There are many different kinds of bicycles. Most people have a standard picture of a bicycle in their mind, but there are actually quite a few varieties. The word “bicycle” necessarily means two wheels, but there are many different wheel arrangements, the most common being unicycles and tricycles. There are also bikes that are meant for more than one rider, which are called tandem bicycles. There was once a bicycle constructed for 40 riders. Even within the somewhat standard two-wheel, one-passenger category, there are still some significant differences. Some of the various categories of bicycles include:

Utility bicycles. A utility bicycle is built for comfort, as it is often wide, heavy, and may have a basket. It is a “traditional” bicycle in that many people have a picture of this in their mind when they think of a bike. It is meant for general recreation, errand running, etc.

Mountain bicycles. A mountain bike is designed for off-road or trail riding. They are typically very durable frames, often fairly wide, and have thick, wide-gauge tires for enhanced traction. They may also have some form of suspension to help the rider react to rough terrain.

Racing bicycles. A racing bike is much lighter than other bicycles and is built for speed. It will usually have very thin, high-pressure tires to minimize resistance and many gears to optimize the riders’ effort output. Within racing bicycles, there are two other categories: time trial bikes and track bikes. Time trial bikes are similar to road bikes or racing bikes, except that they are constructed so that the rider is in an extremely aerodynamic position. Track bikes are meant for use on specific bicycle tracks or velodromes, and are bare-bones (with only one gear and no brakes).

Touring bicycles. Touring bikes are meant for long journeys, so they are built for comfort. Because they are designed for traveling over long distances, they are sometimes equipped with racks for luggage and large bags.

Recumbent bicycles. Recumbent bicycles are different from the others because the rider is seated in an almost reclining position instead of the more traditional “upright” style. They are designed for the utmost rider comfort and minimal wind resistance. Because the supine position of the rider can be more comfortable, they are also well-suited for longer distances.

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Joseph Devine

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