Cycling is one of the healthfullest activities you can participate in, but did you know there are different types of cycling?
For someone who is not a cycling enthusiast, all cycles might look similar. However, a true cycling enthusiast would be able to differentiate between the design and function of each cycle.
Do you want a cycle for mountain biking, or do you want one for a racing event, or maybe you want to buy one to ride every day as part of your workout routine?
Your purpose and cycling technique will decide the type of cycle you should get.
You might be interested in exploring the Top 6 Affordable Electric Mountain Bikes That Cost Under $3000 and also Things To Keep In Mind When Buying a Used Mountain Bike.
Here are The 9 Different Types of Cycling
There are different types of cycles for different types of cycling. All these cycles have their advantages and disadvantages. It all boils down to how you want to ride it.
Here are the different types of cycling.
1- Tandem Cycling
You might only see these bicycles at tourist destinations where couples can enjoy a great cycling experience while taking photos.
But, believe it or not, these cycles used to be very common in the 1800s, and they were used for their functionality rather than as something tourists would enjoy.
Usually, a cycle can only be ridden and pedaled by one person (not counting the rack at the back). The Tandem Cycles have two seats and two sets of pedals.
Benefits Of Riding A Tandem Bike:
- It provides a fun and safe way to enjoy the great outdoors or a new city.
- It is an excellent way to connect with your loved ones.
- It is the perfect couple activity.
- Tandem cycling is for both kids and adults.
- It allows inexperienced riders to experience the thrill of biking, as their tandem partner does all the steering and braking.
- Tandem cycling is an excellent way to stay active.
- Tandem cycling promotes communication and trust because riding a tandem bicycle requires effective communication and trust (Source: U.S. Association of Blind Athletes)
2- Mountain Biking
If you have never tried mountain biking, you are missing out on a fun experience. However, if you ever decide to do mountain biking, please leave your generic road racing bike at home.
It would be ideal if you had a cycle with a little more panache. You need a cycle that is specifically designed for the said purpose.
Mountain Bikes have sturdy wheels that help them on rough mountain terrain. In addition to the wheels, their unique frame design helps them with balancing.
Most people confound Trail Bike And Mountain Bike; here is an article that I wrote that explains the differences and will help you choose the one that suits you best.
Benefits of Mountain Biking:
- Mountain biking helps improves heart health. A British Medical Association study concluded that cycle commuting was linked with a lower risk of CVD, cancer, and all-cause mortality. The good news is when you Mountain bike, you use large muscle groups that require a lot of oxygen, making the heart work steadily and increasing your heart’s fitness.
- Mountain biking helps build strong muscles. Keeping balanced on your Mountain bike when flying over rough terrain and climbing up slippery ascents works your core muscles, helping you develop powerful abdominal muscles.
- Mountain biking reduces stress and improves mood, and enhances balance and coordination.
3- Road Cycling
Road cycling is the most popular type of cycling where cyclists typically ride on paved roadways. And, if we say that learning something as basic as road cycling is a prerequisite for all other forms of cycling, then we wouldn’t be wrong. This is one of the basic forms of cycling that we have all tried.
People are very health conscious these days. Where some people tend to go on a morning jog, others prefer to go cycling.
You would normally see these people in their local parks or cycling around their neighborhood. Road cycles are the simplest versions of cycles used in racing events like the Tour de France.
If you already have a road bike, I suggest you check out this article on the Top 6 Road Bike Tires To help you avoid punctures.
Benefits Of Road Cycling:
- It develops your heart muscles, lowers the resting pulse, and reduces fat blood levels.
- Regularly road cycling promotes and improves your heart, lungs, and circulation, lowering your risk of cardiovascular diseases (Source: Better Health)
- Road cycling is a full-body workout.
- Road cycling increases brain power: Researchers at Illinois University discovered a relationship between children’s physical fitness and their brain function and cognitive abilities.
4- Track Cycling
In track cycling, the riders race on a pre-specified track. Track cycling events are usually arranged in an arena called velodromes.
It is easy to get track cycles from the market; however, many people prefer to modify their cycles for track racing. The frame and tires are all modified for the best performance on a track.
These cycles can easily move on the steep turns that most of the velodromes have. A track cycle does not have any brakes.
Benefits Of Track Cycling:
- It teaches you a lot about bike control, including how to control your speed and anticipate changes.
- It will make you a better and stronger biker.
- Track cycling is an excellent way to socialize and make new friends. Sessions are usually around two hours, with quick breaks between rides where there is time to chat as you rehydrate.
5- Bicycle Motor Cross Cycling (BMX Cycling)
Bicycle Motor Cross, or BMX, is a popular form of cycling. Like track cycling, you race your bicycle on a track, but the difference here is that it’s a dirt track. So BMX Cycling can get messy at times. The bicycles are also shorter in size compared to other cycling forms.
In BMX cycling, racers must complete a set number of laps on the dirt track while also going over several large bumps of dirt on the track. You also get to see some high jumps and stunts at these events.
Benefits Of Bicycle Motor Cross Cycling (BMX Cycling):
- The continuous time spent on your Bicycle Motor Cross will help enhance your cardiovascular health by Building your endurance.
- Similar to other types of cycling, BMX cycling increases cardiovascular fitness, muscle strength, and flexibility and decreases stress levels (Souce: Better Health)
- It might also help prevent or manage the risk of disease.
6- Recumbent Cycling
While most of the other cycling types mentioned on our list relate to different types of sports, this one is more focused on the health aspect of the rider. Even though it is a very healthy activity, you don’t see many people using recumbent cycles on the road.
The cycle has a unique design with a lower seat position than the traditional bicycle. As a result, the rider has to sit on the bike in a reclining position which some might consider weird, but it is good for the calves and thighs.
In addition, the way the bike is designed puts less pressure on the rider, which means that it is the perfect bike for older people and people with arthritis. Recumbent bikes are among the most prevalent cardiovascular and lower body workouts.
Benefits Of Recumbent Cycling:
- Recumbent cycling is a great way to stay active and meet your daily or weekly requirements, as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggested.
- While riding your bike, you can read or watch your favorite TV show, encouraging you to exercise longer without getting bored.
- Research indicates that using a recumbent bike helps enhance flexibility and range of motion by improving circulation and making bodily tissues more elastic or easier to move (Source: the University of Medicine and Pharmacy Cluj-Napoca)
- Recumbent cycling improves strength and power: A study showed that healthy older women boosted their muscle strength, energy, and functional abilities after using a bike for eight weeks (Source: Journal of Physical Therapy Science)
7- Cruise Cycling
We have all experienced days where we feel bored, and nothing seems to be helping our mood. Well, in such times, going on a cruise cycling journey would help you a lot. Cruiser cycles have a comfortable seat and wide tires that help you enjoy a great cycling experience.
Cruise cycling, often called beach cruise, is a popular type of biking explicitly designed for comfortable and recreational cycling.
You can take your cruiser bike and have a leisure ride around your town. Experience nature, ride around the local lake, go to parks, and visit whatever place you want, but do it all on your cruiser bike.
Benefits Of Cruise Cycling:
- Cruise cycling is a great way to keep yourself active while on vacation because biking is a naturally low-impact workout.
- Cruise cycling will also help you get a full-body workout, build and strengthen your muscles, improve flexibility, fight fatigue, and uplift your mood.
- Cruise cycling will help you enjoy nature or discover the city you visit while exercising.
8- Cyclocross Cycling (CX Cycling)
Cyclocross cycling, also known as a “cx bike,” “cross bike,” or “cyclocross bike,” is a very fun cycling sport where riders have to race on a combination of different types of terrain including dirt and snow (mostly dirt trails). Cyclocross is a unique cycling type that combines road cycling, mountain biking, and steeplechase (Souce: USA Cycling)
While racing, the riders come across certain obstacles, and sometimes, to overcome those obstacles, the rider has to get off their bike, move it ahead of the obstacle, and then continue riding their bike.
The different types of terrain also make the race trickier. Cyclocross cycles have a different frame design and tires than most other bikes on our list; however, their tires are closer to those of mountain bikes, while their frame is somewhat similar to road racing bikes.
Benefits Of Cyclocross Cycling:
- Like other types of cycling, cyclocross cycling can help prevent serious diseases, including stroke, cancers, heart attack, depression, diabetes, obesity, and arthritis (Source: Better Health).
- Cyclocross cycling promotes balance and coordination and better sleep.
- Cyclocross cycling is an excellent way to challenge yourself, enjoy nature and socialize.
A unicycle looks similar to a bicycle, except a unicycle has only one wheel and no handlebar. Unicycling is one of those fun activities that everyone wants to try at least once in their lifetime.
However, seeing people unicycle might make you feel like anyone can do it, but it is more difficult than one can imagine. Even though you may not see unicycles on the road, they are quite popular.
These days’ unicycles are usually seen in circuses, and one reason for that is the high level of practice and skill required to ride a cycle with no handlebars and only one tire.
Benefits Of Unicycling:
- Unicycling promotes balance and concentration: Even though unicycling is not as complex as bicycling; however, it requires you to master a new skill set to balance and focus.
- Unicycling increases stamina as it forces you to stay balanced. To keep yourself balanced on the unicycle, you need to focus on freeing the mind and letting go of stress.
- Unicycling is a low-impact workout that provides the same cardiovascular benefits as many more strenuous activities.
- Unicycling is a standard component of the Japanese educational curriculum because it teaches and enhances balance and motor skills. Unicycling became popular in 1989 when Japan’s Ministry of Education made it a part of the Japanese physical education curriculum for third and fourth graders (Souce: Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan)
The Progress of Cycling Over the Years
These are just nine of the most popular forms of cycling. There are many other cycling techniques out here. Like all other things, cycling has progressed significantly over the years. New and improved cycles and cycling techniques have been introduced.
One of those examples is Electrical Bikes. Like electric cars, e-biking is also gaining a lot of popularity. Many cycling brands now offer e-bikes, but in reality, any bike that can be modified to have an electric component to it can be considered an e-bike.
Some e-bikes have a motor that helps boost the pedal, which increases the bike’s speed without having the rider pedal hard. In addition, some cycling events (including international events) allow cyclists to have an electronic gear switching system on their bicycles.
Things have further progressed from e-bikes as well. Nowadays, you can find smart cycles as well. These cycles have smart features that help optimize the bike’s functionality and safety.
Smart cycles can be great for people who use cycles daily. It can make them feel safer while they are on the road.