12 archive pictures showing that Russians are in love with bikes

1986. Students in the town of Jambyl (now Taraz, Kazakhstan) at the starting line before a cycling competition

1986. Students in the town of Jambyl (now Taraz, Kazakhstan) at the starting line before a cycling competition

Vladimir Vorotnikov / TASS
From postmen to circus artists, from models to Leo Tolstoy: bikes were an integral part of life both in Tsarist Russia and the USSR.
A popular tale says that Russian serf Efim Artamonov  presented the first ever bicycle to Tsar Alexander I in 1801, long before it was invented in the West. // 1907. Fire brigade
The peasant is believed to have ridden the bizarre vehicle all the way from the Urals to St. Petersburg. //1896. Leo Tolstoy and his wife Sofia before a bicycle ride.
Artamonov was allegedly granted freedom for his outstanding invention, which was soon forgotten however. // 1910s. Open air picnic
Artamonov's story is most likely make-belief, but Russian affection for bikes can't be ignored. // 1912. Bikes on display at the “Podeda” department store in St. Petersburg
1920s. May Day parade on Red Square in Moscow
1936. Nurses take part in a bike ride from Moscow to Gorky (now Nizhny Novgorod)
1940. Balancer Zinaida Tarasova rides on a tightrope under the arches of Moscow’s main circus
1954. A postman delivers newspapers to collective farm workers in Central Asia
1954. The Soviet cycling team
1983. Models in "peasant girl" look pose for a photograph
1983. Engineer Nikolay Sokolovsky tests his original version of the bicycle
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