Since the introduction of bicycles in the 19th Century, these contraptions have endured many magical changes. From sporting achievements to social changes, the bike has been at the core of a lot of milestones! At The Insurance Emporium, we thought we’d look into how cycling adventures have developed over time. Check out our infographic to find out more about cycling’s history.
The first cycle race was thought to be held in this decade. Some accounts say that it took place in the Parc de Saint-Cloud in Paris in 1868 and won by James Moore, although some experts suggest that this wasn’t actually the first race. Nevertheless, James Moore won this 1,200 metre event in two minutes and 35 seconds. Later, he also became the winner of the first city-to-city race! This ran between Paris and Rouen on 7th November 1869.
Cycling became popular for recreation once so-called safety bicycles came on the scene – particularly the Rover Safety Bicycle, which was designed by John Kemp Starley and released in 1885. Safety bicycles were popular with men and women and helped to inspire changes in women’s clothing to make them less restrictive. With the freedom and mobility that bikes offered, they became a symbol of the Women’s Movement in the 1890s.
The first Tour De France was held from 1st July to 19th July 1903. With just six stages, it was much shorter than today’s Grand Tours but the stages were far longer. Over the course of the Tour, racers cycled from Paris to Lyon, Marseille, Toulouse, Bordeaux and Nantes before returning to the French capital. The winner was Maurice Garin, who won by a race margin of around three hours over the next cyclist!
One bicycle that played a big part in the rise of BMX, the Schwinn Stingray was released in 1963. Al Fritz, a designer for Schwinn, came up with this model after he noticed that young people in California were customising their bikes with motorcycle additions. Children were seen riding these bicycles on dirt tracks during the opening sequence of 1971 documentary On Any Sunday, which is thought to be the movie scene that made BMX popular in the USA.
In California, during this decade, mountain biking developed into a cycling discipline all its own. At first, riders would modify old cruiser bikes to ride down mountain paths and take part in races. Then, in 1978, Joe Breeze created what is thought to be the first ever purpose-built mountain bike. Back then, the term ‘mountain bike’ didn’t exist and so the early bicycles of this sport were called ‘klunkers’.
This was a great year for cycling in the UK! As well as getting to host the Summer Olympics in London, with its wide array of cycling events, the country also had its first winner of the Tour de France. Bradley Wiggins became the first Brit to win the Tour, cycling as part of Team Sky. His teammate, Chris Froome, came second during this race before going on to take another Tour de France win for the UK in 2013.
Over the years, bicycles have grown from being niche inventions to the source of a huge range of magical adventures. For this reason, if you’re one of today’s cyclists, your bike will probably be quite precious to you. That’s why it might be worth getting bicycle insurance. At The Insurance Emporium, you can choose from plenty of Optional Benefits for your Cycle Insurance policy, including New For Old. New customers could also get a 15% Introductory Discount*. If you’re interested in bespoke cover for your bike, contact The Insurance Emporium today!
*15% Introductory Discount is available on lunar and calendar monthly policies and policies where the premium is paid annually. The Introductory Discount is available for the first 12 premium payments on lunar and calendar monthly policies or one premium payment on annual policies.
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