Cycling is an immensely popular sport worldwide. In many countries of the world cycling is used as a legitimate form of transportation besides being an athletic activity. This is not so much the case in the United States where more people drive automobiles However, even in this country cycling is a sport that is loved by millions. it is estimated that fifty- seven million people participate in this exhilarating physical activity. That is a whopping 27.3 percent of the population of the United States of those 16 years of age or older. Another statistic that supports the popularity of cycling is the number of bicycles sold. Figures for 2012 indicate that 6.1 billion dollars were spent on bicycles and products associated with cycling.
Obviously, those numbers indicate that cycling is a very lucrative business as well as a passionate sporting activity. Some of those who deem themselves to be cyclists are what we might call recreational riders. They love to put on the snazzy cycling jerseys and head out on their bikes routinely but they do not participate in races. Their reward might be the thrill of pushing themselves to longer distances or trying out new paths, trails or roadways. They enjoy riding solo or with partners and also in groups but are not especially competitive in their sport. The benefits are substantial. Being outside in the fresh air rather than being cooped up in a sweaty gym is certainly appealing. Equally appealing are the benefits to the body, including building stamina, strengthening muscles, improving circulation, etc. It is no wonder there are so many who love this sport.
While there are far fewer individuals who cycle professionally, that number also continues to grow. With more and more races located at various places throughout the country, the opportunities to excel have expanded considerably as has the number of people who are involved in competitive cycling. Sadly, events of the past several years involving highly acclaimed riders who have polluted the sport has given a black eye to professional cycling. The widely publicized accounts of Lance Armstrong and his use of banned substances during races and his lying under oath about such activities leaves a bad taste in many people’s mouths about professional cyclists. That is unfortunate and unfair to the many cyclists who work hard to perfect their talents and who do play by the rules. Unfortunately, things can be spoiled by a few that can affect so many.