Essay On The History And Mechanics Of Bicycle Racing Williamsville North/ Gym Research Paper

2113 words - 9 pages

Bicycle Racing
Gym Make Up Project
Aaron Larson
Aaron Larson
Mr. Ferenczy
Gym
Bicycle Racing
Bicycle racing or Cycle sport is a very popular sport all over the world. Countless races and Criteriums are held in almost every country in the world. The most famous Grand Tour is the Tour de France. Which is part of a series of 3 Grand Tours, the Giro d’Italia and the Vuelta a Espana are the other two which appear along with the Tour de France. These are the best known Grand Tours but there are many others.
The history of bicycle racing goes back to 1868, May 31. This is the date of the first bicycle race won by James Moore an Englishman. The race was held in Paris and was 1200 meters in length. Following this the first Tour de France was held in 1903. Every one of the 6 stages was won by the same the same rider, Maurice Garin. The first Tour de France was already an international event with riders from France, Belgium, and, Germany. By the time the Tour de France was organized, bicycle racing had become popular in the United States and all over Europe. But the second Tour was almost the end of the tour. The popularity of the tour had made the winning team obsessed with winning that they cheated and sabotaged many other competitors. The French team that had gotten first through fifth had cheated. They had set traps made of nails and used other vehicles to get to the finish. They were stripped of their stage wins and titles and the new winner was the fifth place rider, Henri Cornet. The Third Tour put it back on track. The team that had dominated the first 2 Tours was now permanently banned and the contestants, after the consequences of cheating that had become clear after the last tour, were too scared to cheat. The tour was the longest yet and had 5 more stages than the previous two tours. It was also the first to include a stage in the Alps. The winner was Louis Trousselier. Trousselier won the next Tour as well. The next few Tours were all won by different riders until Lucien Petit-Bretons wins two in a row. He was the last to do so for over 10 years. Another significant feat was accomplished by Philippe Thys, in 1920, as he became the first to win 3 tours. Soon other types of bicycle racing had started appearing across the world. The main form of bicycle racing is road racing which is the entirety of the tours. Road racing is very diverse in that there is many different events that are road races. There are team time trials, individual time trials, sprints, and team racing. The most well-known is the team race where everyone starts at the same time and fight for positioning in the peloton or break away to challenge the leaders. There is also track cycling where the riders are on a banked track that is usually oval or a circle. Other disciplines include BMX, Cyclo-cross, Mountain biking, and Cycle speedway. They each have different tracks and bike styles. BMX bikes are generally smaller with stronger frames, and only one gear. There is also freestyle BMX which is a trick contest. Freestyle BMX is less about racing and more about performing the best trick and getting a higher score than your opponents. Mountain biking is similar to BMX except that instead of a track they race down mountains or cross country and includes a large amount of technical riding and skill. Cyclo-cross is mainly held during the off months of road racing and consists of pavement, dirt, and other obstacles that require the rider to dismount and carry their bike and then remount. Cycle speedway is a combination of road racing and BMX it is a short dirt track that holds a short race with no obstacles. There is also motor-paced racing where motorcycles are used to pace the riders to increase their speed. All of these disciplines make up bicycle racing.
The Union Cycliste Internationale is the body that makes and enforces the rules of bicycle racing it also issues the international rankings for the disciplines of mountain biking, road and track cycling. The UCI is responsible for dealing with controversies such as doping and other forms of cheating. The UCI also has ties the International Olympic Committee because of cycling’s designation as an Olympic sport. The UCI is the global power in cycling rules and rankings but it can be divided in to continental groups and further divided in to countries groups but the UCI is the ultimate power when it comes to decisions. The main rules in cycling relate to performance enhancing drugs and blood doping. One big star that was caught up in a scandal was Lance Armstrong, he won 7 Tours de France in a row and did so in convincing fashion. A few years after he was accused of blood doping, or adding hemoglobin to his blood so more oxygen can be transported throughout the body, the accusations went to the UCI and they made the final decision on what his punishment would be and how his titles would be affected. This lead to a very long trial and a decision wasn’t reached for years after the accusations were made and it all ended in Armstrong losing all of his racing titles and is now banned from all competitive sports. More current stars in the sport are Chris Froome the overall winner of the 2015 Tour, Rojas N. Quintana the best youth in the 2015 Tour, Tejay Van Garderen was a serious American contender until he got sick during the Tour de France. Others are there but these are the ones that I see the most. The thing I dislike the most about the sport is that it is very repetitive and there is little variation in what they can do to make one race different from one in the same sort of landscape. If you watch the 3 Grand Tours one after another you see much of the same things in each of them. From the mountain stages to the sprints you see the same people winning them and the same people struggling. You also see the same strategy used by the teams with the same people. If someone gets ahead you see the whole team focus on them and do everything to further their position which leads to the same people getting ahead and no one can randomly jump in the standing past the first few stages. Once a strategy is established the teams never stray from it unless their focus has to withdraw from the race. Bicycle racing also has many likable traits. Not everyone looks the same so you can always tell the teams and every individual rider apart. There is also a lot of room for individuality in the riders’ bikes and other equipment. Unlike other sports the bikes and equipment the riders use aren’t completely uniform and can be recreated for personal use. This allows for a large amount of creativity when it comes to the shape of the frame and the amount of gears. Also the teams don’t all have everyone riding the same bike or the same equipment. The riders decide what works best for them and can stick with it. There are also looser restrictions on the equipment, there are many different companies that make the same things for racers like tires and it is up to the rider and team which they want to use. The individuality in bicycle racing is one of its best traits. Also bicycle racing takes you through many different landscapes. Throughout all of the Grand Tours the commentators point out interesting things about the area the racers are going through. They spend as much time talking about the race and racers as they do pointing out historical buildings and famous landmarks. You learn a lot about the countryside and the history of the area the race is in. Many things they point out you would never see otherwise. You also see the differences between the roads and mountains in different countries. Mainly in France, Spain, and Italy but other countries hold tours and the differences in the roads and plant life is astounding. For example the Spanish tour goes through much more desolate places than the French tour and you see much less of the countryside and interesting places of Spain. There is also a very vivid contrast from the mountains in the different tours. The French tour leads the riders through a very green and forestry area while the Spanish showed a very dry portion of mountains. It is great to see all of the different terrains and county sides of all the different countries.
The season for bicycle racing is year round, the different disciplines rise depending on the time of year. The time when the most people watch bicycle racing is during the Grand Tour season which starts in May and lasts through September. The Giro d’Italia takes place in May. The Tour de France is in July and the Vuelta a Espana starts in August and ends in September. Many Grand tour riders do Cyclo-cross during the off season because it allows them to practice many different styles of racing and overall skills. BMX is also done almost year round because I can be done through most terrains despite the weather. Motor paced racing is done in the same season as Grand Tours because of the weather being accommodating to where they are racing and the track being dry so the riders don’t lose traction at the high speeds they reach. Cycle speedway is an indoor sport so it can be played all year round without a season around it. Mountain biking also is done mainly in the spring and summer months so that the bikes cannot lose traction on mud or snow or in wet conditions. The road racing season lasts around the same length of the mountain biking season for the same reasons and it includes the Grand Tours and many criteriums and one day races all take place during this season and they make up the bulk of all bicycle racing. Bicycle racing is also played in the Olympics. In the summer Olympics there is a small tour and a lot of time trials. There is also a BMX competition in the Olympics. Track cycling also makes an appearance in the summer Olympics. The tour in the Olympics last until after the actual games are over because of how many stages there are in the tour and how late it starts in the games. Most of the televised road racing in the Olympics are time trials and not tour stages or one stage races. The time trials are almost 2 days of events because of all the riders in them. The BMX is a lot of solo runs for points based on the skill you display and the tricks they perform. This BMX format also appears in the X-Games along with BMX racing and a relay race with a BMX race to finish it. Road racing is a worldwide sport and played on every continent with its most popular countries being Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, and Switzerland. Other countries with large pro scenes in racing are the United States, Australia, Luxemburg, and the United Kingdom. The Grand Tours which are the pinnacle of the road racing scene are in Italy, France, and Spain. The Tour de France is the most important one it also gives the most points in the UCI’s International ranking system. The Giro d’Italia is the second most important and the last tour the Vuelta a Espana is the least important. There are many “Tours” in the world. They are shorter than the Grand Tours and carry less weight in the ranking system. The Tour of Utah and California are popular ones in America. Australia has a large tour named the Tour from Down Under. Road racing is played in more places than most other disciplines but mountain biking is the second most played disciplines.
Bicycle racing is a worldwide sport and is an extremely popular sport around the world. The different forms of racing bring a unexpected element what a cyclist really can do when there are trained in multiple disciplines. From freestyle BMX to a Grand Tour bicycle racing has all sorts of surprises in store for everyone.
Bibliography
The Official Tour de France Centennial 1903-2003 Weidenfeld &n Nicolson Copyright 2003 print
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cycle_sport
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Union_Cycliste_Internationale
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lance_Armstrong
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grand_Tour_%28cycling%29

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