Sunday, 4 Jun 2023

History of Cycling

History of Cycling

Cycling has evolved over the years from being an item only the rich could afford, to an everyday mode of transport and something that features heavily in Australian sports betting.  Bicycles have also evolved over the years from wooden bikes to what we have to day.  During this time cycling has become a popular sport practiced worldwide.

Early Cycling History

The very first bikes were invented in the 19th century in Europe.  The first bicycles were known as “swiftwalkers” and made from wood.  In 1893 the first bicycle with pedals was developed by a Scotsman, Kirkpatrick Macmillan who was a blacksmith.  In 1861 in Paris another pedal cycle was invented by Pierre and Ernest Michaux and became a popular option.

In 1870 the Coventry Sewing Machine Company in England developed a bicycle with a metal frame that had a large front wheel and a small back wheel.  It became popular in spite of many accidents happening. HJ Lawson invented the first bicycle with a chain in 1874, which was a more stable bicycle.  JB Dunlop added the tyres, which were filled with air, and by 1893 bicycles were a popular mode of transport.

History of Cycling

In 1868 the very first cycling race took place in Hendon, England and by the year 1893 cycling had graduated to having a world championship race.  As early as 1896 cycling became part of the Olympic Games.  In 1903 the most well known of cycling races was held, the Tour de France.  In this first race there were about 60 cyclists who cycled about 2 500km over about 19 days.  Unfortunately the race was overshadowed by bad behaviour and cheating.

This prestigious cycle race is considered as the high point of the cycling calendar even though there have been a few scandals like doping in 1998.  The Tour de France route has also changed and cyclists ride over 3 642 km comprising of a time trial and 20 stages.  Other cycle tours also implemented similar formats such as the Tour of Britain.

Types of Races

Cycling has become a professional sport and the sport has representatives from teams worldwide who take part in world championship races as well as the Olympics.  The sport is governed by the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI).  There are shorter races that are made up of time trials for individuals.  For the Olympics there are prologues such as 40 km rides. Well-known single day races such as Paris-Roubaix World Championship and Olympic Games road race draw competitors from all over.  There are also stage races like the Paris to Nice tour where cyclists ride about 1 307 km and has eight stages. Stage races will usually be done over about 10 days while the tours like the Tour de France go over about 22 days.

Things have changed over the years.  New and improved designs have been developed to make bicycles lighter and faster.  The UCI also created the Lugano Charter, which has made regulations for sport cycling.  This ensured all cyclists were on an equal footing and cyclists compete against each other.