History of cycling

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Bicycles were quickly adopted after their introduction in the 19th century[1] and remain popular with more than a billion people worldwide[2] used for recreation, transportation and sport.

future of cycling

Main article: Cycling


Cycling as recreation became organized shortly after racing did. In its early days, cycling brought the sexes together in an unchaperoned way, particularly after the 1880s when cycling became more accessible owing to the invention of the Rover Safety bicycle. Public cries of alarm at the prospect of moral chaos arose from this and from the evolution of women’s cycling attire, which grew progressively less enveloping and restrictive.[3]

On 4 March 1915 the society for the construction of cycle paths in the Gooi and Eemland region in the Netherlands was founded. It is the last private “Cycle Path Society” that still exists today. Some people thought the increasing amount of motor traffic in the early 20th century was so dangerous for people cycling, especially those who rode as a leisure activity, that they wanted separate cycling infrastructure to be built. The routes would also not be connected to a route for motor traffic and mainly for recreation - so not the shortest routes, but the nicest routes.[4]

Today we see a resurgence of recreational cycling. We can see this with many companies[5][6] meeting the demand for this trend and specialising in retro/vintage style bikes that originated in the Netherlands.


People have been riding bicycles to work since the initial bicycle heyday of the 1890s. According to the website Bike to Work, this practice continued in the United States until the 1920s, when biking experienced a sharp drop, in part due to the growth of suburbs and the popularity of the car.[7] In Europe, cycling to work continued to be common until the end of the 1950s.

Today many people ride bikes to work for a variety of reasons including fitness, environmental concerns, convenience, frugality, and enjoyment. According to the US Census Bureau’s 2008 American Community Survey (ACS), on September 22, 2009, 0.55 percent of Americans use a bicycle as the primary means of getting to work.[8] Some places of employment offer amenities to bike commuters, such as showers, changing rooms, indoor bike racks and other secure bike parking.


Bicycle Racer posed at Salt Palace wood track, Salt Lake City, 1911

The first documented cycling race was a 1,200 metre race held on May 31, 1868 at the Park of Saint-Cloud, Paris. It was won by expatriate Englishman James Moore who rode a bicycle with solid rubber tires.[9] The first cycle race covering a distance between two cities was Paris–Rouen, also won by James Moore, who rode the 123 kilometres dividing both cities in 10 hours and 40 minutes.[10]

The oldest established bicycle racing club in the United States is the St. Louis Cycling Club. Operating continuously since 1887, the club has sponsored races and timed distance events since its inception. Its members have included numerous national champions and Olympic team members.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Bicycle
  2. ^ "Bicycles produced in the world — Worldometers". Retrieved 2 January 2012. 
  3. ^ "cycling - sport". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 23 July 2015. 
  4. ^ "100 Years of cycle path building". Bicycle Dutch. Retrieved 2015-06-03. 
  5. ^ "Lekker bikes". Retrieved 2015-06-03. 
  6. ^ "Papillionaire". Retrieved 2015-06-03. 
  7. ^ "Bike to Work :: About". biketoworkinfo.org. Retrieved 23 July 2015. 
  8. ^ http://blog.bikeleague.org/blog/2009/10/bicycle-commuting-trends-2000-to-2008/
  9. ^ Maso, B. (tr. Horn, M.) (2005), The Sweat of the Gods, Mousehold Press, pp. 1-2, ISBN 1-874739-37-4
  10. ^ "memoire-du-cyclisme.net". memoire-du-cyclisme.net. Archived from the original on 4 March 2012. Retrieved 23 July 2015. 

Further reading[edit]