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Learn More About Cycling

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What is the history of cycling?

The first bicycle was invented in 1817 and it included two wheels but no pedals. Lacking pedals, riders placed their feet on the ground and pushed themselves forward. In 1860, the first true bicycle with pedals was invented and people starting using bicycles for long travel or quick trips.

In 1868, the first documented cycling race occurred in Paris and was a 1,200-meter race. Following this race and the increasing popularity of cycling, bicycles started being mass-produced and sold at lower prices. Now, anyone was able to buy and ride a bicycle. Cycling clubs were formed, competitions were held, and recreational bike riding took off. Today, cycling remains a popular sport and method of transportation for people across the world.

Cycling at the Olympic Games

Cycling is one of the rare events that has always been featured at the Olympic Games starting with the 1896 Summer Olympics. The first cycling event that took place at the Olympics was the marathon route competition that started in Athens, went to Marathon, and then returned to Athens. In 1984, women’s cycling competitions were introduced to the Olympics where men and women were able to compete in the same number of cycling events.

The Europeans have dominated the cycling Olympic Games since their introduction, with most medals coming from the French and Italian racers.

What are the current cycling events?

There are four cycling events at the Olympic Games, including the individual time trial men, road race men, individual time trial women, and road race women.

Visit USA Cycling to learn more

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