Road cycling or road biking is the most common for of cycling and it includes racing, utility and recreational cycling. Bicyclers have conquered the roads and raced against each other for centuries. Although initially cycling was only used as a mean of transportation, in the late 1800s it became a competition, and as the sport became popular, it was included to the Olympic games list. As a result, a new set of cycling rules and regulations was created to ensure the safety of the participants. These rules vary according to country of origin and organization.
- The road
The road cycling rules stipulate that races can include an enclosed circuit similar to a track or a standard street. However, some competitions include both types of ground. Racers can use many types of bicycles such as recumbents, utility, racing or BMX bicycles. If the race takes place on a road, the start and finish lines must be situated areas where they do not not interfere with the traffic. Moreover, the roads must be wide enough to allow the cyclists to pass without endangering spectators. The areas from where the event can be watched must be secured with barriers so people stay off the street.
- Traffic rules
If the road is open to botch bicyclers and traffic, the competitors must stay on the right of the center lane and cross it only if they want to pass. The riders must obey both the cycling rules and the local traffic regulations. In an uncommon situation when a passing train interferes with the competition, the race is stopped and restarted only after the bikers can safely cross the railroad.
- Food and drinks
Riders are allowed to carry refreshments only at the beginning of the race, although glass bottles are prohibited. During the race, they can get additional beverages and foods in certain areas from the event organizers, vehicles or a support group. The referees decide these cycling rules and sometime they may even allow cyclists to pass refreshments to each other.
During the race, competitors must stay on the designated road and make sure he does not put others in danger. If a rider is on the road edge, he is not allowed to shift position suddenly so that another cannot pass. When pacing, the riders must stay 25 meters behind another competitor and at least 2 meters to the side when ready to pass. In case the rider does not manage to pass, he must fall back 25 meters and maintain this distance until he is ready to give it another try.
The racers can use bikes made up of carbon fiber, aluminum, titanium or steel that usually weight between 8–10 kg. They are not allowed to make any changes to the original design with the purpose of enhancing aerodynamic functions during the race. An exception to this cycling rule are the aerodynamic handlebars permitted in time trial. On a different note, it would be interesting to see a hybrid electric bike or motorcycle in the future, but so far there are only hybrid cars news. An electric bike could be very useful for people biking to work, but it could make for some interesting racing competitions as well; until a technology is developed, we just have to look at hybrid cars news and hope for the best.
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