CYCLING

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         We often hear a saying «Don’t invent a bicycle» about some­thing simple and known for a long time.

        Really, the bicycle is old enough — more than a hundred years of age. Its first prototype appeared in 1791 in France. In 1800 a Russian peasant Artamonov made an iron bicycle and travelled on it from Nizhni Tagil to Moscow.

          First bicycles looked odd: a large (about 1.5 m high) front wheel with a cranked axle.

         The back wheel was usually smaller. Bicycles were made of iron and riding them was not comfortable because of shaking. They were even called «boneshakers». In 1868 rubber tyreаwere invented, solid, then pneu­matic. New types of bicycles appeared every year but only in 1885 people saw a model which looked like modern cycles. It had two almost equal wheels and a chain drive to the rear wheel. The frame of the cycle was diamond-shaped. This shape sur­vived and became basic. The new machine looked more elegant than the old «spiders» which were soon abandoned. As time went by, new bicycles were invented — for two, three and even fifteen riderst.

        The first bicycle race was held in 1868 in Paris. But the sport became popular only several decades later because bicy­cles were expensive and only rich people could afford them. By the end of the 19th century many factories produced thou­sands of bicycles which became cheap, so many people could practise cycling and take part in various competitions.

        Cycling competitions are generally divided into road and track events. Both kinds are in the Olympic programme. Olym­pic road events include individual and team races.

         Individual races’ distances are different usually up to 200 kilometres. The winner is the first cyclist who passes over the finish line with his front wheel.

         In the team road event the teams start the contest with 2- 4 minutes interval, and that team wins whose members get the best sum of timings.

          Track events take place on special cycling tracks which look like elongated stadiums with a sloping runway made of con­crete, wood or plastics.

        Track events are very spectacular. The Olympic programme includes 1 km sprint races, 1 km heat or time trial, individual pursuit and team pursuit over 4 km.

        Modem sport bicycles are very light but firm machines made of special metals.

       Cyclists wear jersey shirts with pockets on the back, tight knee-long woolen shorts, perforated shoes, a cap or a leather crash helmet and mitts on their hands.

 

 

 

QUESTIONS:

 

1. How old is a bicycle?

2. Who invented the first all-metal bicycle?

3. How did thе first bicycles look like?

4. When were pneumatic tyres invented?

5. Where and when were the first bicycle races held?

6. When did cycling become a mass sport?

7. What events are included in cycling competitions?

8. Can you describe a cycling track?

 

 

VOCABULARY:

 

tyre — шина

rubber — резина

concrete — цемент

pursuit - преследование

perforated — перфорированный, с отверстиями

crash helmet  — шлем безопасности

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