Italian cyclist Alfredo Binda was so overwhelmingly dominating his sport, that he was payed by the organizers of the Giro d’Italia not to race. The sum he received was equivalent to that awarded to the winner.
During WW2, the winner of the Tour de France, Gino Bartali, put his fame to a good cause. He hid counterfeit document in his bicycle and smuggled them through Nazi checkpoints. These documents saved over 800 Jews lives.
The first person to cycle around the globe, Thomas Stevens, did it on a penny-farthing, between 1884 and 1886, packing only socks, a spare shirt, a revolver and a raincoat that doubled as a tent and bedroll.