In this section you will find information about Bicycle Touring, Road Bicycle Racing, Track Cycling, Time Trialling, Mountain Biking, BMX and Trail Cycling.
Bicycle touring is a form of cycling where riders travel long distances, prioritizing pleasure and endurance over utility or speed. Touring can vary from single day ‘supported’ rides eg rides to benefit charities where provisions are available to riders at stops along the route, to multi-day trips with solo or group riders carrying all necessary equipment, tools, food, and clothing.
Bicycle touring is an activity as old as the bicycle. The historian James McGurn speaks of bets being taken in London in the 19th century for riders of hobby-horses – machines pushed by the feet rather than pedaled – outspeeding stage coaches.
The expansion from a machine that had to be pushed, or propelled through pedals on a small front wheel, made longer distances feasible. A rider calling himself “A Light Dragoon” told in 1870 or 1871 of a ride from Lewes to Salisbury, across southern England.
Journeys grew more adventurous. John Foster Fraser and two friends set off round the world on safety bicycles in July 1896. He, Edward Lunn and F. H. Lowe rode 19,237 miles, through 17 countries, in two years and two months. By 1878, recreational cycling was well enough established in Britain to lead to the formation of the Bicycle Touring Club, later renamed Cyclists’ Touring Club.
It is the oldest national tourism organisation in the world. Members, like those of other clubs, often rode in uniform. The CTC appointed an official tailor. The uniform was a dark green Devonshire serge jacket, knickerbockers and a “Stanley helmet with a small peak”. The colour changed to grey when green proved impractical because it showed the dirt.
Groups often rode with a bugler at their head to sound changes of direction or to bring the group to a halt. Confusion could be caused when groups met and mistook each other’s signals.
ROAD BICYCLE RACING
Road bicycle racing is a bicycle racing sport held on roads, using racing bicycles. The term “road racing” is usually applied to events where competing riders start simultaneously (unless riding a handicap event) with the winner being the first to the line at the end of the course.
ROAD BICYLE RACING
Road bicycle racing began as an organized sport in 1868. The first world championship was in 1893 and cycling has been part of the Olympic Games since the modern sequence started in Athens in 1896.
Road racing in its modern form originated in the late 19th century. The sport was popular in the western European countries of France, Spain, Belgium, and Italy. Some of Europe’s earliest road bicycle races remain among the sport’s biggest events. These early races include Liège–Bastogne–Liège (established 1892), Paris–Roubaix (1896), the Tour de France (1903), the Milan – San Remo and Giro di Lombardia (1905), the Giro d’Italia (1909) and the Ronde van Vlaanderen (1913). They provided a template for other races around the world. While the sport has spread throughout the world, these historic races remain the most prestigious for a cyclist to win.
ROAD RACE TYPES
- Criterium – short course (usually under 5 km); mass start
- Circuit race – medium course (5–10 km); mass start
- Road race – long course (usually over 60 km) can be several laps or a single lap; mass start
- Time trial – medium course (usually 20–50 km); solo start. Also known as the “Race of truth.”
The first competitor to cross the finish line after completing the prescribed course is usually declared the winner. However, in some one-day races competitors are individually timed, and the winner is the person who completes the race in the shortest time.
Race distances vary from a few kilometres to more than 200 km. Courses may run from place to place or comprise one or more laps of a circuit; some courses combine both, i.e., taking the riders from a starting place and then finishing with several laps of a circuit (usually to ensure a good spectacle for spectators at the finish). Races over short circuits, often in town or city centres, are known as criteriums. Some races, known as handicaps, are designed to match riders of different abilities and/or ages; groups of slower riders start first, with the fastest riders starting last and so having to race harder and faster to catch other competitors.
Track cycling is a bicycle racing sport usually held on specially-built banked tracks or velodromes (but many events are held at older velodromes where the track banking is relatively shallow) using track bicycles.
Aerodynamic drag is a significant factor in both road and track racing. Frames are often constructed of one piece of molded carbon fiber, for a lightweight and aerodynamic design. More traditional bikes might employ airfoil cross sectional shapes in the frame tubes. Ever greater attention is being paid to aerodynamics in component group design.
Given the importance of aerodynamics, the riders’ sitting position becomes extremely important. The riding position is similar to the road racing position, but is ultimately dependent on the frame geometry of the bicycle and the handlebars used. Handlebars on track bikes used for longer events such as the points race are similar to the drop bars found on road bicycles. However, in the sprint event the rider’s position is more extreme compared with a road rider. The bars are lower and the saddle is higher and more forward. Bars are often narrower with a deeper drop. Steel bars, as opposed to lighter alloys or carbon fiber, are still used by many sprinters for their higher rigidity and durability.
In timed events such as the pursuit and the time trial, riders often use aerobars or ‘triathlon bars’ similar to those found on road time trial bicycles, allowing the rider to position the arms closer together in front of the body. This results in a more horizontal back and presents the minimum frontal area to reduce drag. Aerobars can be separate bars that are attached to time trial or bull horn bars, or they can be part of a one-piece monocoque design. Use of aerobars is permitted only in pursuit and time trial events.
Formats of track cycle races are also heavily influenced by aerodynamics. If one rider closely follows, they draft or slipstream another, because the leading rider pushes air around themselves; any rider closely following has to push out less air than the lead rider and thus can travel at the same speed while expending less effort. This fact has led to a variety of racing styles that allow clever riders or teams to exploit this tactical advantage, as well as formats that simply test strength, agility, speed and endurance.
An individual time trial (ITT) is a road bicycle race in which cyclists race alone against the clock.
INDIVIDUAL TIME TRIAL
There are also track-based time trials where riders compete in velodromes, and team time trials (TTT). ITT’s are also referred to as “the race of truth”, as winning depends only on each rider’s strength and endurance, and not on help provided by team-mates and others riding ahead and creating a slipstream.
Starting times are at equal intervals, usually one or two minutes apart. The starting sequence is usually based on the finishing times in preceding races (or preceding stages in the case of a multi-stage race) with the highest ranked cyclist starting last.
Starting later gives the racer the advantage of knowing what time they need to beat (and also makes the event more interesting to spectators). Competitors are not permitted to draft (ride in the slipstream) behind each other. Any help between riders is forbidden. The rider with the fastest time is declared the winner.
Mountain biking is a sport which consists of riding bicycles off-road, often over rough terrain, using specially adapted mountain bikes. Mountain bikes share similarities with other bikes, but incorporate features designed to enhance durability and performance in rough terrain.
Mountain biking can generally be broken down into multiple categories: cross country, trail riding, all mountain, downhill, freeride, street riding, dirt jumping and trials. The vast majority of mountain biking falls into the recreational XC, and Trail Riding categories.
This individual sport requires endurance, core strength and balance, bike handling skills, and self-reliance. XC type mountain biking generally requires a smaller range of skills but a higher level of fitness than other types of mountain biking. Advanced riders pursue steep technical descents and, in the case of freeriding, downhilling, and dirt jumping, aerial maneuvers off of specially constructed jumps and ramps.
Mountain biking can be performed almost anywhere from a back yard to a gravel road, but the majority of mountain bikers ride off-road trails, whether country back roads, fire roads, or singletrack (narrow trails that wind through forests, mountains, deserts, or fields).
There are aspects of mountain biking that are more similar to trail running than regular bicycling. Because riders are often far from civilization, there is a strong ethic of self-reliance in the sport. Riders learn to repair their broken bikes or flat tires to avoid being stranded miles from help. Many riders will carry a backpack, including a water bladder, containing all the essential tools and equipment for trailside repairs, and many riders also carry emergency supplies in the case of injury miles from outside help. This reliance on survival skills accounts for the group dynamics of the sport.
Club rides and other forms of group rides are common, especially on longer treks. A combination sport named mountain bike orienteering adds the skill of map navigation to mountain biking.
Bicycle motocross or BMX refers to the sport in which the main goal is extreme racing on bicycles in motocross style on tracks with inline start and expressive obstacles, and it is also the term that refers to the bicycle itself that is designed for dirt and motocross cycling.
BMX started in the early 1970s when children began racing their bicycles on dirt tracks in southern California, drawing inspiration from the motocross superstars of the time. The size and availability of the Schwinn Sting-Ray and other wheelie bikes made them the natural bike of choice, since they were easily customized for better handling and performance.
BMX racing was a phenomenon by the mid-1970s. Children were racing standard road bikes off-road, around purpose-built tracks in California. By the middle of that decade the sport achieved critical mass, and manufacturers began creating bicycles designed especially for the sport.
The sport of Bicycle Motocross – Freestyle BMX is now one of the staple events at the annual Summer X Games Extreme Sports competition and the ETNIES backyard jam, held largely on both coasts of the United States. The popularity of the sport has increased due to its relative ease and availability of places to ride and do tricks.
In 2003, the International Olympic Committee made BMX a full medal Olympic sport for 2008 Summer Olympic Games in Beijing, China, and M?ris Štrombergs (male, for Latvia) and Anne-Caroline Chausson (female, for France) were crowned the first Olympic champions.
MUNDA BIDDI TRAIL FOUNDATION
The Munda Biddi Trail (which means path through the forest in the Nyoongar Aboriginal language) is fast becoming a world-class, nature-based, off-road cycling experience.
Connecting the Indian and Southern Oceans, the Munda Biddi Trail is a 1,000-kilometre corridor through largely undeveloped bushland. Winding its way between Perth and Albany, the Trail offers cyclists of varying abilities one of the best nature based off-road cycling experiences in the world. Whether for a half-day excursion out to a camp and back, or a two-week, end-to-end expedition, the Trail attracts thousands of riders each year – creating business opportunities along its length.
Starting in Mundaring the Trail meanders through scenic river valleys and the magnificent eucalypt forests of the State’s South West. It utilises a network of bush tracks, firebreaks and disused railway formations and has sections suitable for cyclists of all ages and experience levels. Situated a comfortable day’s ride apart are purpose-built Munda Biddi campsites with roomy camp huts and tent sites.
MUNDA BIDDI TRAIL RIDES
Family, beginner ride options on the Munda Biddi Trail within two hours’ drive of Perth.
Munda Biddi Trail map 1a – Mundaring to Jarrahdale
A pleasant 15kms loop is the Carinyah Mountain Bike Trail. Park your car just off the Brookton Highway and follow the Munda Biddi Trail for about seven kilometres past the Carinyah Camp Site – at the intersection of Dale Road turn right and follow the Carinyah Circuit signs to complete the loop back to your vehicle.
Munda Biddi Trail map 1b – Mundaring to Jarrahdale
A lovely ride suitable for beginners and families is to ride from the Jarrahdale General Store following the Munda Biddi Trail north to the Balmoral POW (prisoner of war camp) Camp – Balmoral Picnic Area 12.76kms from Jarrahdale. Apart from the first couple of kilometres which criss-crosses quite dirt back roads, the Trail follows a flat and wide disused rail formation with interesting historical interpretative signs along the way. Balmoral Picnic Area has a toilet, picnic table and parking/vehicle access.
Munda Biddi Trail map 2b – Jarrahdale to Nanga
Starting from the town of Dwellingup riders can follow the Munda Biddi Trail north for around five kilometres to Marrinup. Pleasant riding under the canopy of native trees along a mix of flat disused back roads and single track. Arriving at Marrinup Camping Area (free camping with a toilet) there is the option for riders to challenge themselves on the Marrinup Mountain Bike Trail about a ten kilometre loop.
Nearby Dwellingup Adventures has bike hire and there are a number of cafes in the area to satisfy hungry riders.
For maps and more information, visit their website