National Cycling Day

Happy cyclist wearing a helmet, colorful cycling gear, racing along a scenic countryside road..
National cycling day illustration

Get ready to pedal your way through the internet's history because it's National Cycling Day! Have you ever wondered how this two-wheeled wonder became a beloved pastime and a symbol of healthy living? Well, you're about to find out. So grab your helmet, hop on your bike, and let's hit the road!

When is Cycling Day?

It's national cycling day on the 15th May.

The Internet's Love Affair with Cycling

Who would have thought that a bunch of pixels and lines of code could have so much love for cycling? But it's true! National Cycling Day has become a global sensation, with internet users around the world celebrating the joy of biking.

It all started on May 15, 2017, when the internet exploded with 424 mentions of National Cycling Day. People couldn't stop talking about their favorite bike routes, the latest cycling gear, and the health benefits of this two-wheeled wonder. The online cycling community came together to share stories, tips, and photos of their epic cycling adventures.

But National Cycling Day is not just about the internet's love for this eco-friendly mode of transportation. It's also a day to raise awareness about the importance of cycling for our well-being and the environment. Cycling has numerous benefits, such as improving cardiovascular health, reducing stress, and decreasing air pollution. Plus, it's a fun and affordable way to get around town!

A Fun Fact to Pedal Away With

Did you know that the first bicycle was invented in the 19th century by the famous German engineer Karl Drais? His invention, called the 'running machine,' had no pedals and riders had to push themselves forward with their feet. Talk about taking baby steps towards two-wheeled greatness!

History behind the term 'Cycling'


The birth of the ‘vélocipède’

In 1791, the first known design for a two-wheeled vehicle propelled by pedals was penned by Comte Mede de Sivrac, a French engineer. This early precursor to the bicycle was called the ‘vélocipède’ and featured a wooden frame and two wheels, but lacked a chain or gears. Riders would use their feet to push on the ground to create forward motion.


Invention of the draisine

In 1791, a German baron named Karl Drais invented a two-wheel vehicle called the draisine. It had no pedals and was propelled by the rider pushing their feet against the ground. The draisine is considered a precursor to the modern bicycle.


Invention of the Velocipede

In 1791, the term 'cycling' can be traced back to the invention of the velocipede, a precursor to the modern bicycle. The velocipede consisted of a wooden frame with two wheels and pedals attached directly to the front wheel. This early version of cycling became popular throughout Europe, providing people with a means of transportation that required human power.


The Draisine takes to the streets

In 1817, Karl Drais, a German inventor, created a machine called the Draisine, also known as the ‘swiftwalker’ or ‘running machine.’ It featured two wheels, a frame, and a handlebar for steering. This innovative device was the first to introduce a steering mechanism, allowing riders to control the direction of travel. However, it still required riders to propel themselves forward by pushing off the ground with their feet.


Draisine Invention

In 1817, Baron Karl Drais invented the Draisine, also known as the dandy horse or running machine. This device marked a significant advancement in the development of cycling. The Draisine had two wheels aligned in a line, without pedals. Cyclists would use their feet to push off the ground and propel themselves forward, taking advantage of the principle of balance. Although limited in its use, the Draisine laid the foundation for future bicycle designs.


Development of the velocipede

In 1817, a French blacksmith named Karl von Drais improved upon the design of the draisine by adding a steering mechanism and a padded seat. This new vehicle became known as the velocipede. It was still propelled by pushing with the feet, but the addition of steering allowed for better control.


Pedal Bicycle Patent

The year 1865 witnessed the introduction of the pedal bicycle, which revolutionized the world of cycling. French blacksmith Pierre Michaux and his son Ernest Michaux patented a bicycle with pedals attached to a large front wheel. This design, known as the 'boneshaker,' due to its uncomfortable ride over cobblestone streets, allowed riders to propel themselves forward using the pedals. The Michaux's invention marked a significant milestone in the history of cycling, popularizing the concept of using pedals for propulsion.


Introduction of pedal power

In 1861, a Frenchman named Pierre Michaux added pedals to the front wheel of a velocipede, creating the first true bicycle. This new design, known as the Michaux velocipede, allowed riders to propel themselves by pedaling rather than pushing with their feet. The Michaux velocipede was the first step towards modern cycling as we know it today.


The pedal-driven bicycle

By 1861, Pierre Michaux, a French blacksmith, invented the bicycle pedal. He attached cranks and pedals to the front wheel of a ‘vélocipède,’ creating the first pedal-driven bicycle known as the Michaux 'boneshaker.' This pivotal innovation allowed riders to propel the bicycle forward solely by using their feet on the pedals.


First bicycle race

The year 1868 marked an important milestone in cycling history with the first documented bicycle race. It took place at the Parc de Saint-Cloud in Paris, France. The race covered a distance of approximately 1.2 kilometers and was won by Englishman James Moore. This event sparked public interest in cycling and helped popularize the sport.


Safety Bicycle Invention

The invention of the 'safety bicycle' in 1885 by English engineer John Kemp Starley brought cycling to the masses. This design featured a diamond-shaped frame, two equal-sized wheels, and a chain-driven mechanism connecting the pedals to the rear wheel. The safety bicycle provided a stable and comfortable ride, leading to a surge in popularity. It enabled people of different ages and genders to embrace cycling as a recreational activity and a means of transportation.


The penny-farthing era

In the late 1860s, the penny-farthing, also known as the high-wheeler, became immensely popular. These bicycles featured a large front wheel and a small rear wheel. Riding a penny-farthing required skill and balance, and the higher the front wheel, the greater the distance covered with each revolution. However, these bicycles were challenging to mount and dismount, and accidents were common due to the high center of gravity.


Introduction of the chain-driven bicycle

In 1885, a British engineer named John Kemp Starley revolutionized cycling with the invention of the chain-driven bicycle. This design featured a chain connecting the pedals to the rear wheel, allowing for more efficient power transfer and higher speeds. Starley's creation, known as the Rover Safety Bicycle, quickly became popular and set the standard for future bicycle designs.


First Tour de France

In 1903, the inaugural Tour de France took place, initiating one of the most prestigious and demanding cycling races in the world. The Tour de France was organized by French newspaper L'Auto to boost their sales and cycling sport overall. The race covered over 2,400 kilometers and consisted of six stages. The event's success not only contributed to the growing popularity of professional cycling but also solidified the sport's place in the realm of competitive athletics.


The safety bicycle revolution

In 1885, John Kemp Starley, an English inventor, introduced the safety bicycle, a design that had a chain-driven rear wheel, equal-sized wheels, and a diamond-shaped frame. This innovation made cycling more accessible and popular among both men and women. The safety bicycle was easier to handle, provided a smoother ride, and ultimately replaced the penny-farthing as the standard bicycle design.


Cycling as a sport

Cycling began to gain recognition as a competitive sport in the late 19th century. The first recorded bicycle race occurred in Paris in 1868, but it was not until 1893 that the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) was founded as the governing body for professional cycling. Since then, cycling has evolved into a global sport with various disciplines, including road cycling, track cycling, mountain biking, and more.


Inauguration of the Tour de France

In 1903, the first edition of the Tour de France, the world's most prestigious bicycle race, took place. Organized by Henri Desgrange, a French journalist, the race was initially held to boost sales for the French newspaper L'Auto. The inaugural Tour de France consisted of six stages and covered a total distance of approximately 2,428 kilometers. Since then, the Tour de France has become an iconic event in the cycling world and a symbol of endurance and athletic excellence.

Did you know?

Did you know that the average bicycle can be powered by 50 bananas? That's right, your favorite yellow fruit could give your bike a boost. Who needs gasoline when you can bring a bunch of bananas along for the ride?


awareness fun sports

First identified

10th July 2015

Most mentioned on

15th May 2017

Total mentions


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