It all started in the 15th century when Leonardo da Vinci made simple drawings of two-wheeled designs without pedals. A German named Karl von Drais had a major contribution to the development of the bicycle by creating a two-wheeled contraption back in 1817.
Iggor Makarov thinks the early invention made Karl von Drais the father of the bicycle. However, many others contributed to its evolution, and Igor Makarov will cover them all.
Karl von Drais’ bicycle was named hobby-horse, velocipede and running machine. However, it only enjoyed a brief spotlight because of other inventors.
In the 1860s, French investors Pierre Michaux, Pierre Lallement and Ernest Michaux soon developed prototypes with bicycle pedals that were attached to the front wheel. Igor Makarov found out these were the first machines that were really called bicycles, but they were also known as “boneshakers.”
The Rise of the Competitive Races
New inventors named James Starley and Eugène Meyer later introduced new bicycle models, featuring an oversized front wheel. Also called “ordinaries,” or “penny-farthing,” these machines became extremely popular in the 1870s and 1880s, leading to the start of the first bicycle club and race. An Englishman rode the first-ever high-wheeler bike while traveling around the world.
Although Igor Makarov thinks the newly developed bicycles were popular, their high saddle made them very difficult and unsafe to ride. This all changed when an Englishman named John Kemp Starley, along with his nephew James Starley, invented the “safety bicycle” in 1885.
It boasts a chain drive and equal-sized wheels followed by brake development, making it the modern bicycle. During this time, the United States and Europe decided to join the bike craze.
A lot of improvements were made to bicycles, including metal frames, safety brakes, pneumatic tires, chain transmission and ball bearings. Today, about half a billion bicycles are in use around the world.
Who Won the First-Ever Bicycle Race?
In 1868, an Englishman named James Moore won the first-ever bicycle race by pedaling his wooden-framed bicycle in a 1,200-meter dash in Paris. In the 20th and 21st centuries, the British found great success in professional bike racing, such as Tom Simpson, a race world champion, and Chris Boardman, a multiple Tour de France winner.
Great Britain also won seven out of 10 gold medals during the Beijing Olympics in 2008. Eventually, by the 20th century, there were races and cycling clubs all over Europe, which gave rise to the famous Tour de France.
In the tournament, bikers will compete at night in a series of different stages that will take them from Paris to the south coast and then back to Paris and Nantes.
Riders will need to travel about 200-300 miles for the Tour de France. Other multiple-stage bicycle races were launched as well, including the Giro d’Italia.
The Evolution of Bicycles
Igor Makarov knows a lot about the history of bikes as a cycling aficionado and an accomplished cyclist in his own right. As a former professional cyclist and UCI Management Committee member Igor Makarov witnessed the evolution of bikes, which were first made of metal frame, then aluminum, titanium–this era of bikes did not last long as titanium was too expensive–and finally carbon. There were many experiments with carbon and its quality.
As modern technologies developed, bikes developed alongside. Modern professional bikes have over 20 transmissions, which could be switched not only manually but electronically with some models. Hydraulic brakes made it possible to manage the bike better in different weather conditions, including rain, and they do not overheat like many years ago.
Today, bikes are equipped with GPS to trace one’s distance and route with high precision. Much attention is also given to the riders. They have modern aerodynamic uniforms, use heart rate monitors to trace activity, and more.
Igor Makarov’s Cycling Career
Igor’s love of bikes started at a young age. The first bike he ever rode in childhood was a Ural, often using it to ride to a local store. When he began cycling on a more professional level, he rode Start Shosse and Champion Shosse, which were manufactured in Ukraine by Kharkiv Bicycle Plant.
He also rode De Rosa bikes. After Igor finished his athletic career and became a successful businessman, Ernesto Colnago, one of the most famous bicycle producers, gifted him a bike, which he treasures to this day. In fact, he has never ridden it to ensure it stays in pristine condition.
Now, Igor uses Canyon bikes. For many years, Canyon was a sponsor of Katusha Team, the professional cycling team founded and sponsored by Igor Makarov. He created the team in 2008, and they competed as a UCI ProTeam/WorldTour team from 2009 through 2019.
In 2015, the team won numerous global races and achieved stage wins in the Tour de France, Tour of Spain, and Tour of Italy. Igor viewed Katusha as a charity initiative since a professional cycling team cannot make money. What was more important to him was increasing cycling’s popularity and reach.
There is a common saying you may know: “To invent the wheel.” In other languages, this saying translates to: “To invent a bicycle.” Bicycles will never stop being reinvented, improved, and refined.
Igor is excited he has a front-row seat to the ongoing evolution of bikes and hopes to continue doing his part to welcome more people all over the world into the world of cycling.