When people outside the multisport world hear the term aquabike many imagine some sort of special aquatic bicycle moving through the water as the rider pedals below the surface. A fairly new sport in triathlon, Aquabike is actually a swim and bike combination race.

Aquabike is the first multisport event that does not include running and it is growing rapidly in popularity. It appeals to older athletes and athletes with running injuries who want to stay involved in a multisport event, but can’t take the pounding of running, oftentimes because of joint problems, or to athletes who are just tired of running.

The Aquabike Series became a pilot program in 2005, brought to USA Triathlon by one of its members, Dean Peterson. He had spoken with many triathletes who were interested in a race format where they could compete in the swim and the bike portions of a half or ultra-distance triathlon. Many Aquabike races are combined with the first two legs of triathlons. In 2010, USA Triathlon initiated a stand-alone rankings program for Aquabike and by 2012, there were more than 3,000 athletes ranked in this discipline. The Aquabike Series has continued to grow, becoming a very competitive aspect of the triathlon world. By 2016, the number of aquabike races sanctioned by USA Triathlon had more than doubled in five years to 562 races with 5,160 aquabikers.

If you are shopping for aquabike races you may need to start by looking up triathlon, because many treat aquabikes as a category of Triathlon rather than a stand-alone race.

Racine MultiSports’ upcoming Fort Ritchie Triathlon, as well as the Luray International Triathlon and Luray Sprint Triathlon, presented by Racine MultiSports, both offer Aquabike race. The top male and female finishers for both the Olympic and Sprint distances will receive awards at the Fort Ritchie Triathlon. And the top male and female finishers of the Luray International Triathlon and the Luray Sprint Triathlon will receive awards. Aquabike is a fun form of multisport competition. There’s still time to register!