Cycling requires no introduction, and as a pastime and sport most likely features in every nation in the world. As a sport the first documented race took place in France. The distance was 1200m held on the May 1868 at Saint-Cloud, Paris. A year later the first competition that covered the distance between two cities was Paris-Rouen. The race was 123km and was completed in 10 hours and 40 minutes. The St. Louis Cycling Club in the United States is the oldest club in the world and since 1887, many of its members have gone on to be part of Olympic teams. Since the penny-farthing, the first machine to be referred to as a bicycle, the more improved versions had better steering, safety, comfort, and riders could go faster. By the late 1800s, the popularity of cycling had soared among the elite and middle classes across North America and Europe. By the start of the 1900s, the golden age of cycling had begun with both men and women using it as a means of transportation. It was especially popular with women as it provided wider participation in the general life of western nations.
With the advent of cycling as a popular pastime and showing the beginnings of a growing sport, a governing body to manage the development worldwide was required. It came in the form of the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) or the International Cycling Federation, founded in April 1900. The federation was founded by national cycling sports organisations of Belgium, USA, France, Italy and Switzerland. Originally there were 30 countries connected to UCI. Today the federation manages a sport that is both amateur and professional, and forms equally a major part of the summer Olympic program. The federation is working hard to make the sport equal to both women and men. Road cycling involves a world tour that starts in January and completes in December with the Tour de France as the most famous race. In addition, there are world tour events in mountain biking (several categories), track cycling, BMX racing and freestyle, trials, cyclo-cross, and indoor (cycle-ball and artistic cycling). The mission of UCI is to inspire more people around the world to take up cycling, to make the sport more attractive, to contribute to the wellbeing of society, and to promote sustainable development.