We all remember pedal cycles from our youth. The very first sit-on bikes in the early 19th century had no pedals or chains. The later pedal penny-farthing is a popular Victorian image - the big bikes are known for sending wary pedestrians and animals scattering.
But it was the invention of the Rover safety bike which laid the foundations for modern bikes. Additional features such as brakes, sprung saddles and pneumatic tyres brought us into the twentieth century when British brands like Raleigh were dominant.
Fast forward to the 1960s and features we still see today, like small-wheel models (pioneered by Alex Moulton) and folding bikes (like Brompton) became popular, whilst the trendy Raleigh Chopper of the 1970s warmed many youngsters hearts.
Yes, they were all lighter and more technically advanced than their forebears, but all relied exclusively on pedal power. Cycles became a ubiquitous and cheap form of personal transport – as Katie Melua reminded us, there are nine million bicycles in Beijing – and mass production moved to the Far East, leaving only the specialist builders and the designers in the west.
In the twenty-first century, cycling as a sport, the popularity of velodrome events and of Team Sky have made many sports cyclists household names and aspirational figures.
Whether it was Chris Boardman with ground-breaking carbon fibre frames, Chris Froome in the Tour de France, or Victoria Pendleton in the velodrome, cycling has seen a resurgence both as a global sport and a leisure activity.