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The most common cycling events are bike races of different kinds, though these are hardly the only events related to bikes in which one can participate. Critical mass rides, group rides, bike festivals, industry trade shows, fundraisers, locally sponsored events, and countless other cycling events take place every year throughout the world. Spectators can watch bike races and enjoy the expo areas that are often set up at races to promote new equipment, companies, and ideas in the industry. Local bicycle shops will often hold cycling events such as bike rodeos or group rides to promote their businesses as well as the sport of cycling.
Aside from racing, group rides are some of the most common cycling events in cities and towns. These rides are non-competitive and they allow people to meet others interested in the sport of cycling. Some rides are extremely mellow and family-oriented, as cruiser bikes and non-racing bikes are ridden for pleasure rather than competition. A relatively recent type of group ride is the Tweed Ride, in which participants dress up in antiquated fancy clothing to ride around casually. Charity rides often feature two rides at once: a casual ride and a race for more competitive cyclists.
Races may be official or unofficial events. One of the most popular unofficial races is the Alley Cat race, which usually takes place in larger cities. Riders compete by riding swiftly through the city in search of checkpoints that will guide them eventually to the finish. Speed and agility are highlighted in such races, and it is not uncommon for Alley Cat races to feature non-bike related competition as well; some races are alcohol-fueled, though many are not. Official races are usually sponsored by bike companies or other companies interested in the advertising opportunity. Such races are usually sanctioned by a specific bicycling governing body, and riders can compete in categories according to their ability levels. Road and mountain bike races are the most common; within those two broad categories, many types of racing exist.
Non-competitive events may include bike rodeos and trade shows. These cycling events are geared more toward education than riding. Bike rodeos cater toward kids and their parents, and bike shops or other bike organizations will teach kids about basic bike safety and even some basic maintenance. It is not uncommon for bike helmets to be available for purchase or as giveaways to small children. Cycling trade shows are larger events for bike shop owners and employees, as well as the general public. These trade shows allow bike enthusiasts to learn more about the latest technology and equipment. Shop owners can even place orders for new merchandise at these shows.
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