Cycling is one of the oldest known sports since the invention of the two-wheeler.
It has now become a fun way to exercise and stay fit. Aside from reducing stress, it also builds stamina, improves cardio-vascular wellness and burns more calories. In addition, people who enjoy cycling have stronger and well-toned muscles.
Cycling is also considered as a recreational sport in United States, Asia and Europe where trained cyclists participate in various cycling events.
Origin of Bicycle
Bicycle was a coined word in France in the 1860s. It is the earliest two-wheeled vehicle used for transportation that requires balance and good handling. The first archetype of the bicycle was the German draisine dated back in the early 1817.
• 1817 -The first practical vehicle for transportation was the property of a German Baron Karl von Drais which is called Draisine after his name. He was a civil servant of the Great Duke of Baden Germany. He invented a walking machine that could help him get quickly around the royal garden of the Duke in a sort of gliding yourself by pushing your feet against the ground to make the device move forward. It was purely made up of wood.
• 1818 – Denis Johnson of London announced his new improvised model on Drais’s and it looked more elegant. Its wooden frame had a curve shape unlike Drais straight design. Johnson had it patented and was called the “velocipede” or “pedestrian curricle” However, the people preferred to call it the hobby-horse after a children’s toy named dandy horse. During 1819, Johnson’s invention had become a fashionable vehicle in London.
• 1820 to 1850 – The era of 3 and 4- wheeled vehicles flourished followed by the high wheel bicycle in 1870 where the first all metal machine used for transportation appeared to the public.
• 1874 – The first spoke bicycle wheel was invented by the designer James Stanley.
• 1879 – The first chain-driven bicycle was born.
Origin of cycling as sports
According to the record, cycling as sports officially started in France on May 31, 1868. It was a 1, 200-meter road race at the entrance of the Saint-Cloud Park, Paris France. The first winner of this new road racing sport was an 18 year old English man from Paris named James Moore.
Then on November 7, 1869, the first ever city to city cycling was held between the cities of Paris and Rouen and again Paris won through the same cyclist, James More. After a few years, cycling as a road racing sport had become popular not just in the country but in the continental Europe, England and United States.
During 19th century, Edouard Louis Joseph, better known as Eddy Merckx from Belgium was the king of the road. A French magazine had told that he is the most accomplished cycler ever known in the world of cycling, the greatest and the most successful cyclist of all time.
Eddy Merckx success in cycling include:
• 8-time Tour de France champion (From 1969 to 1977 Tour de France)
• Giro d’Italia in 1968, 1970, 1972, 1973 and 1974 winner and with a total 24 Giro awards in his cycling career
• 3rd- time World Champion in 1974