Here Comes the Cavalry
Members of the Italian cavalry cycling corps climb with their folding bikes strapped to their backs in a photo from a 1910 issue of National Geographic. Bicycles were popular in many armies during the 1900s.
A Century of Bicycling History in 16 Pictures
As cyclists of the 102nd Tour de France begin the epic race, we look at the world of cycling through history and around the globe.
Professional cyclists from all over the world hit the starting line this Saturday in the first stage of the unrelenting, three-week-long Tour de France. Starting in Utrecht, Netherlands, the epic course will cover a total of 3,360 kilometers (about 2,088 miles), raced in 21 daily doses called stages, through gusting winds, up steep mountains, and at breakneck speeds down harrowing hairpin turns.
This year marks the 102nd tour held since the inaugural 1903 race. In the pre-Spandex era of the Tour’s early days, bike frames were made of heavy steel, and riders handled their own repairs, carrying extra tubes and tires wrapped around their shoulders and waists.
Historically, bicycles have served many roles—from military transportation to an emblem of the women's rights