Introduction to para-cycling
Whether it's on the track or the road, two wheels or three, para-cycling offers something for everyone who wants to get on a bike.
Para-cycling was first developed by cyclists with visual impairments who competed on tandem bicycles. Since then the sport has continued to grow and was first introduced to a Paralympic Games in New York in 1984 with road events for athletes with cerebral palsy included for the first time. Further events were added over the course of the next four Paralympic Games, with track cycling making its debut in Atlanta 1996.
Para-cycling currently includes individuals with cerebral palsy, visual impairments and physical impairments. Road cyclists compete on handcycles, trikes, tandem bikes or bikes depending on their condition. On the track, cyclists compete on either tandem bikes or bikes.
- C1-C5 is for athletes with cerebral palsy, amputees and other conditions who can ride a bike.
- T1-T2 (trike) is for athletes with cerebral palsy, neurological conditions or other athletes who are unable to ride a bike.
- B is for visually impaired cyclists who compete on tandem bikes with a pilot.
- H1-H5 (handcycle) is for riders with impairments affecting either both legs or a combination of the upper and lower limbs (amputees, paraplegics and tetraplegics)
Track cycling takes place on indoor and outdoor oval tracks ranging from less than 200 to over 400 metres in length, with surfaces made from a variety of materials including wood, tarmac and concrete.
Among the leading velodromes in Great Britain is the National Cycling Centre in Manchester, the home of the Great Britain Cycling Team where the para-cycling squad do most of their training.
Road cycling can take place on roads up and down the country and there are also a number of dedicated closed-road circuits in operation in the UK.