Portal:Cycling

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Introduction

Tro-Bro Léon racing, 2009

Cycling, also called biking or bicycling, is the use of bicycles for transport, recreation, exercise or sport. People engaged in cycling are referred to as "cyclists", "bikers", or less commonly, as "bicyclists". Apart from two-wheeled bicycles, "cycling" also includes the riding of unicycles, tricycles, quadracycles, recumbent and similar human-powered vehicles (HPVs).

Bicycles were introduced in the 19th century and now number approximately one billion worldwide. They are the principal means of transportation in many parts of the world.

Cycling is widely regarded as a very effective and efficient mode of transportation optimal for short to moderate distances.

Bicycles provide numerous benefits in comparison with motor vehicles, including the sustained physical exercise involved in cycling, easier parking, increased maneuverability, and access to roads, bike paths and rural trails. Cycling also offers a reduced consumption of fossil fuels, less air or noise pollution, and much reduced traffic congestion. These lead to less financial cost to the user as well as to society at large (negligible damage to roads, less road area required).By fitting bicycle racks on the front of buses, transit agencies can significantly increase the areas they can serve.

Among the disadvantages of cycling are the requirement of bicycles (excepting tricycles or quadracycles) to be balanced by the rider in order to remain upright, the reduced protection in crashes in comparison to motor vehicles, often longer travel time (except in densely populated areas), vulnerability to weather conditions, difficulty in transporting passengers, and the fact that a basic level of fitness is required for cycling moderate to long distances.

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BikeModel.jpg
Bicycle and motorcycle dynamics is the science of the motion of bicycles and motorcycles and their components, due to the forces acting on them. Dynamics is a branch of classical mechanics, which in turn is a branch of physics. Bike motions of interest include balancing, steering, braking, accelerating, suspension activation, and vibration. The study of these motions began in the late 19th century and continues today.

Bicycles and motorcycles are both single-track vehicles and so their motions have many fundamental attributes in common and are fundamentally different from and more difficult to study than other wheeled vehicles such as dicycles, tricycles, and quadracycles. As with unicycles, bikes lack lateral stability when stationary, and under most circumstances can only remain upright when moving forward. Experimentation and mathematical analysis have shown that a bike stays upright when it is steered to keep its center of mass over its wheels. This steering is usually supplied by a rider, or in certain circumstances, by the bike itself. Several factors, including geometry, mass distribution, and gyroscopic effect all contribute in varying degrees to this self-stability, but long-standing hypotheses and claims that any single effect, such as gyroscopic or trail, is solely responsible for the stabilizing force have been discredited.

While remaining upright may be the primary goal of beginning riders, a bike must lean in order to maintain balance in a turn: the higher the speed or smaller the turn radius, the more lean is required. This balances the roll torque about the wheel contact patches generated by centrifugal force due to the turn with that of the gravitational force. This lean is usually produced by a momentary steering in the opposite direction, called countersteering. Countersteering skill is usually acquired by motor learning and executed via procedural memory rather than by conscious thought. Unlike other wheeled vehicles, the primary control input on bikes is steering torque, not position.

Although longitudinally stable when stationary, bikes often have a high enough center of mass and a short enough wheelbase to lift a wheel off the ground under sufficient acceleration or deceleration. When braking, depending on the location of the combined center of mass of the bike and rider with respect to the point where the front wheel contacts the ground, bikes can either skid the front wheel or flip the bike and rider over the front wheel. A similar situation is possible while accelerating, but with respect to the rear wheel.

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Eddy Merckx
Edouard Louis Joseph, Baron Merckx (Dutch pronunciation: [ˈmɛrks]) (born 17 June 1945), better known as Eddy Merckx, is a Belgian former professional road and track bicycle racer. He was born in Meensel-Kiezegem, Brabant, Belgium to a couple who ran a grocery store. He grew up playing several sports, but found his true passion in cycling. Merckx got his first bicycle at the age of three or four and competed in his first race in 1961. His first victory came at Petit-Enghien in October 1961.

After winning eighty races as an amateur racer, he turned professional on 29 April 1965 when he signed with Solo-Superia where his first major victory came in the Milan–San Remo a year later after switching to Peugeot-BP-Michelin. Following the 1967 season, Merckx moved to Faema where he won the Giro d'Italia, his first of eleven Grand Tour victories – a record that still stands today. Four times between 1970 to 1974, Merckx managed to complete a Grand Tour double. His final double also coincided with winning the men's road race at the UCI Road World Championships to make him the first rider to accomplish cycling's Triple Crown. Merckx broke the hour record in October 1972, extending the record by almost 800 meters.

He acquired the nickname "The Cannibal" after a teammate told his daughter of how Merckx wouldn't let anyone else win and the daughter referred to him as a cannibal. Merckx finished his eighteen-year career with 525 victories to his credit. He is one of only three riders to have won all five 'Monuments of Cycling' (i.e., Milan–San Remo, Tour of Flanders, Paris–Roubaix, Liège–Bastogne–Liège, and the Giro di Lombardia). The other two are fellow Belgians Roger De Vlaeminck and Rik Van Looy. The only major one-day race he did not win was Paris–Tours; his best performance was sixth in 1973. Merckx was able to achieve success on the road and on the track, as well as in the large stage races and one-day races. He is widely thought to be the greatest and most successful rider in the history of cycling. However, Merckx was caught in three separate doping incidents during his career.

Since Merckx's retirement from the sport on 18 May 1978, he has remained active in the cycling world. He began his own bicycle chain, Eddy Merckx Cycles, in 1980 and its bicycles were used by several professional teams in the 1980s and 1990s. Merckx coached the Belgian national cycling team for eleven years, stopping in 1996. in 2001, he played a large role in getting the Tour of Qatar organized and geared to start up in 2002. He co-owns the tour and also the Tour of Oman, both of which he still organizes.

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Mario Cipollini, on his return from retirement to win the 2002 World Cycling Championship

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