What's it all about?
Have you ever wanted to zip around so fast on two (or three!) wheels that you almost just look like a blur going by on the street? If that's the case, then you might think para cycling is pretty cool!
How it's played
The teams: Teams compete in the relay and sprint events, and teams of two compete in the tandem events for the visually impaired. Otherwise, para cycling is an individual sport, meaning it’s done alone.
The skill: Cyclists use their powerful legs and arms to pedal at very fast speeds. The goal is to cross the finish line before their opponents or to beat the clock.
The equipment: Helmets, goggles, gloves, shoes and tight clothing made from Lycra (like a superhero!) are all worn by cyclists to help them go seriously fast! Bicycles, tricycles and handcycles are used depending on the event.
The four classes: Athletes and events are divided into four classes: C — athletes with impairments to all four limbs, H — use of only the upper half of the body, T — cerebral palsy and B — visual impairments.
The medals: There are over 35 medals to be awarded in para cycling and a total of 230 athletes will compete!
The athletes: Para cyclists need explosive power for short races and lasting energy for longer races. Great control of their cycles at fast speeds is also super important!
Did you know: In the tandem races for the visually impaired, the cyclist in front can see and steer the bike while the visually impaired “stoker” in the back is the one who does the hard work of powerful pedalling. They need to work together to win the race!
Things to watch for
- In the class B events for visually impaired cyclists, a tandem bicycle designed for two riders is used — they need to work together to win the race!
- The cyclist in front can see and steer the bike. The visually impaired “stoker” is in the back and does the hard work of powerful pedalling.
- In the T class events for athletes with lack of balance or restrictions in pedalling, tricycles with really good stability for going around corners are used.
- These wide-wheeled cycles help with balance and require great skill by the athletes!
- Handcycles are used in H class events for athletes who don’t have full use of their lower bodies — but they have amazing upper body and arm strength!
- There are two types of handcycles: where the athletes lay on their backs and where they are kneeling and leaning forward while pedalling with their arms.