March 4, 2022
Cycling is an immensely popular sport worldwide. In many countries in the world, in addition to being a sporting activity, cycling is also used as a legitimate means of transport. This is not so much the case in the United States, where more people drive. But even in this country, cycling is a sport that millions of people love. An estimated fifty-seven million people take part in this exhilarating physical activity. That’s a staggering 27.3 percent of the United States population age 16 or older. Another statistic that supports the popularity of bicycles is the number of bicycles sold. Figures for 2012 indicate that $6.1 billion was spent on bicycles and bicycle-related products.
Those numbers clearly indicate that cycling is a very lucrative business and also a very passionate sporting activity. Some of those who consider themselves cyclists are what we might call “recreational riders.” They like to put on their hip cycling jerseys and ride their bikes routinely, but they don’t participate in competitions. Their reward may be the thrill of pushing themselves to longer distances or trying new trails, paths, or roads. They like to ride alone or with partners and also in groups, but are not particularly competitive in their sport. The benefits are significant. Being outside in the fresh air instead of being cooped up in a sweaty gym is certainly appealing. The benefits to the body, such as building endurance, strengthening muscles, improving circulation, and so on, are also very appealing.
There are far fewer people who cycle professionally, and that number continues to grow. With more and more competitions taking place in different places around the country, the opportunities to excel have increased significantly, as has the number of people involved in cycling. Unfortunately, the events of recent years with acclaimed riders polluting the sport have given professional cycling a black eye. The widespread reports of Lance Armstrong using banned substances during races and lying under oath about such activities leave many people with a bad taste for professional cyclists. That’s unfortunate and unfair to the many cyclists who work hard to perfect their talents and follow the rules. Unfortunately, things can be ruined by a few people who can affect so many.