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Cycling technology has improved in leaps and bounds over the past few years. There are an endless number of new individual components and gadgets that make riding safer, more functional, and more comfortable. Everything from the apparel worn today, to the cycle helmets, and the bikes themselves, has come a long way since the Greg LeMond era of two decades ago. These improvements bring benefits in every area of cycling and will only continue into the future.
A bike is one of the most versatile tools on the planet in that it could be your livelihood in central Africa to obtain water, the mode of transport to work in America, or the weekend race in the UK. Regardless of use, bikes have improved on every level, allowing users to move faster, easier, and more safely.
The bikes themselves have evolved into, at the high end, masterpieces of carbon fiber and lightweight metals to achieve the one goal of speed. Technology has advanced quickly since the days of steel bikes, to that of aluminum, titanium, and now to carbon fiber. These advances in cycling technology at the high end of racing have made everyday bikes much easier and more accessible to the vast majority. Riding longer distances over steeper terrain can be done more easily by the average Jane or Joe due to the lighter weight materials of the bike. These lighter weight materials have also advanced in how well they work such as shifters and brakes. These components are not only lighter, but also work better and more efficiently. The right gear can always be used for the terrain beneath the front wheel.
Because of these advances in technology, the bike is now not only a sought after tool to race on, commute on, or just enjoy, but also a great alternative to the gym. Riding, regardless of type, can be cheaper, easier, and fun, plus cycling is a great alternative to the gym. You can get all the benefits of the gym plus the added benefits of riding such as camaraderie with other riders, a sense of adventure exploring new roads and trails, as well as a degree of competitiveness.
As cycle technologies have improved, so has comfort. Bikes are not only faster, but people have also now prefer good quality cycle clothing for a comfortable ride. The bikes themselves have given us a softer ride, especially on bumpy roads, with carbon fiber along with components of the bike, such as the seat. One of the biggest areas of comfort on a bike is what you wear. Riding style, weather, and personal preference all play a role in what bike gear we wear. The advancement in materials has given us the option to choose the perfect piece of clothing for the occasion. Advanced sweat wicking materials, to form-fit clothing, to thermal base-layers, to rain jackets have evolved to the point of being just as comfortable as being in your PJs on the couch. Technology has allowed us to not only ride in better comfort, but also to ride longer, farther, and in more conditions.
In nearly every area of modern-day life, safety has become an increasingly high priority. We as a society tolerate less and less risk. The technological advancements in cycling have allowed us to continue to go farther and faster while also providing us with more safety with protective wear such as helmets. Along with bikes, helmets have come a long way since the LeMond era. There are helmets that meet each specific cycling disciplines demands of providing head protection while still giving the user functionalities of breathability and lightweight. Cycling apparel now is also made with built in reflective material giving more visibility to motorists.
Cycling is also more engrained in cultures around the world so technologies have improved to better integrate vehicular traffic and cyclists. Some of these technologies include better bike lanes, improved intersections that better separate cars from cyclists, as well as some advanced technologies that can alert drivers to an upcoming cyclist. All of these aspects have helped to make cycling safer and more accessible to everyone.
As technology in cycling continues to improve, more and more people will start to ride and find the benefits of cycling. Riding will continue to become easier, safer, and more accessible to everyone. Bikes will improve and get faster, but so will our ways of ensuring safety along with how comfortable we are while riding. Have you tried any of the new cycling technologies? If so, which one is your favorite so far?