Although cycling is a fantastic sport in its own right, there are also plenty of multi-disciplinary sports which combine cycling with other activities. If you enjoy a challenge or want the opportunity to practice various different disciplines, then these suggestions might prove to be ideal new hobbies for you.
The triathlon combines cycling with swimming and running. In most events, competitors will begin with an open-water swim, followed by a bike ride and then finished off with a distance run. The events are completed in rapid succession and the transition between each event is very important.
Race positions can be won or lost during these changeovers. There are different competitive distances for triathlons, so the lengths that must be covered may depend on the event in question.
Many major events include a Super Sprint category, which is ideal for people who are new to Triathlon. A Super Sprint in the UK will normally involve a 400m swim, a 20km ride and a 10km run. Those who really want to test themselves try an Ironman Triathlon which involves a minimum of 3.86 km swim, 180.25 km cycle ride and a 42.2 km (marathon distance) run.
For those competitors who do not enjoy running, the Aquabike event is a great Triathlon alternative. This sport only includes the cycling and swimming disciplines. This allows people who have joint problems which might otherwise prevent them running to take part in the event.
Quadrathlon has a similar set up to Triathlon, although it contains more events. In addition to the traditional Triathlon disciplines, quadrathletes also complete a kayaking leg in between their swim and their bike ride. This gives participants a greater opportunity to utilise their upper body strength. The sport was first introduced in the 1980s and began to take off quickly in coastal regions, as participants were keen to spend more of their time taking part in water elements.
Winter triathlons are gaining popularity in colder climates, where it is impossible to take part in swimming legs all year round. In winter versions of the discipline, swimming has been replaced by a cross-country skiing element. Rather than road races, the cycling element may be cross-country or mountain biking. This allows the participants to cover more difficult terrains. Winter Quadrathlons may include a snowshoeing element, rather than kayaking.
Mountain Bike Orienteering
Mountain bike orienteering requires participants to race around a course and visit specified checkpoints along the way. They must navigate the course on their bikes using a special orienteering map which shows the locations of the checkpoints but does not offer a specified route. The map provides a lot more information about the type and conditions of the terrain than that which is shown on an OS map, so racers can make an informed choice about the best way to get to the next checkpoint.
Some events require the participants to visit all of the checkpoints in a specified order, whereas other events require participants to visit as many checkpoints as they can within a given time limit.
In the second type of orienteering event, harder to reach checkpoints may be worth more points. In modern mountain bike orienteering, participants’ times are recorded electronically, so that they can see exactly how long it took them to get between checkpoints. There may be decoy or unused checkpoints on the course, so accurate map skills are essential. Participants who fail to go to the correct checkpoint can be penalised or disqualified.
Cyclo-cross is a variation of mountain biking which integrates elements of fell running and cross country walking. Riders should also be able to show a certain amount of acrobatic skills on their bikes, to help them to overcome obstacles.
Although courses are similar to mountain biking routes, there are normally some sections which are completely impassable on a bike. In these sections, riders are forced to dismount and carry their bike over the terrain. Participants must be able to make a quick judgement as to whether it is quicker to try to ride the terrain or whether they might move more quickly on foot. To be successful at cyclo-cross, participants must be strong and agile. You can get involved in cyclo-cross here.