

3- Biking Is Not A Sport

Many people interchange biking and cycling, but only of these have the official status of a sport. The former type is not considered a sport by the International Cycling Union. So for professional activities, you will only see experts using the word cycling.

Cyclists are also used for those who ride unicycles, bicycles, and tricycles. Meanwhile, a biker is a term for people who drive motorcycles across various pathways.

4- Timed Trial Riding Is Called Cycling

The cycling sport has many subcategories, such as timed trail riding. This type cannot come under biking because of its professional purpose. You can use this racing category to improve your driving skills.

However, the primary feature is that you may not have an opponent while doing this sports activity. Instead, you act against time to beat your own record. Many of you may consider this to be recreational and call timed trial riding biking.

Of course, it cannot be called biking because of the sports features. The earliest bicycle was made by a French expert for gaming activities.

5- Biking Does Not Involve Indoor Options

There are various ways to ride a cycle and different bike options. Cycling doesn’t just include the standard outdoor two-wheel vehicles. Gym equipment such as spinning cycles and stationary cycles also come under this category.

So cycling is also considered an exercise by many people due to its low-impact benefits. You will not encounter people saying they’re biking while visiting the gym to use this machine. This will be inappropriate usage of the term.

6- Mountain Bikes Are Not Usually Used For Cycling

Mountain biking is an activity that involves you riding rough mountain trails. Most people, including me, perform this activity for recreational purposes. That is why the usage of biking is appropriate here.

If you want to cycle various pathways, this bike should not be your top choice because of its restricted usage. Mountain bikes are mainly for rock, dirt, and steep trails.

The vehicle’s suspension system is also designed for recreational riding and has high shock absorbance. This is to help you enjoy a less bumpy ride on mountain trails.

You might also enjoy reading: Trail Bike And Mountain Bike: Which One Is Best For You?

7- Biking Is A Colloquial Term

If you focus on your grammar a lot, you must understand that biking is an informal term. People use it colloquially for riding bicycles recreationally and driving motorcycles. When you’re driving the latter vehicle, commuting to work can come under biking.

Cycling is a formal term that is used by professionals, sports magazines, and book authors. It also involves riding unicycles and tricycles, so the category does not only contain bicycles. You may read different magazines to see examples of these two terms.

8- Cycling Does Not Involve Fuel

Many people get confused when they come across electric two-wheel vehicles on the market or roads. You must know that these types are called bikes because they may use fuel for operating. The fuel may be a lithium-ion rechargeable battery.

So if you have an electric bike for commuting, you should primarily use the word biking. The best way to know which term is appropriate is by considering various parameters. For instance, you must know your bike’s type.

See also: Do You Need a Chain Tensioner For Single Speed?

Similarities Between Biking And Cycling

  • The primary similarity between the two activities is that they both involve riding bicycles. This is regardless of the purpose of the vehicle. Some types also come in both categories, such as hybrid bikes. 
  • Another resemblance between the two activities is that they both involved pedaling. However, you must remember that biking does not necessarily have to involve this aspect.

Both Biking And Cycling Offer The Same Benefits

Both biking and cycling are among the healthiest and low-impact forms of exercise, which means they cause less strain and injuries than most other workouts (Source: University of Montana)

Biking And Cycling Benefits:

  • An excellent way to burn calories
  • builds strength and endurance, and stamina
  • increases balance, flexibility, and cardiovascular fitness
  • improves joint mobility and coordination
  • reduces anxiety and depression, and stress levels
  • Make and keep you energized to do other things throughout the day.
  • Reduces the risk of certain diseases and health problems, including heart attacks, strokes, and diabetes.
  • Biking makes you smarter as it increases blood flow, oxygen, and nutrients to your brain, increasing gray matter (Source: University of Montana)

You might also enjoy reading: How To Choose Between Cross Country Bike And Trail Bike: How They Compare?

Final Thoughts

This is all you need to know about what are the differences between biking and cycling. These nine factors can help you decide which term to use during a specific occasion. 

Sometimes you may interchange the words, but remembering the meaning is always helpful. So reading this post thoroughly will help you adjust to the cycling world easily.


Hello fellow bikers, I am Altiné. I am SO excited you are here! I am the guy behind bikerify.com. I am a biker and very passionate about reading, sports, and all things outdoors. I hope you find what you are looking for while visiting bikerify.com.

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