Road cycling (or just cycling) is a sport in which anyone of any age can participate. This biking discipline allows you to travel further and see more than you would normally with hiking or running. From cycling on winding country roads to training for an event or race, or navigating the streets of a busy city, Bicycles now number about one billion worldwide and are the principal means of transportation in many parts of the world.
Cycling became immensely popular during the 1880’s in both Europe and the United States and during the last 20 years road cycling has experienced a movement towards globalization. Cycling is considered one of the rarer sports featured in the Olympics since it’s inception with the first road event taking place in Athens in 1896. Since then, the individual pursuit, team time trial, and track have been introduced. Recognition of women in cycling came in 1984 when the women’s road event was included in the Los Angeles Olympics. Outside of the Olympics the most prominent of road races is the Tour de France, a 21 day stage race touted as the most grueling test of endurance in the world.
Road cycling’s roots are deeply imbedded in the European culture, and the invention of the derailleur provided these ambitious riders with the ability to ascend mountain roads in the Alps, Pyrenees, and Dolomites. The increase in road cycling competitions eventually led to the formation of the UCI, Union Cycliste Internationale, and races such as the above mentioned Tour de France. The Giro d’Italia and Vuelta a Espana are similar to the Tour de France and were inspired by La Grande Boucle. Single day races such as the Paris-Roubaix and World Championships have encouraged cycling enthusiasts, globally, to ride their bikes.
These early racers knew the training requirements to complete such a physically demanding races, so cyclocross was born out of the need to train during the winter months. Cyclocross is a hybrid form of road cycling, bicycling off-road, but it's not mountain biking. Cross bikes are nearly identical to a traditional road bikes except for its wheels. Cyclocross bikes have tread on their tires for the purpose of riding on unpaved roads and rough trails. Road cycling evolved into many other forms over the years, but still remains an accessible method of activity for all. Cycling is a sport where technology matters and these once two-wheeled mechanisms with pedals, gears, and brakes are now elite, engineered machines that have revolutionized the sport. The attraction of cycling is its versatility. The road bike can be a form of transportation, a leisure activity, a social networking tool, or a vehicle for racing to be one’s best.
Road racing in Europe is still commonplace, and cycling holidays are growing in popularity, especially for many North Americans. Canadians and Americans travel to Europe each year for training. Most North American cyclists target Spain, France, and Italy, which are the homes to popular mountain roads in the Pyrenees, Alps, and Dolomites. During warmer months, North America has first-class road cycling and many professional races featuring routes within USA and Canada. The sport has grown south of the border to Central and South America, and further throughout Asia and Australia. Road cycling is a truly global sport, it’s a language we all understand, and one that provides many hours of enjoyment and health benefits.
Utilize enduranceunltd.com to organize your group rides or to meet new individuals with an interest in road cycling. This is a unique tool that allows you to road bike with others, because we know what it’s like to ride alone. Challenge one another or enjoy a social ride with new or old friends. Endurance Unlimited helps you exercise together in order to stay fit, reach your goals, or simply meet other like-minded individuals. Sign up now and get out for a road bike ride with some friends today!