Cycling uses the bicycle for recreation, sport as well as transport. Both professional and amateur cycling events are held primarily on the continent of Europe, the United States, and Asia. The leisure use of bicycles is common across Europe as well as the United States. The use of bicycles for transportation is particularly prevalent in non-Western countries and less developed countries. A few of which, such as the Netherlands have a wide network of bike paths.
The Cycling Sport’s Early History
On May 31st 1868, the first official cycling race held between fountains in Saint-Cloud Park near Paris. It won by James Moore, an 18-year-old expatriate Englishman who was from Paris. On the 7th November 1869, the first city-tocity race took place from Paris and Rouen. The race again won by James Moore. The winner travelled 135 kilometers 84 miles in 10 hours and 25 minutes, riding up hills for most of that time.
In the United States, the first race held on the 24th of May 1878 in Boston in 1878. The professional game of baseball began two years later and basketball 13 years later. The majority of early American races held on tracks, and in long races. Sometimes, pacers who rode in front of the competitors at a rapid speed, only to disappear. In the early 1890s, there were approximately 100 cement, dirt or wooden tracks across the country, mostly in large cities. Over 600 pros competed across the national circuit which ran between Boston up to San Francisco.
Competitions held in cities such as St. Louis, Salt Lake City, Denver as well as Los Angeles. The sport given a huge media boost when it announced on the 30th of June, 1899 when one of these athletes, Charles M. Murphy rode along the wooden track of the Long Island Rail Road train, and completed a mile in 57.8 seconds. He earned the nickname Mile-a-Minute Murphy.
A particularly strenuous type of racing was popular throughout the United States in the 1890s. In the 1890s the 6-day event lasted for 142 hours since the races typically began at midnight and finished six days later. Around 10 pm of continuous competition that offered prizes of up to 10,000 and an all-world field of participants.
Modern Cycling Racing In Modern Times
In the early 1890s, race racing in Europe became popular due to the improvement of roads and the introduction of classic races for instance, the race Paris-Roubaix. Following France as well as Belgium racing introduced across Italy, Spain and the Netherlands. In 1903, the 21-day Tour de France was first introduced and has been running every year after, except for World Wars I and II. Just behind this prestigious race are the three-week grand tours that take place in Italy the Giro d’Italia and Spain the Vuelta a Espana. Typically the Giro is held between May and June, follow by the Tour de France in July and the Vuelta in September, and then the World Championships in October. The prizes in these races are significant, with a total of $2.5 million for the Tour de France alone.
European road racing took place primarily sponsored by bicycle manufacturers up until the late 1920s before regional and national teams established. Commercial sponsors returned following World War II. However, with the decline of bicycle manufacturers, teams started shifting to other sponsors which included insurance companies, automobile manufacturers and banks. The season of professional road racing starts in January, racing in Australia and Malaysia. It runs from February until the month of October across Europe as well as the United States. It closes the season in Asia in the months of November and Dec. For the majority of riders this season is about 120 hours of racing over eight months.
Track and road races for males took place during the very first contemporary Olympic Games that took place in the year 1896. Women also competed in Olympic race competitions during road events, in 1984, and tracks races later in 1988. Mountain biking is a cross-country event through rough terrain.
The sport is manage through the Union Cyclist International UCI which is located in Switzerland and is govern by the national federation of cycling. Amateur events are held for both women and men in regional, local, and national competitions based on age groups. These groups range upwards in age, from those who compete aged 12 to 13 years. At the World Championships, amateurs are not separated from professional athletes among males and women.
However the sport is split into those who are younger than 23 and refer to as Espoir hopefuls as well as those who are over 23. Time trials, which may be a team or individual event, as well as one-day or classic races, in which distances can range between 200 and 280 kilometers 124 to one hundred miles for professional athletes, and between 140 and 200 kilometers 87 to 87 miles for amateurs, and multi-day races. Which are classic race series that are run over a period of time.
The winner of the stage race is the person who has the lowest overall time across each stage. Another popular sport, particularly for Britain and those in the United States, are criterium events. These are held over a small distance of between 4 and 5 kilometers 2.5 to three miles for a series of laps that can reach 100 kilometers 62 miles.
The use of performance-enhancing drugs is considered to be widespread in cycling. The scandal that shook the Tour de France in 1998 and resulted in the expulsion of one of the leading teams the Festiva team. In order to overcome the restrictions on drugs enforced by the UCI and other professional teams. Many teams and individuals use doctors to administer medications which are difficult to spot for example, EPO, also know as erythropoietin EPO which is a hormone that is believe to increase the amount of red blood cells, and therefore circulation of oxygen into muscles.
The UCI regularly checks riders’ blood levels for red blood cells in their blood, which has an upper limit of fifty percent to 55 percent in riders coming from high altitude areas and anything higher than that is consider evidence of usage of EPO and is subject to the possibility of a two-year suspension. Stimulants and antifatigue drugs such as amphetamines are detectable and therefore outmoded performance-enhancing drugs.
Cycling as a form of recreation standardized just a few years after racing introduced. At first cycling brought both genders together in a non-chaperoned manner especially after the 1880s in which cycling had become more readily accessible thanks to the development of the Rover Safety bicycle. The development of clothing worn by women on bikes led to public concern over social disorder. This clothing became increasingly less restrictive and enveloping.
In the present cycling for recreation has become an essential element in fitness initiatives particularly within the United States. Over 65 million people cycle regularly, including over 6 million commuters on bicycles. Touring and cycling clubs are plentiful throughout Europe particularly within France, Belgium, Italy and England. The practice of touring by bicycle cyclotornids is growing in popularity across the globe. The bicycle paths have been constructed in the streets of numerous cities as well as in national and municipal parks. In the United States more than 10,000 miles 16,000 kilometers of abandoned rail lines have been converted into cycling trails.
Since its creation it has been a cheap and democratic method for transport. The introduction of automobiles slowed the growth of cycling as a mode of transport in certain Western societies. However, the bicycle has been a popular mode of transportation in China as well as Southeast Asia. The bicycle is still a well-known mode of transport. In Africa as well as a number of central European nations , many commuters cycle. In the late 1990s, urban planners and people began to question automobiles’ importance. Automobile-based planning and design have been blamed for urban sprawl in nations such as the United States. International organizations like Critical Mass formed to encourage traffic laws and make city designs to be more favorable towards cycling.