In the early 1900s, cycling was one of the more popular ways to get around town. Ironically, cyclists clamoring for improved roads helped set the stage for the automobile, which relegated the bicycle back to where it started: as a recreational mode of transportation.

Today, cycling is more than just fun. It's an extremely efficient way to keep in shape and improve cardiovascular fitness. More than 100 million Americans still ride for pleasure on occasion. In New York City alone, 100,000 people cycle to work each day. Lance Armstrong, with 5 straight Tour De France titles in a row has brought cycling awareness and respect in the United States.

The bicycle was not invented by one single person, but was gradually developed throughout Europe beginning in the late 1700s. Invention of steering, the wheel crank, and the chain-and-pedal system is attributed to various Europeans.

An important American contribution came in 1889, when John Dunlop developed the first air-filled tires; in 1898, the first coaster brake brought the bicycle into the modern age.