Despite the fact that the wheel has been around for thousands of years, the bicycle remains a relatively modern invention - but one that has evolved rapidly over the last two hundred years. The first bicycle was created in 1790 by a Frenchman, Comte de Sivrac. It was made of wood, and had solid wheels with no steering system or pedals.
Steering came courtesy of German Baron von Drais in 1817, while Frenchman Pierre Michaux designed pedals in 1861 (Kirkpatrick McMillan 1831) that were later refined by Englishman JK Starley. The pneumatic inner-tube that helped create air-filled tyres was pioneered in 1887 by Irishman John Boyd Dunlop, and was refined by French brothers Edouard and Andre Michelin.
Over time, cycling has evolved from a mean's of transport into a pastime and sport in its own right, with mountain biking taking the discipline off-road and classic endurance events such as the Tour de France helping to further spread the popularity of the sport and inspiring people to take up cycling for personal fitness and as a hobby.
Cycling made its Olympic debut in the inaugural modern Summer Games in Athens, Greece, in 1896. That year, road race competitors did two laps of the marathon route from Athens to Marathon and back - a total distance of 87 kilometres. Although road racing was absent from the schedule in 1900, 1904 and 1908, it has been part of the rosta of sports ever since.
A team road race event was added to the programme in 1912, but it was dropped in 1956 in favour of a 100km team time trial that stayed on the schedule until 1992, when it was replaced by an individual time trial. A women's road race was added in 1984, with individual road time trials for women joining the schedule in 1996.