Today, cycling has become an effective way to maintain fitness and enjoy the outdoors. It is also the most eco-friendly way to travel. Although not very popular, it is also a competitive sport dating back to the nineteenth century.
On May 31, 1868, a short 1200-meter race was the first of its kind to take place in France. Following this, the first city-to-city was held in the country a year later. This spread like wildfire in Europe and many started partaking in the sport. However, it was difficult to host races in England because of the deplorable conditions of the roads!
Spreading across the globe
Cycling made its way across the pond to the United States of America ten years later. It was one of the earliest competitive sports as baseball and basketball were invented around the same time as well. USA also invented the six-day race, offering prizes up to $10,000 in the 1890s. These races are still popular in Europe.
Closer to home
India received its first cycles in 1910, laying the foundation for its first cycling club in Calcutta. In India, cycling as a competitive sport isn’t as popular as most of the population uses it for transport. It quickly became a hobby for the rich but remained a means of cheap transport for the poor.
Cycling as a sport is evolving every day. Tour de France is the most popular competition, with prizes worth $2.5 million. But in India, it largely remains a means of transportation.