We often hear a saying "Don’t invent a bicycle" about something simple
and known fora long time.
Really, the bicycle is old enough - more than a hundred years of age.
Its first prototype appeared in 1791 in France. In 1800 a Russian
peasant Artamonov made an iron bicycle and travelled on it from Nizhni
Tagil to Moscow.
First bicycles looked odd: a large (about 1.5 m high) front wheel
with a cranked axle.
The back wheel was usually smaller. Bicycles were made of iron and
riding them was not comfortable because of shaking. They were even
In 1868 rubber tyres were invented, first solid, then pneumatic. New
types of bicycles appeared every year but only in 1885 people saw a
model which looked like modern cycles. It had two almost equal wheels
and a chain drive to the rear wheel. The frame of the cycle was
diamond-shaped. This shape survived and became basic. The new machine
looked more elegant than the old "spiders" which were soon abandoned. As
time went by, new bicycles were invented – for two, three and even
The first bicycle race was held in 1868 in Paris. But the sport
became popular only several decades later because bicycles were
expensive and only rich people could afford them. By the end of the 19th
century many factories produced thousands of bicycles which became
cheap, so many people could practice cycling and take part in various
competitions. Cycling competitions are generally divided into road and
track events. Both kinds are in the Olympic programme. Olympic road
events include individual and team races.
Individual races' distances are different, usually they do not
exceed 200 kilometres. The winner is the first cyclist who passes over
the finish line with his front wheel.
In the team road event the teams start the contest with 2-4
minutes interval, and that team wins whose members get the best sum of
Track events take place on special cycling tracks which look like
elongated stadiums with a sloping runway made of concrete, wood or
Track events are very spectacular. The Olympic programme includes 1 km
sprint races, 1 km heat or time trial, individual pursuit and team
pursuit over 4 km.