Is There Any Difference in Biking and Cycling? (Answered)

Often times you may come across the terms biking and cycling that makes you wonder what may be the difference between the two. While both cyclists and bikers share some similarities and terms are used interchangeably, they differ in certain ways.

Cycling is a competitive sport that requires a bicycle to be used and has been going on for over a century with innovations in clothing, equipment, and technique to make it a very competitive sport. While biking typically refers to riding a bike for recreational riding in a leisurely fashion.

The Cycling term has been around for a long as it dates back to the creation of a bicycle around the 1850s, as an act of riding it. Bicycles were first introduced, where their sole purpose was to provide a means of recreational activity and transportation.

The popularity of cycling as a sport has grown tremendously over the past few decades, with more and more people taking up cycling as a hobby or profession.

Cycling today is one of the most popular spectator sports in the world, with millions of spectators watching professional cyclists race each other for prizes and glory.

Although, the Biking term now is mostly referred to as riding a bicycle for recreation and leisure. Yet, it is commonly understood as Mountain Biking that is gaining popularity around the globe and particularly in North America.

Mountain Biking also has grown a lot of interest in public as a form of an activity-packed with challenge and skill to ride various terrains including flat and hilly trails.

Biking term is also loosely used amongst the motorbike community, where riders of motorbikes also refer to themselves as “Bikers”.

Let’s have a closer look at different aspects of each, to understand it better.

The Cycling Sport

The cycling sport consists of riders on bicycles racing against each other, which are ridden on a track.

There are three sub-categories of cycling:

Sprint Cycling

Generally refers to a race of short duration with a very high speed that is generally less than 10 kilometers. Sprint racing is a form of short-duration racing where the race is usually less than ten minutes in duration.

Pursuit Cycling

Pursuit cycling is a type of track cycling, but rather than being in a pack, cyclists are racing each other head-to-head. Pursuit races are typically over 1500 meters or less, and there are two riders at the same time on the track.

The winners are determined by whoever beats their opponent to the end line first. A pursuit generally consists of two or more cyclists who work together during a race, usually a team time trial.

Time Trial Cycling

Time Trial Cycling is a form of racing that consists of one-on-one races against the clock, and often the only opponent is the rider themselves. With no other competitors or distractions to contend with, it becomes a battle of wits and experience as riders push themselves to their limits and beyond. The idea is to find the balance between riding at an intense pace for as long as possible while conserving enough energy for a final burst.

Sportsmen participating in such cycling activities often refer to themselves as “Cyclist” and would rarely ever call themselves “Biker”.

Cycling is a sport that requires rigorous training and dedication. A major cycling event is the Tour de France, which takes place every summer on French roads. Professional cyclists have dedicated their lives to this tough sport.

Understanding the Term “Biking”

Biking refers to the activity of riding a Bicycle for leisure and recreational purposes. It is a great way to enjoy the outdoors and stay active. The biking term is most widely used and covers a wide variety of bicycle riding activities that are defined by the type of bike/bicycle being used.

In addition, this term is also widely used amongst motorbike riders as well, hence it is not specifically restricted to bicycle riders.

Biking activity consists of a large number of various bicycle types. Let’s check out some of the most popular ones here to gain familiarity with them.

Road Bikes

Road bikes are made for speed and fitness and can fly up steep hills with less effort than other types of bikes. These bikes are designed to be light, fast, and agile to make long-distance rides more manageable.

They are made for the urban landscape, but they are versatile enough to handle both dirt and pavement.

Whether you want to take a leisurely ride through the city or get out on the open road, a road bike may be just what you need. They can tackle any terrain from cobblestones to gravel roads, mountain ranges, and even grassy fields.

Mountain Bikes

Mountain bikes are bikes that are designed for riding on rugged terrain, specifically for trails with rocks, roots, loose dirt, and steep grades.

The suspension system absorbs the bumps so the rider won’t have to worry about being tossed around. They are also designed to be nimble so they can balance on roots or go up or downhills.

Mountain bikes are often used for recreational purposes, including local neighborhood trails.

Hybrid or Commuter Bikes

Hybrid bikes are a type of bike that offers a combination of characteristics from both mountain and road bikes. They tend to be speedy, but have the toughness and shock absorbing ability of a mountain bike, with the speed and efficiency levels of a road bike.

They also tend to be lighter weight than other types of bikes, due in part to their versatility, which makes them well suited for people who would otherwise need both types of bikes for different purposes.

BMX Bikes

BMX bikes are designed for all terrains. They are meant to be ridden on without much use of pedals, and instead require the rider to execute tricks like spins, 180 degree turns and jumps.

The bike is typically set up with pegs on the front tire which allow the bike to slide sideways while turning.

The bike is often used in competitions, skate parks, or anywhere else there’s a jump or obstacle and are popular among kids for their low cost and easy maneuverability.

Leisure Bikes

The term “leisure bike” is used to describe a type of bicycle that’s designed with commuting or recreational riding in mind. They usually feature an upright design, wide tires, and fenders to help riders stay dry.

A leisure bike is the perfect option for someone who wants to ride their bike to work or school but has needs beyond what an ordinary road bike can provide.

Many people are looking for a way to make exercise more enjoyable, but they are tired of walking around their neighborhood. A leisure bike is a great alternative! These bikes will give you the workout you need while taking in the scenery, which can be calming and enjoyable for many people.

Riding any of these bike types would term as Biking and the rider is often referred to as a Biker rather than a Cyclist.


With the examples and details discussed in this article, we understand that that the term Biking and Cycling defines their own domains and are used in context to the riding activity being carried and the type of bicycle being bused for the activity.

Although these terms can be interchangeably used, the Biking term often brings in Mountain Biking and Leisure Biking in focus, while Cycling brings in the competitive Cycling sport into mind upon the first mention.