- changing gear a bike ride from britain to bulgaria Manual
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Military uses of bicycles include communications , reconnaissance , troop movement, supply of provisions, and patrol. See also: bicycle infantry. The bicycle is also used for recreational purposes, such as bicycle touring , mountain biking , physical fitness , and play. Bicycle competition includes racing , BMX racing , track racing , criterium , roller racing , sportives and time trials.
Bikes can be used for entertainment and pleasure, such as in organised mass rides, artistic cycling and freestyle BMX. The bicycle has undergone continual adaptation and improvement since its inception.
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These innovations have continued with the advent of modern materials and computer-aided design, allowing for a proliferation of specialized bicycle types, improved bicycle safety , and riding comfort. Bicycles can be categorized in many different ways: by function, by number of riders, by general construction, by gearing or by means of propulsion.
The more common types include utility bicycles , mountain bicycles , racing bicycles , touring bicycles , hybrid bicycles , cruiser bicycles , and BMX bikes. Less common are tandems , low riders , tall bikes , fixed gear , folding models , amphibious bicycles , freight bicycles , recumbents and electric bicycles. Unicycles , tricycles and quadracycles are not strictly bicycles, as they have respectively one, three and four wheels, but are often referred to informally as "bikes" or "cycles".
A bicycle stays upright while moving forward by being steered so as to keep its center of mass over the wheels. The combined center of mass of a bicycle and its rider must lean into a turn to successfully navigate it. This lean is induced by a method known as countersteering , which can be performed by the rider turning the handlebars directly with the hands  or indirectly by leaning the bicycle. Short-wheelbase or tall bicycles, when braking, can generate enough stopping force at the front wheel to flip longitudinally. The bicycle is extraordinarily efficient in both biological and mechanical terms.
The bicycle is the most efficient human-powered means of transportation in terms of energy a person must expend to travel a given distance. Air drag, which is proportional to the square of speed, requires dramatically higher power outputs as speeds increase. Drag can be reduced by seating the rider in a more aerodynamically streamlined position. Drag can also be reduced by covering the bicycle with an aerodynamic fairing.
changing gear a bike ride from britain to bulgaria Manual
The fastest recorded unpaced speed on a flat surface is The great majority of modern bicycles have a frame with upright seating that looks much like the first chain-driven bike. The front triangle consists of the head tube, top tube, down tube, and seat tube. The head tube contains the headset , the set of bearings that allows the fork to turn smoothly for steering and balance. The top tube connects the head tube to the seat tube at the top, and the down tube connects the head tube to the bottom bracket.
The rear triangle consists of the seat tube and paired chain stays and seat stays. The chain stays run parallel to the chain , connecting the bottom bracket to the rear dropout , where the axle for the rear wheel is held.
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The seat stays connect the top of the seat tube at or near the same point as the top tube to the rear fork ends. Historically, women's bicycle frames had a top tube that connected in the middle of the seat tube instead of the top, resulting in a lower standover height at the expense of compromised structural integrity, since this places a strong bending load in the seat tube, and bicycle frame members are typically weak in bending.
This design, referred to as a step-through frame or as an open frame , allows the rider to mount and dismount in a dignified way while wearing a skirt or dress. While some women's bicycles continue to use this frame style, there is also a variation, the mixte , which splits the top tube laterally into two thinner top tubes that bypass the seat tube on each side and connect to the rear fork ends.
The ease of stepping through is also appreciated by those with limited flexibility or other joint problems. Because of its persistent image as a "women's" bicycle, step-through frames are not common for larger frames. Step-throughs were popular partly for practical reasons and partly for social mores of the day. For most of the history of bicycles' popularity women have worn long skirts, and the lower frame accommodated these better than the top-tube.
Furthermore, it was considered "unladylike" for women to open their legs to mount and dismount—in more conservative times women who rode bicycles at all were vilified as immoral or immodest. These practices were akin to the older practice of riding horse sidesaddle. Another style is the recumbent bicycle. These are inherently more aerodynamic than upright versions, as the rider may lean back onto a support and operate pedals that are on about the same level as the seat.
The world's fastest bicycle is a recumbent bicycle but this type was banned from competition in by the Union Cycliste Internationale. Historically, materials used in bicycles have followed a similar pattern as in aircraft, the goal being high strength and low weight. Since the late s alloy steels have been used for frame and fork tubes in higher quality machines. By the s aluminum welding techniques had improved to the point that aluminum tube could safely be used in place of steel. Since then aluminum alloy frames and other components have become popular due to their light weight, and most mid-range bikes are now principally aluminum alloy of some kind.
Virtually all professional racing bicycles now use carbon fibre frames, as they have the best strength to weight ratio.
A typical modern carbon fiber frame can weighs less than 1 kilogram 2. Other exotic frame materials include titanium and advanced alloys. Bamboo , a natural composite material with high strength-to-weight ratio and stiffness  has been used for bicycles since The drivetrain begins with pedals which rotate the cranks , which are held in axis by the bottom bracket. Most bicycles use a chain to transmit power to the rear wheel.
A very small number of bicycles use a shaft drive to transmit power, or special belts. Hydraulic bicycle transmissions have been built, but they are currently inefficient and complex. Since cyclists' legs are most efficient over a narrow range of pedaling speeds, or cadence , a variable gear ratio helps a cyclist to maintain an optimum pedalling speed while covering varied terrain.
Most bikes have two or three chainrings, and from 5 to 11 sprockets on the back, with the number of theoretical gears calculated by multiplying front by back. In reality, many gears overlap or require the chain to run diagonally, so the number of usable gears is fewer.
An alternative to chaindrive is to use a synchronous belt. These are toothed and work much the same as a chain—popular with commuters and long distance cyclists they require little maintenance.
They can't be shifted across a cassette of sprockets, and are used either as single speed or with a hub gear. Different gears and ranges of gears are appropriate for different people and styles of cycling. Multi-speed bicycles allow gear selection to suit the circumstances: a cyclist could use a high gear when cycling downhill, a medium gear when cycling on a flat road, and a low gear when cycling uphill.
In a lower gear every turn of the pedals leads to fewer rotations of the rear wheel. This allows the energy required to move the same distance to be distributed over more pedal turns, reducing fatigue when riding uphill, with a heavy load, or against strong winds. A higher gear allows a cyclist to make fewer pedal turns to maintain a given speed, but with more effort per turn of the pedals. With a chain drive transmission, a chainring attached to a crank drives the chain, which in turn rotates the rear wheel via the rear sprocket s cassette or freewheel. There are four gearing options: two-speed hub gear integrated with chain ring, up to 3 chain rings, up to 11 sprockets, hub gear built into rear wheel 3-speed to speed.
The most common options are either a rear hub or multiple chain rings combined with multiple sprockets other combinations of options are possible but less common. The handlebars connect to the stem that connects to the fork that connects to the front wheel, and the whole assembly connects to the bike and rotates about the steering axis via the headset bearings.
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Three styles of handlebar are common. Upright handlebars , the norm in Europe and elsewhere until the s, curve gently back toward the rider, offering a natural grip and comfortable upright position. Drop handlebars "drop" as they curve forward and down, offering the cyclist best braking power from a more aerodynamic "crouched" position, as well as more upright positions in which the hands grip the brake lever mounts, the forward curves, or the upper flat sections for increasingly upright postures.
Mountain bikes generally feature a 'straight handlebar' or 'riser bar' with varying degrees of sweep backwards and centimeters rise upwards, as well as wider widths which can provide better handling due to increased leverage against the wheel. Saddles also vary with rider preference, from the cushioned ones favored by short-distance riders to narrower saddles which allow more room for leg swings. Comfort depends on riding position. With comfort bikes and hybrids, cyclists sit high over the seat, their weight directed down onto the saddle, such that a wider and more cushioned saddle is preferable.
For racing bikes where the rider is bent over, weight is more evenly distributed between the handlebars and saddle, the hips are flexed, and a narrower and harder saddle is more efficient. Differing saddle designs exist for male and female cyclists, accommodating the genders' differing anatomies and sit bone width measurements, although bikes typically are sold with saddles most appropriate for men.
Suspension seat posts and seat springs provide comfort by absorbing shock but can add to the overall weight of the bicycle. A recumbent bicycle has a reclined chair-like seat that some riders find more comfortable than a saddle, especially riders who suffer from certain types of seat, back, neck, shoulder, or wrist pain. Recumbent bicycles may have either under-seat or over-seat steering. Bicycle brakes may be rim brakes, in which friction pads are compressed against the wheel rims; hub brakes, where the mechanism is contained within the wheel hub, or disc brakes, where pads act on a rotor attached to the hub.
Most road bicycles use rim brakes, but some use disk brakes. With hand-operated brakes, force is applied to brake levers mounted on the handlebars and transmitted via Bowden cables or hydraulic lines to the friction pads, which apply pressure to the braking surface, causing friction which slows the bicycle down. A rear hub brake may be either hand-operated or pedal-actuated, as in the back pedal coaster brakes which were popular in North America until the s.
Track bicycles do not have brakes, because all riders ride in the same direction around a track which does not necessitate sharp deceleration. Track riders are still able to slow down because all track bicycles are fixed-gear, meaning that there is no freewheel. Without a freewheel, coasting is impossible, so when the rear wheel is moving, the cranks are moving. To slow down, the rider applies resistance to the pedals, acting as a braking system which can be as effective as a conventional rear wheel brake, but not as effective as a front wheel brake.
Bicycle suspension refers to the system or systems used to suspend the rider and all or part of the bicycle. This serves two purposes: to keep the wheels in continuous contact with the ground, improving control, and to isolate the rider and luggage from jarring due to rough surfaces, improving comfort. Bicycle suspensions are used primarily on mountain bicycles, but are also common on hybrid bicycles, as they can help deal with problematic vibration from poor surfaces.
Suspension is especially important on recumbent bicycles, since while an upright bicycle rider can stand on the pedals to achieve some of the benefits of suspension, a recumbent rider cannot.