Bicycles have been around for several centuries. They have evolved in shape and size. New materials such as carbon fiber make them less heavy and easier to ride. People enjoy riding their bicycles. We can wonder if cycling is a sport though. Let’s examine this.
What is cycling
Cycling is done by a lot of people and is considered a mode of transport. People also find it relaxing so they go on trips on their bicycles. The introduction of electric bicycles has made this even more fun. Some of these bicycles can reach speeds of up to 25 miles per hour and more. The difference between bicycles and motorbikes is that you still have to use the pedals on a bicycle if you want to move forward.
There are also professional cyclists that compete in contests. They train a lot so that they are able to ride for more than 150 miles per day. This takes them several hours so it is very intense. In some instances, they have to ride uphill and climb several mountains.
They are often part of a team. Professional cyclists have a lot of coaches and mechanics. If their tire runs flat, they can get a new bike during the contest so that they don’t lose too much time. They also spend a lot of time finding the best materials and systems so that they can win. It is also a very strategic sport as riders try to determine when they should attack. This is all planned out in advance and the teams scout the terrain to know every detail before the contest starts.
Cycling has been part of the Olympics for more than a century so it has a rich history. For more than 100 years people have been competing to win cycling contests. The famous Tour de France is just one example. This event has become more professional in recent decades and is televised worldwide.
Now that we know more about cycling, let’s take a look at the meaning of sports.
What is a sport?
The word “sport” is used as a synonym for physical activity or exercise. You might say that someone is a “sport” because they are active and fit. But what does it mean to be a sport? In the broad definition, it means a physical activity that requires certain skills.
Stricter definitions also require that sports have a competitive element. An activity needs 3 components before it can be considered a sport according to these definitions:
1/ A physical activity
2/ That requires a skill
3/ And has a competitive element
In today’s world, most sports involve competitive games where the goal is to beat your opponent. This means that you can’t participate in a sport without having an opponent.
A lot of sports can be viewed on TV and a lot of people have a favorite athlete. This can inspire them to start practicing this sport as well.
Now that we know what sports is, we can determine if cycling is a sport.
Is cycling a sport?
Let’s take a look at the previous definitions to see if cycling can be considered a sport.
Cycling has a physical element as riders have to use their hand and feet to move the bicycle forward and steer it in the right direction.
Some argue that cycling doesn’t require a lot of skill. We don’t agree with this as cyclists use techniques to drive faster. For example, when they go down a mountain they often lean forward to increase their speed. The way they sit on the bicycle has an impact on the end result. Furthermore, they can change their rhythm during the contest so there is some skill required. These athletes also have to follow very strict training regimens. They also try to optimize their outfit and bicycle so that they don’t have to carry too much weight. All of these elements add up and point toward the need for a certain skill.
Cycling can also have a competitive element. In most instances, the goal is to be the first one that rides a number of miles. This is often done in teams. Athletes can work together to win the contest. Each team has specialists: from sprinters, attackers, and helpers to climbers. The goal is to find the right balance and help each other out. There are also individual contests where each rider has to finish as fast as possible. Most contests take only 1 day but there are also contests that take several weeks (such as The Tour de France or Giro). These athletes can also get rewards if they win the most sprints or are the first ones on the top of a mountain.
There are also referees that keep an eye on the athletes to make sure that they follow the rules. It is not allowed to use a motor or other mechanical help that can provide an advantage.
Based on the previous, we can state that cycling is a sport as it fulfills all the required criteria. When you are just riding around with your friends, there is no competitive element. In that instance, it is not really considered a sport in a more narrow definition. There are a lot of contests though in these instances cycling can be considered a sport. Cycling is very popular in Europe and Asia. It is still gaining popularity in the USA.
There are also variants such as offroad cycling. Athletes have to compete in the mud and try to finish as soon as possible. There is also indoor cycling. Athletes ride on an oval circuit and have to complete several laps.
To conclude, we can state that cycling has a rich history. It can be considered a sport has given that it is a physical activity that requires some skill and can have a competitive element. It attracts a lot of attention and this is why teams can get sponsorships and grow. There are a lot of people involved in this sport, from athletes, and mechanics to team leaders. We can expect that it will become more popular in the USA as well.