Very recently I received a gift following obtaining my Elite Licence, a book called The Call Of The Road by Chirs Sidwells.
The book is focused on the history of Cycling and more specifically Road Racing. I found that reading this there is so much to learn about the history of the sport and is a read which I would highly recommend.
Learning about the first races around the Parc De Cloud in Paris during 1868, and the first Road Race from Paris to Rouen in 1869, won by a British man James Moore who started at 7:25am and arrived at the finish in Rouen at 6:10pm the same day! Interestingly it also had a female competitor who used a a name of Miss America who finished 12 hours after the winner. She was not last as that went to E. Fortin and Prosper Martin who crossed the line together 14 hours and 15 minutes behind James Moore.
One can only imagine the roads back then and that they could not have been the best. It is stories like this that I really enjoyed reading and learning about.
Highly recommended read for any cyclist.