Recent surveys indicate that Americans enjoy billions of bike rides a year. Bicycling organizations around the country report increased participation in local biking activities, and nearly half of all Americans say they would like more bicycling resources, such as trails and bike lanes, in their communities.
Bicycling also is an efficient and affordable means of transportation. These days, increasing numbers of people ride their bikes to and from work or use them to run neighborhood errands. Many travel organizations offer cycling tours, from leisurely half-day jaunts to weeks-long excursions. No matter how long the ride, choosing to bike rather than drive cuts down on traffic congestion, fuel consumption and vehicle emissions, which benefits the environment and helps improve air quality.
The types of bikes vary greatly. For ease and comfort, commuters and many recreational riders prefer road or touring bikes, which feature light frames and thin tires designed for riding on pavement. Some road bikes are built primarily for speed and are used by competitive riders in road races around the world. BMX bikes have been popular with recreational and competitive riders since the early 1970s. Originally modeled on motocross motorcycles, they have light frames and knobby tires that make them perfect for all terrain types. Other kinds of bikes include mountain and off-road, tandem and recumbent.