Ask anyone about cycling and you can be guaranteed to get some sort of answer. For such is the widespread appeal of getting around on two wheels that you’ll be hard pushed to find anyone in the world who hasn’t ever tried, or at least heard about, the sport of cycling. One of the reasons it captures so many people’s imagination is because of the variety it offers. You might be using your bike to commute to work or get in a little daily exercise, or you might be in training for the Tour de France or the Downhill World Cup. Whatever level you’re cycling at, you’re still taking part in the same two-wheeled activity as an estimated one billion other people from across the globe. But while you might be familiar with the art of peddling, we’ve come across a few interesting facts about bikes that you might not have discovered yet.
A tandem bike is designed to seat two riders with two sets of pedals, meaning that while only one person can steer, both are helping to power the cycle. This style of bike is called a tandem because of the seating positions of the riders; the word tandem means ‘one following or behind the other’. While tandems can be popular for romantic days out or lengthy countryside tours, the most famous tandem built was over 67 feet long and could seat 35 riders, absolutely perfect for taking your extended siblings on fun family holidays abroad.
Strange but True
In Mexico, it is illegal for a rider to lift either foot off the pedal while the bike is in motion. Apparently it’s to help prevent loss of control and was brought in back in 1895 after a coach killed a cyclist in a hit and run incident. Strange as that law is, it’s not as weird as the local bylaw in the state of Idaho which prohibits riders from leaving bicycles on tennis courts, or the one in Baldwin Park, California which makes it illegal for anyone to ride a bike in a swimming pool!
Bicycle Helmets Laws
While most cyclists understand the necessity (and benefit) of sporting a cycle helmet while on two wheels, some countries and cities have introduced laws prohibiting the use of bicycles if the rider isn’t wearing a helmet at all. Their aim to reduce road deaths may have been an admirable one, but it seems the vast majority of their independent populations didn’t agree. Mexico City, for example, brought their legislation into force in 2009, and had to repeal it just one year later after it became clear that people were simply put off riding their bikes altogether.
It seems that with constant technological developments in the world of cycling, comes a need for riders to achieve greater targets and break previously set records. The latest of such achievements was recorded by Alan Bate, and English endurance cyclist who had developed a fascination with such extreme events from the age of 13. He finished his attempt in August 2010 with a total distance of 26,475.8 miles and a record time of 106 days, 10 hours and 33 minutes. While you might fancy the idea of seeing the World on two wheels, we’d like to suggest that you leave this sort of insanity to the professionals and book some less extreme cycling holidays instead!