By 2012, Olympic cycling races will consist of four disciplines - each of which now involves specialist bikes and skills among riders. Track, Road and Mountain Bike will be joined by BMX races at the Beijing Games in 2008.
Though bicycles were first developed in the 18th century, it wasn't until 1885 that JK Starley invented the chain system that practical modern bikes replaced the cumbersome 'Penny Farthing' design. Professional cycle racing took off almost immediately, and the sport still enjoys huge popularity, particularly in Continental Europe.
Cycling has been a part of every modern Games in some form. Mountain Biking was added to the Olympic programme for the Atlanta Games in 1996, and BMX races will be added for the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.