There comes a time when the weather does not cooperate and Mother Nature flexes its muscles, making it difficult for us to enjoy the outdoors. Of course, as an alternative to cycling, we can spend hours on a stationary bike dripping sweat in the living room in a futile effort to tend to this unfortunate predicament. On the flipside, however, we can get our cycling fix in a more entertaining fashion, albeit less physically beneficial, by playing those classic board games.
Board games have been around for ages. They even date back as far as the pre-historic era, a time even before humans had developed the written language, according to The Medium’s Peter Attia.
Throughout the decades, centuries even, more and more board games have incorporated certain themes to somewhat add colour and excitement to the whole playing experience. Yes, modern technology – which includes all the state-of-the-art gadgets and applications – has established its dominance in terms of providing us with viable entertainment channels. But at the end of the day, nothing beats the feeling of playing something as tangible as a traditional board game
Having said that, here is a brief account of bicycle theme board games spanning the course of the last three centuries.
Cycling board games have a long history that corresponds the overall fame of the bike itself during the latter part of the 19th century. There were two notable titles during that period – more specifically 1896 and 1900 – that sparked the intrigue of the masses.
First off, there was Wheeling, a complex board game, developed in 1896, that takes players on a race from Hyde Park Corner in London to The Anchor Inn in Ripley, Surrey. Not long after, in 1900, Pank-a-Squith, as featured by Sheila Hanlon, highlighted its simple gameplay, on top of its great artwork inspired by the Victorian Era.
Following these two pioneers, the cycling theme in the middle part of the 1900s adapted the mechanics of more prevalent board games such as Parcheesi and Ludo. Its creators just replaced basic tokens with a bicycle, a motorcycle, and a racehorse.
One of the more iconic titles of the 20th century was Vuelta Ciclista a España, which was a dice-driven, cycling racing board game. Its three-dimensional facets were way ahead of its time, taking players on a wild ride across the Spanish mountains.
Arguably, the 2000s is the pinnacle of contemporary technology, considering all the advancements in video games and app development. However, there is still a niche for board games, particularly – as what we have mentioned earlier – for those who want to enjoy a visible and concrete pastime.
As seen here on Cycling Weekly, there is a 2014 board game called Cycling Party, which blends the close to similar excitement of the actual activity with the excitement of timeless strategy mechanics.
This independent manufacturer even incorporated biking into the classic Monopoly game, to come up with Cycle-opoly.
Long before the ultra-popular Monopoly franchise was created, which now has its own online game on Slingo Slots among various other off-shoots, cycling-inspired board games were the in-thing back in the day. They gave people the chance to enjoy the endeavour at home, with family and friends. It’s for this same reason why board games are still held in high regard as they offer families an alternative to technology. It gives families a vehicle to bond over, and it’s for this very reason that board games will always have a special place in our hearts. Especially when they have cycling as a core theme.