‘Like riding a bike’ is an expression that would not be so used if more people knew about all the different types of bicycle racing that are available. The mainstream public is mostly familiar with the road racing style of Le Tour de France, thanks in no small part to the feats of Lance Armstrong. However, there are other kinds of competitions, such as cyclo cross, mountain bike, track cycling and bike trials.

That bicycles should be lightweight comes as no surprise, a lighter bike should be able to reach higher speeds. But what if the cyclist had to get off and carry the bike through an obstacle? That is often the case in cyclo cross, where courses usually include pavement, wooded trails, grass and steep hills. Cyclo cross is similar to mountain bike racing, where, as the name implies, the competition takes place in a mountainous setting. Other than that restriction, there are multiple race categories, such as cross country, downhill, marathon, freeride and dirt jumping.

Track cycling, on the other hand, takes place in specially built tracks, sometimes even indoors. These competitions, however, are where the speed records are usually set and broken. The opposite is seen in bike trials, where the objective is to conquer an obstacle course without setting foot on the ground. In trials, skill is more important than velocity.