In 1868, the first ever documented bicycle race was held in a Paris park, and to the locals' chagrin, was won by a Briton. Yet while cycling culture became ingrained in continental European culture, riders this side of the Channel were engaged in constant battles with the authorities to pursue their sport - road racing was in fact banned as early as 1890. Its rise in popularity over the past 150 years, and the many triumphs of British cyclists in that time, have therefore been phenomenal.
Never before has the full story of the sport been documented in one book, and in Great British Cycling, Ellis Bacon guides you through the development of our bike racing world, from weekend outings to British riders being able to compete in, then finish and win stages of the Tour de France. It takes you from cycling clubs and iconic frame-builders to a post-war explosion in cycling participation inspired by the likes of Brian Robinson, Tommy Simpson, Barry Hoban and Beryl Burton, from huge crowds witnessing the Tour of Britain and other races up and down the land to the modern era of glorious success by the likes of Mark Cavendish, Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome.
As the Tour de France returns to these shores for the fourth time, with Great Britain now firmly established at the top of the world of cycling, this is the ideal time for fans of the sport, both new and old, to explore its wonderful history.