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How bicycles transformed our world

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/history/2020/06/how-bicycles-transformed-world/

nationalgeographic.com

How bicycles transformed our world
Coronavirus has sparked a two-wheeled transport boom in many parts of the globe. But this isn't the first time bicycles have been the hottest machines on the market.

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Bicycles

Bicycles

Invented back in the 19th century, bicycles were as disruptive as the iPhone was when it was launched in 2007.

A bicycle was unbelievably cool, took one anywhere for free quickly and didn’t cost much too. Even the czar of Russia, the sultan of Zanzibar, and the amir of Kabul were riding bicycles.

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The Invention of The Bicycle

The Invention of The Bicycle

John Kemp Starley invented the bicycle as we know it today when he was only 30. His ‘Rover Safety’ bicycle, first displayed in a bicycle show in 1886, was a curiosity, but later when pneumatic tires were added to it to cushion the ride, it became safer, smoother and also 30 per cent faster.

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Women Power and Bicycles

Women Power and Bicycles

The masses, especially women, suddenly experienced freedom to go anywhere without the need for expensive carriages and horses.

The bicycles transformed society, and emancipated women in a way nothing else could. Women found them lightweight, fast, affordable and easy to take care of.

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The Craze

Cycling became so popular in 1898 that restaurants and theatres lost $100 million of business per year.

It also led to a bicycle manufacturing craze, with America becoming the biggest and most innovative hub of the bicycle industry.

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The Love Of Cycling

The Love Of Cycling

Bicycles made people explore new places, and go for long adventures. Even a bicycle tour across the world was completed by 24-year-old Annie Londonderry in 1894.

The bicycle touched on pop culture and made itself into art, music, literature, and fashion. Young cyclists mingled with each other on the road, and met in distant villages. Writers and philosophers started going on bicycle rides and noting down their thoughts, even writing books on the way.

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Powerful Transformation

Bicycles made people see more of the world, as they were roaming through surrounding towns and places they wouldn’t have come otherwise. Cities were filled with bicycle riders enjoying the outside and being able to experience life in the open.

Cities were seeing rapid change as the streets and country roads became better, with special ‘cycle paths’ opening in 1895.

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The Start Of A New Revolution

The Start Of A New Revolution

The constantly evolving technology of bicycles started to pave the way for motorbikes, which were more powerful, expensive and fun to drive.

Even Henry Ford, of Ford motors, was a bicycle mechanic in those times and had some great ideas for the future.

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