Friday, July 14, 2017

The Summer of 2017 Marks 200 Years of the Bicycle!

The first bicycle ride occurred on June 12, 1817, with the rider covering 8 miles in less than one hour. The bike was constructed almost entirely of wood and weighed 48 pounds. It had brass bushings within the wheel bearings, iron shod wheels, and a rear-wheel brake -- but no pedals!

Recently, the Star Tribune in Minnesota, printed an article about the start of the bicycle 200 years ago. I want to share with you some of the information from that writing. In 1817, Baron Karl von Drais, a German, invented a two-wheeled, human-powered device that a rider could straddle and propel by pushing on the ground with his feet. Later tweaks added pedals and cranks. Thus, the bike was born.

As early as the 1880s, bicycles were promoted as a form of exercise. Women, though, were warned away, told that cycling could injure reproductive organs. Some brave females rode anyway, especially after the development of the “safety bicycle,” with equal-sized front and rear wheels, driven by a chain.

Bicycling’s beginnings were riddled with safety challenges. Bikes were expensive and sometimes dangerous status symbols, with nicknames like “boneshakers” and “dandyhorses,” and were ridden by fashionable, well-off daredevils. Over time, better roads and bikes meant the benefits of riding on two wheels outweighed the risks. Today, we know bicycling is good for the heart, brain, muscles and bones. The term "bicycle" was coined in France in the 1860s.

Keep Reaching For Life's Mileposts,

Paul Staso