The Sports Archives – The Popularity of Cycling!

Cycling has become more popular over the last few years a small part of this increase in popularity can be attributed to the 2012 London Olympics and Bradley Wiggins Tour De France win.

However cycling has a rich history that most people do not know anything about.

popularity of cycling

The first bicycle race took place on the 31 May 1868 in Paris.  The race was held of 1,200 metres the race was won by James Moore who rode a wooden bicycle with iron tyres.

This article will look at the different cycling events that have become popular since this first race.

Road Races

Road racing can be done as part of a team or as an individual competition, there are various types of road races from one day events to multi stage events.

Let’s take a look at some of the different Road Races.

  • Criterium – This one day event is held on a short course generally less than a mile and are often run on closed of city centre streets.
  • Time-trial – This one day event can be held on roads or in Velodromes.
  • Multi-Stage Events such as the Tour de France and sister events are held over several weeks and cover different stages across Europe.


Cyclo-cross racing takes place in the autumn and winter months.  The Cyclo-cross world cup season is normally held between October and February.

Cyclo-Cross consists of many laps between 2.5 – 3.5 km, some courses feature different surfaces such as pavement, wooded trails, grass, steep hills and obstacles that require the rider to quickly dismount and carry their bike whilst navigating the obstacle before they can remount.

Races for senior categories are normally between 30 minutes to 1 hour.

Mountain Bike Racing

Mountain bike racing is held on various terrains and has several different events.  Let’s take a look at some of these events.

  • Cross-Country is held on varied terrain circuit between 6 and 8 km and is a massed-start race.
  • Short Track cross-country is held on a track of 800m in length
  • Downhill racing is a time trial event, participants start at 30 second to 3 minute intervals depending on the stage of the competition the rider with the lowest time wins.
  • Super D is a race that combines cross-country and downhill stages

Track Cycling

This type of event has been going since at least 1870 when cycling was in its infancy. Track cycling is held on wooden indoor tracks which consist of 2 straights and 2 banked turns.

One appeal of indoor track racing when it was introduced was that organisers could control the spectators and charge an entrance fee which made track cycling a lucrative sport some early races of this type attracted up to 2000 spectators.

Another advantage of indoor tracks meant that events could be held all year round.


For those of you who are old enough will remember that the BMX craze started in the 1970’s when kids started riding their bikes on dirt tracks and was considered to be one of the must have bikes of the 80’s.

In 2003 the International Olympic Committee made BMX a full medal Olympic sport and made its debut Olympic appearance in the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.

The first Olympic champions for BMX racing were Māris Štrombergs (Male for Latvia) and Anne-Caroline Chausson (Female for France).

Mountain Bike Trials

Also known as an observed trial it is carried out on Mountain Bikes and consists of the participants attempting to pass through an obstacle course without setting a foot on the ground.

This form of event is a true test of handling skills for mountain bikers.

Cycle Speedway

Although the origins of this event are obscure there is evidence that shows that cycle speedway existed in the 1920’s. This event is held on short oval dirt tracks which are usually outdoors however some events are held on indoor tracks.

Tracks are typically between 70 and 90 metres.

Featured images:
  •  License: Image author owned

James Olsen is an amateur bike racer and takes part in several different events throughout the year one of his favourite events is the Super D which he uses his Hybrid Bike for.

Related Blogs:
Top 5 Cycling Legends in History!
Did Lance Armstrong Deserve to be Stripped of his Titles?

This entry was posted in Olympics, Other and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to The Sports Archives – The Popularity of Cycling!

  1. Pingback: The Sports Archives – What Metals The Best Bicycles On The Market Are Made Out Of? | The Sports Archives Blog

  2. Pingback: The Sports Archives – The Best Competitive BMX Events! | The Sports Archives Blog

  3. Pingback: The Sports Archives – Simple Maintenance Tips to Keep your Bike on the Road | The Sports Archives Blog

  4. Pingback: The Sports Archives – The Ultimate Guide To Cycling Survival | The Sports Archives Blog

  5. Pingback: The Sports Archives – China’s Domination of the Electric Bike Market Continues Unabated! | The Sports Archives Blog

  6. Pingback: The Sports Archives – The History of Bicycle Racing! | The Sports Archives Blog

  7. Pingback: The Sports Archives – The Popularity of Cycling! - Tokyo Olympic Games 2020

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s