Discover the Different Types of Cycling Competitions

The different types of cycling competitions that exist involve specific bikes in specific settings with special rules. Discover more today.
Discover the Different Types of Cycling Competitions

Last update: 06 April, 2020

The world of cycling is much wider than many people realize. From indoor tracks to outdoor circuits, professional riders and mere enthusiasts, and a myriad of bikes, there’s so much to discover! That’s why we’ll use the space below to tell you all about the different types of cycling competitions that exist.

Seven types of cycling competitions

Different cycling competitions make use of different types of bikes, and there are all different disciplines and modalities to choose from. Discover the most well-known cycling competitions below:

1. Road bicycle racing: cycling competitions

Road bicycle racing is a very demanding and competitive sport. It usually takes place in the spring and fall, even Grand Tours, which include the Tour de France, the Vuelta España, and the Giro d’Italia.

Road cycling in the mountains.

Different types of road cycling completitions including classic races, stage races, individual time trials, and team time trials.

2. Track cycling

These cycling competitions take place within a velodrome, which is a specially prepared track that is oval-shaped and 820 meters long. The specific bicycles that competitors use in this sport are known as sprint bikes and they possess a bottom bracket that’s located higher than in road racing bikes so that it doesn’t bump against the track.

A tracking cycling competition.

The first track cycling competition took place in 1878 in what’s known as the Six Days of London. Today, there are a number of different competition categories, which are as follows:

  • Sprint
  • Team sprint
  • Keirin
  • Track time trial
  • Scratch race
  • Individual pursuit
  • Madison
  • Team pursuit
  • Points race
  • Omnium

The first four categories are sprint races, while the rest are endurance races. Some of these categories are considered Olympic sports.

3. Mountain biking: cycling competitions

Mountain biking is another popular sport when it comes to cycling competitions. Considered a hazardous sport, mountain biking is a type of bicycle race that takes place in natural environments. In general, these are forests, narrow paths, and steep slopes. At the same time, circuits may have very fast descents.

Therefore, the mountain bikes are as light as possible, made of titanium, aluminum or carbon. They have front suspension and, more recently, they include twelve different speeds or gears.

The different categories or specialties that this sport encompasses are the following:

  • Cross country cycling
  • All-mountain/Enduro
  • Downhill
  • Four-cross/Dual Slalom (4X)
  • Freeride/Big Hit/Hucking
  • Dirt jumping
  • Urban/Street
  • Trail riding
  • Marathon
  • Bikepacking

4. Cyclo-cross

Cyclo-cross is a modern discipline that appeared around the beginning of the last century. It consists of performing many laps on a small circuit in the least amount of time possible. These circuits, which may or may not be asphalt, contain various obstacles, both natural and artificial.

Cyclo-cross competitions, such as the one that appears in the main image of this article, take place in the fall and winter. What’s more, they can include paths of ice or snow. These bikes have wider tires in order to achieve better traction. Also, they have a higher bottom bracket to keep the bikes from bumping against obstacles, and cantilever type breaks.

5. Mountain bike trails

This sport is derived from motorcycle trails, and the objective of this sport is to avoid obstacles without touching the ground with your feet. This particular cycling category comes from Spain and involves 20-inch, 24-inch, and 26-inch bikes. The models are quite simple, without gears or even a seat. What’s more, they’re very light and easy to maneuver.

6. Bicycle motocross (BMX): cycling competitions

Given the adrenaline rush during races and the settings where this sport takes place, BMX is one of the most interesting cycling competitions. BMX is an extreme sport that includes both racing and freestyle, which involves doing acrobatics. Cyclists need to wear safety gear, which includes a helmet, gloves, elbow pads, and knee pads.

This sport was invented in the United States during the 1960s. In 1981, the International Federation came to be and organized the first world championship just one year later. What’s more, BMX was included for the first time in the Olympic Games in Beijing, 2008.

BMX safety gear.

7. Indoor competitive cycling

The last sport on our list of cycling competitions consists of two categories: artistic cycling and cycle-ball. The first is similar to ice skating but takes place on a bike rather than skates. It’s a popular sport in Germany.

As for the second, it’s an exclusively masculine sport and developed out of soccer. Here, two teams compete against one another in order to score. And of course, as you can guess, they do so while riding bikes !

Lastly, there are also plenty of other cycling activities that aren’t considered cycling competitions. For example, bicycle touring and Spain’s popular cycling events, the “Quebrantahuesos” (the bone crusher) the “Treparriscos” (the wall creepers), and the Perico Delgado or Panama’s Cruce del Lagarto en Panamá.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.