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History

  • All-time Greats: The 5 Best Cyclists in History

    Eddy Merckx

    Eddy Merckx

    There is no doubt who sits at the top of any list of the greatest cyclists in history. Merckx, a road racer from Belgium who was born in 1945, holds more professional victories than any other cyclist. He won the Tour De France and the Giro d’Italia five times each, holds three world championships, and won the so-called "Monument" races (high-level, one-day cycling races) a record 19 times -- including each race at least twice, the only rider to ever do so.

    Merckx is one of only two cyclists to hold the so-called "Triple Crown" -- to win the Tour de France, the Giro d’Italia and the World Championship in the same year. In 1984, he set the hour record -- the distance for riding in one hour -- at high altitude in Mexico City.

    The record stood for twelve years before falling to Francesco Moser, who used a specially-designed bike for aerodynamics. In 2000, the Union Cycliste Internationale changed the rules for the mile record, requiring a traditional bike to be used, and in the same year Chris Boardman beat Merckx’s record by just 10 meters. However, his ride was conducted at sea level. The mile record was again beaten in 2005 by Ondrej Sosenka, who has faced doping allegations.

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  • A Brief History of Bicycle Racing

    Early track bike racer

    As long as there have been bicycles, people have been racing them. After all, put two kids on a bike, and they're likely to be racing before too long. The history of bicycle racing provides a fascinating look into the development of modern cycling sport and is full of stories of drama, injury, failure, and glory.

    The first race

    History records the first official cycling race as taking place on the last day of May, 1868, on the west side of Paris, at the Parc de Saint-Cloud. It covered 1200 meters and was won by James Moore, an Englishman, who rode a wooden bicycle with iron tires.

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  • The bicycle: A very brief history

    Dandy horse

    Bikes seem just about ubiquitous today. Some in the industry estimate that there are between 500 million and 1 billion functional bikes in the world, and you'll see people riding everywhere from Bangkok to Botswana to New York City.

    At this point, the bicycle is nearly 200 years old, making it one of oldest mechanical creations still in widespread use. But over that time, it has changed greatly. Some of the earliest cycles are only distant cousins of the modern bike. In this blog post, we will share with you some of the history of the bicycle.

    The earliest 'bicycles'

    The bicycle has a long and storied history that stretches back to the early 1800's -- 1817 to be exact. That's when a German baron named Karl von Drais (the same fellow who created the first typewriter with a keyboard) invented the Draisienne, also called the velocipede or dandy horse -- a two-wheeled contraption that was essentially the same as modern push bikes used by small children. No gears, no pedals -- just a wooden frame, two wheels, a steering mechanism and a (rather uncomfortable looking) seat.

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