A competitive physical activity using bicycles. There are several categories of bicycle racing including road bicycle racing, time trialing, cyclo-cross, mountain bike racing, track cycling, BMX, and cycle speedway. Non-racing cycling sports include artistic cycling, cycle polo, freestyle BMX and mountain bike trials.
The most common forms of cycle racing are road racing over public roads, often without restricting normal traffic, and track racing on a specially-built usually high banked tracks used only for bicycle races.
The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) is the world governing body for cycling and international competitive cycling events. Bicycle racing is recognized as an Olympic sport.
The International Human Powered Vehicle Association is the governing body for human-powered vehicles that imposes far fewer restrictions on their design than does the UCI. The UltraMarathon Cycling Association is the governing body for many ultra-distance cycling races.
Track racing encompasses races that take place on banked tracks or velodromes. Events are quite diverse and can range from individual and team pursuits, two-man sprints, to various group and mass start races. Competitors use track bicycles which do not have brakes or freewheels.
The lightweight bicycles used in road racing are essentially the same as the common touring bicycles and are equipped with variable speed gears and brakes.
Track bikes commonly have shorter frames than road bicycles, are equipped with a single gear ratio and no brakes, and have straps that hold the cyclist’s feet to the pedals.
As the bicycle evolved its various forms, different racing formats developed.
Road races may involve both team and individual competition, and are contested in various ways. They range from the one-day road race, criterium, and time trial to multi-stage events like the Tour de France and its sister events which make up cycling's Grand Tours.
Time trial races, another form of road racing require a rider to ride against the clock. Time trials can be performed as a team or as a single rider. Bikes are changed for time trial races, using aero bars.