When I was a little kid, my parents bought me a pink bike with those ribbons and rings on it. I was so glad that I rode my bike anywhere with me and I showed it off to my friends and neighbors. I had this neighbor who had a larger, taller and fancier bicycle and called himself “a cyclist”. I remembered when I was riding my pink bike and I told him I was a cyclist after I got my pink bike, he laughed and told me that I was not a cyclist because all I did was riding my pink bike to school and back home and a cyclist was more than that. I asked my mom why I was not a cyclist and she told me that when I grew up I would find out the answer. At that time I was too young to understand his words and it had become the “unsolved mystery” that haunting me all the time: why I was not a cyclist? What are the differences between biking and cycling? After so many years and experiencing many things, I am writing this passage to tell that little girl the answer I found.
I searched for the American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition and it says a bike refers to a bicycle, a motorcycle or a motorbike and biking means to ride a bike. The example it gives me is that I bike to school.
According to Wikipedia, cycling also called bicycling or biking. And it is the use of bicycles for transport, recreation, exercise or sport. Persons 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, quadricycles, recumbent and similar human-powered vehicles (HPVs). Once I saw on a dictionary that cycling refers to the sport of traveling on a bicycle or motorcycle.
Still very confused, right? And then to make myself clearer, I go into the history of biking and cycling, the skills and the budget of the bicycle for biking and cycling.
3. The history of biking and cycling
It is said that a French Sivrac invented the first simple wood bike which without driving unit or steering device as early as the end of 18 century. And then Baron Karl von Drais, a German, invented a wooden bicycle with handlebars in 1817 and in 1839 the first mechanically propelled the two-wheel vehicle is believed by some to have been built by Kirkpatrick MacMillan. Later, the bicycles were constantly improved and a modern form of bicycles was born in 1874. I believe that after the introduction of the bicycle, people had started to use bicycles for transportation or recreation because of its convenience and less pollution. However, Paris–Brest–Paris (PBP), which began in 1891, is the oldest bicycling event still run on a regular basis on the open road, covers over 1,200 km (746 miles) and imposes a 90-hour time limit. That is to say, cycling as a competition began in 1891, much later than the invention of the bicycle. And for me, I would like to call the use of the bicycle for transportation, recreation as “biking”, and the use for events or competition or long distance travel as “cycling”.
4. The budget
Usually, if a person wants to buy a bicycle for “biking”, he would not spend thousands of dollars for it. But, usually, a professional cyclist would very be willing to spend thousands of dollars for a professional, fancy bicycle with good performance as long as he can afford it. It makes me thinking of my pink bike which only cost my parents a hundred bucks and now I know that it was totally out of place for cycling as it didn’t have the needed performance. Basically, the reason why a bicycle for cycling is more expensive than the bicycle for biking is its equipment. The equipment is designed for cycling so it has a better performance and a higher strength. Let’s take a mountain bike for example. Mountain bike has transmission system which can effectively improve the power output. At the same time, by adjusting speed, you can increase speed, you can get higher torque, and you can save more energy for long-distance cycling. These are impossible for ordinary bicycles. Some of the mountain bikes even have damping system, which enhances the ability to go over the bad road and the comfort degree of cycling. Usually, the mountain bike has the V brake disc brake assembly collocation, which makes the braking ability of mountain bike is obviously better than the ordinary bicycles.
As you know, if we biking for transportation or recreation, we don’t need to pay so much attention to the “biking skills”. Mostly, what we do is getting on the bike and starting to step on the pedals making it run. If we want to ride a little bit fast, we step harder and faster. When turning, we slow down. However, if we are cycling on the road especially when we are having a cycling event, it is necessary to learn some cycling skills to keep yourself safe and sound as it’s faster and fiercer than biking in the city. I guess no one wants to get hurt, right? So, learn some skills to stay safe when you are cycling or biking if you want. It won’t hurt you anyway.
There are still more slight differences between biking and cycling. Basically, from my point of view, biking is a kind of leisure lifestyle, for transportation, recreation, especially when you are riding a bike going through the park for some sightseeing. It’s a green way of transportation as it can reduce greenhouse gas emission. Cycling is more like a competition or a long distance traveling, which need more grit, individual will and energy. And it can burn more calories, indeed. Well, I think I have given my answer to the little girl, have you figured it out yet?