04 January 2012 4:45PM

Cycling 101


Road cycling is the most popular form of all the types of cycling. It involves bicycling on paved roads and is a professional sport as well as a mode of transportation and a recreational activity. Road bikes are more lightweight than other types of bicycles, such as mountain bikes. They may be made of steel, titanium, aluminum, carbon fiber, or a composite, which is a combination of materials. Road bicycles can be quite expensive, depending on the technology you choose and the accessories you select for yours.

Adventure cycling is another form of road cycling, and is gaining in popularity as the world works to become more green. Adventure cycling involves traveling by bicycle for days or weeks at a time (or even longer), enjoying the freedom of self-reliance. Some adventure cyclists camp out during these trips, while others choose to stay in hotels in between days of cycling.

Bicycles are often used by people seeking to improve their fitness and cardiovascular health. In this regard, cycling is especially helpful for those with arthritis of the lower limbs who are unable to pursue sports that cause impact to the knees and other joints. Since cycling can be used for the practical purpose of transportation, there can be less need for self-discipline to exercise.

Cycling while seated is a relatively non-weight bearing exercise that, like swimming, does little to promote bone density. Cycling up and out of the saddle, on the other hand, does a better job by transferring more of the rider's body weight to the legs. However, excessive cycling while standing can cause knee damage. It used to be thought that cycling while standing was less energy efficient, but recent research has proven this not to be true. Other than air resistance, there is no wasted energy from cycling while standing if it is done correctly.

Cycling on a stationary cycle is frequently advocated as a suitable exercise for rehabilitation, particularly for lower limb injury, owing to the low impact which it has on the joints. In particular, cycling is commonly used within knee rehabilitation programs.

If you've never exercised (or it's been awhile) a stationary bike is a nice choice.  Because bikes offer resistance for you to work against (rather than your own body weight), you can allow your body time to get used to exercise without impact.  Please modify according to your fitness level. 

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