History of road cycling
It’s safe to say, the history of the bike goes way back - way back to the 1800s in fact. In the early days, bikes were made of wood and the first pedal cycle was introduced to the world in 1839. Bikes were a novelty item for a number of years and because they were so uncomfortable (and prone to accidents), they became commonly known as ‘bone shakers’. The 1870’s witnessed the development of metal frames, rubber tyres and chains but it wasn’t until 1888 that a certain J. B. Dunlop added air to the tyres. This led to a rise in the bike’s popularity as a means of transportation as it became more comfortable to ride and faster.
Cycling as a competitive sport emerged in 1868. Some sources claim the first road race took place in England, others cite it was in France. However, it is well documented that the first world championships were held in 1893 and cycling has been part of the Olympic Games since the start of the modern games in Athens in 1896. The launch of the Tour de France followed in 1903 and to this day is considered the pinnacle of competitive road racing.
Innovations in road bike design and technology have evolved at a rapid pace ever since with lightweight materials for frames, suspension forks, gears and aerodynamic designs making bikes easier, more comfortable (and faster) to ride.
Today - whether for leisure, sport, commuting, touring or racing - the road bike has become an irreplaceable means of travel.