Bike Week: 100 years of celebrating cycling

This year is the 100th year of #BikeWeek by Cycling UK.

At Get Cycling we like to celebrate cycling every day, so we thought we’d highlight something a bit closer to our hearts to mark this special milestone: the history of disability cycling.

Did you know? The first handcycle was invented in Germany in 1655, by Stephan Farffler.

It looks a lot different now from how it began and we love that it enables even more people to enjoy cycling, including our legendary friend Vicky Hogg who borrowed our Amtryke handcycle to help her smash her 100 Marathons In 100 Days goal!

Vicky Hogg on what she christened “The Beast” – the Amtryke handcycle we loaned her to complete her 100 Marathons In 100 Days challenge.

The tricycle has a few different inventors, as early as 1789!

Matthew A. Cherry patented the tricycle in the US in 1888, he also invented the streetcar fender and came up with many transportation devices that are still used today.

James Starley invented the Coventry Lever tricycle in 1876, which used two small wheels on the right side and a large drive wheel on the left side; power was supplied by hand levers

Today they’re still super popular – in 2020 the amazing Sue Brown raised over £4000 for St. John’s Hospice by cycling 1,407km on her Pfautec trike!

Sue Brown cycled 1,407km on her tricycle and raised over £4,000 for St. John’s Hospice.

The first geared recumbent was invented by Charles Challand, a professor in Geneva, in the 1890s, naming it “Die Normal-Bicyclette” or “The Normal Bicycle” because the rider’s posture was more ‘normal’ than that of a stooped-over rider on a conventional bicycle.

The recumbent cycle has had many re-inventions in the 20th century, including the J-Rad built by Austrian aeronautical engineer Paul Jaray in 1921.

In 2019 our hero customer Amy cycled on her ICE Trike from London to Paris – over 300 miles in 4 days for St. Luke’s Hospice – and absolutely smashed it!

Amy Griffiths and her ICE Trike. She cycled from London to Paris to raise money for St. Luke’s Hospice.

Love it or hate it, the tandem cycle is something really special.

Invented in 1898 by Danish inventor Mikael Pederson, first featured in the Olympics in 1901 & still going strong today – there are near-endless versions of the classic tandem!
You think you know the original bicycle built-for-two, but think again – from wheelchair tandems, side-by-sides and even tandem recumbents, they really are the cycle for everyone!

We have so many amazing customers that have taken their tandems on fantastic adventures and we love it when they share them with us 🙂

Some of our lovely customers sharing their tandem adventures with us

Paracycling has a rich history, starting with road cycling in the 1984 New York Paralympic Games.
Track cycling followed 12 years later in 1996 in Atlanta.

The number of athletes participating was pretty low, with only 22 Para cyclists competing in the 7 games, and of them, only 2 competing in the one women’s event.

Four years later, in Seoul, the competitors nearly doubled to 40 but none of them were women.

In 1996, the same year track cycling was added to the games, the number of women athletes increased – 16% of the total participants.

The 2000 Sydney Paralympic Games saw Parcycling reach the status of a major sport – with over 200 participants, it’s easy to see how it’s becoming more and more popular.

We have many favourite Paracyclists and we continue to love the sport! ❤️💙💚

Paracycling was added to the Paralympic Games in 1984 (road cycling) and 1996

Get Cycling

And where would we be without including the history of Get Cycling?

Get Cycling CIC was founded in 2008 by Jim and Sally McGurn, a family with a passion for cycling and social inclusion, and it remains today an independent retailer with the founders on the board.

Joseph, one of Jim and Sally’s sons, has Down’s Syndrome and Autism and they saw the need for more options in disability cycling. They recognised that everyone has their own cycling needs and sought to facilitate that and open up cycling for everyone.

Get Cycling founders Jim and Sally McGurn with their son Joseph

Get Cycling also started with try-out events providing support, encouragement and traffic-free spaces to give cycling a go. But as we’ve grown the events have moved onto our sister charity Everybody’s Cycling and we continue to work closely with them.

Each year we have supported more and more people to ‘get cycling’ and with our growing inclusive sales and support services operating nationally we hope to get more people on cycles as the years go by.

We love being your friendly neighbourhood bike shop with (probably) the UK’s largest range of inclusive and adapted cycles!

Get Cycling CIC, 22 Hospital Fields Road, York YO10 4DZ | 01904 636 812 |