On World Bike Day 2022, take a ride through the history and evolution of cycling! | The Weather Channel – Articles from The Weather Channel

Representative picture

(Come Vinod)

Every year on June 3, the United Nations celebrates World Bicycle Day to honor the popularity of the bicycle as well as the enormous revolutionary impact this sustainable form of transportation has had on our cultures.

While originally conceived in Germany by an inventor named Karl von Drais in the very early 1800s, the bicycle has since become popular around the world. In particular, it has become synonymous with Indian homes, almost forming a rite of passage for children to learn to ride and own one.

Bicycles are still a mainstay in almost every household we visit today. The government recognizes the enormous socio-economic potential that cycling can bring to low-income households. This is seen in the National Public Bicycle Scheme, which gives bicycles to eligible people at little or no cost, effectively making it easier to transport dairymen, newspaper and vegetable vendors, to name a few.

With such a profound influence on global culture, as well as our own, we thought it would be interesting to trace its history in our society. Keep reading to learn more about its design and how the humble two-wheeler has held its own in the world.

the original

The first verifiable human-powered and somewhat practical bicycle came from German Baron Karl von Drais in 1817. However, this patented design was called the Laufmaschine in German and the Handcar In English. It was also commonly referred to as a “velocipede” or “dandy horse” and was intended to replace the horse. The term “bicycle” was coined much later.

A wooden dandy horse from around 1820 (Gun Powder Ma, via Wikimedia Commons)

However, this version of the cycle lacked its signature pedals and was entirely human-powered. This meant that people were quickly wearing their shoes trying to get on the craft. In addition, an increasing number of accidents lead to its eventual downfall.

As the dandy horse lost popularity in Germany, it began to gain traction in different parts of the world, including Western Europe and North America. In fact, the first modern pedal bicycle was invented by a steelworker in France in the 1860s!

The Penny Farthing

The idea of ​​rubber wheels also came, replacing the rail design in place. Further improvements led to the creation of the popular “Penny Farthing” which boasted the giant nose wheel. The size of the wheel helped the rider move at much faster speeds than before, which also led to frequent crashes, often resulting in serious injury. However, it also made the ride much less rocky.

Illustration of a penny farthing

Illustration of a penny farthing

Therefore, the Penny Farthing began to be associated with adventure risk. But that didn’t lead to any loss in popularity, as bikes began to be mass-produced more than ever throughout England, the United States and France, to name a few.

The modern bicycle

Obvious safety concerns led to the creation of the “Safety Bicycle”, which is most reminiscent of a modern bicycle. A safety bike featured a steerable front wheel and rear drive.

Additionally, the creation of the Dunlop inflatable tire allowed the wheels to be much smaller – while still providing adequate comfort – with designers quickly realizing that the diamond-shaped design was the strongest frame for a bicycle.

While the bicycle was still growing in popularity, the advent of the automobile in the early 1900s meant that adults began to prefer cars and cycles began to be seen as a toy for children.

The major bicycle manufacturers Indians would be familiar with – such as BSA and Hercules – were all mass-producing bicycles by this point.

The gear bike

The derailleur – a mechanical device for changing gears on a bicycle – was also developed in France in the early 1900s. Before that, cyclists had to stop, remove the wheel, turn it over and reattach it to the frame, because each wheel featured a different sized pinion on each side.

The size of the sprocket on the bike basically determines the acceleration and top speed of the cycle. Soon three-speed derailleur bicycles populated the European market, and by the 1980s racing and sport/touring 15-speed derailleur bicycles dominated the market in North America.

Mountain bike

The need for more off-road bikes was clearly starting to dominate the market in the late 1900s, so when the mountain bike was introduced with its superior load capacity and off-road versatility, it started to fly shelves. Soon it replaced typical single-speed roadster bicycles, with bicycle sales in the UK reaching a record 2.8 million units. It is still today the most widespread type of bicycle!

Currently, rising fuel prices and cycling infrastructure are once again creating a boom for bicycles in the modern world. According to the European Cycling Federation (ECF), the number of bicycles sold will increase by around a third to reach 30 million by 2030, with an annual growth rate of more than 12%.

Therefore, it is easy to say that the era of the bicycle is far from over. E-bikes have become commonplace in many Indian cities, and cycling still remains a great form of exercise. So in honor of World Bike Day 2022, let’s round up our family and friends and get our old bikes out for a ride!


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