To my opinion, the bicycle invention has been one of the greatest inventions of all time. It had a great impact on society in the mid 1800s, and it continues to impact society today. Since its early beginnings, the bicycle has evolved to become an integrated part of almost every society, even a right of passage.
Many children look forward to receiving their “first” bicycle. Parents look forward to teaching their children how to ride a bike. The bicycle invention has become such a major part of society that many people could not imagine their lives without one.
The Early Bicycle Invention
Most historians credited Pierre Ernest Michaux with the invention of the first bicycle during the 1860s, but evidence exists to suggest the bicycle is much older.
Regardless of who invented the bicycle, by the 19th century, it was having a huge impact on society. For most people during these times, travel by any means other than a horse and buggy was very rare and unusual if one was ever able to travel at all. With the bicycle invention came a means of transportation at affordable prices. This allowed the “common” person a means of transportation, opening up a whole new world of possibilities.
Along with better means of transportation, the bicycle brought with it a need for the creation and improvement of roads for vehicles with rubber tires. Bicycle clubs were formed and had a major impact both socially and politically.
Bicycles and Female Libration – Wheels of Change!
As the bicycle evolved, and the safety bicycle emerged at the turn of the century, the bicycle became a more practical vehicle use for commuting.
The availability of an inexpensive means of transportation helped lead to the development and continued growth of the suburbs. People were able to exchange urban slums filled with social and health issues for open spaces, small houses, and a cleaner environment. The bicycle, in a way, brought liberation to an entire population of workers.
The bicycle also brought independence to the female population of the time, and many credit the bicycle invention to the beginnings of suffragette movements for women’s rights during this era.
First, the bicycle changed the way women dressed. With the emergence of the bicycle, long gone were the days of long, hampering skirts and tight corsets. Riding a bicycle required women to change the way they dressed to much more comfortable split skirts and bloomers.
In addition, bicycling for women ended the need for a chaperone or male companion. Women, even young girls, often rode alone, creating more independence for women.
Did you know…?
Did you know that the bicycle invention is often credited with the expansion of suburban residential areas?
The bicycle was affordable enough to be within the reach of the poorer classes, enabling them to commute from suburban areas to their workplaces in the city. This led to widespread migration from inner-city tenements in major cities to suburbs just outside the cities.
More Bicycle Inventions Today
As the bicycle evolved, it became more and more common as a means of transportation.
Of course, as the automobile became mainstream, the bicycle was used less as a means of transportation, and more as weekend recreation and sporting competitions.
By the 1960s, the bicycle was one of the most popular children’s toys. Almost every child either owned or wanted to own a bicycle. They were definitely mainstream at this point, and practically every household in America owned at least one, if not several, bicycles.
By the 1990s the bicycle emerged as a commuter vehicle again. With the rising costs of gasoline and pollution, many environmentally-concerned people again turned to their bicycle as a clean, economic means of transportation.
Books About The Bicycle Invention
More information about the bicycle invention can be found on several informative books. Take a look:
Last Word about the Bicycle Invention
There are bicycles in almost every region around the world. They are used for recreation, sport, and transportation today, and although they have been mainstream for just over 100 years, bicycles have definitely had a major impact on society.