Bicycles were first developed in Germany in 1817 and likely were created to replace horses that had died due to the 1816 crop failure. The original bikes had no gears and cyclists would use their feet to glide forward, somewhat like Fred Flintstone. Cycling took a quantum leap forward in 1865 when J.K. Starley devised the chain-and-gearing system. The race has been on since then for engineers to invent faster, sleeker, and lighter bikes.
Cycling track races were regularly attracting large crowds as early as 1870 in England. The athletes would ride on wooden indoor tracks that were the predecessors for today’s modern velodromes. Indoor tracks ensured not only year round competition, but also enabled promoters to charge spectators an entrance fee.