5 Fascinating Bike Facts

February 4, 2015 2:41 pm

It seems like bikes are everywhere these days. Savvy commuters use them in cities to beat the sluggish traffic, and recreational cycling along the highways and across the countryside is becoming increasingly popular too.

Given the rising interest in cycling, it’s little wonder that the services of specialist bike shelter manufacturers, like CAD Shelters, are in high demand. These facilities are a common sight at workplaces, schools and elsewhere.

With bikes now a ubiquitous presence on our roads, it seems fitting to present some fascinating and little known facts about this two-wheeled mode of transport.

bike facts

1) Balance bikes are not just for kids

Young kids can often be seen scooting up and down pavements on their balance bikes. These alternatives to the traditional tricycle are in vogue right now because they’re thought to make it easier for tots to take the next step up to adult bikes. However, this style of bike hasn’t always been the preserve of children. Before pedal power was invented, grownups could sometimes be seen getting around on so-called hobbyhorses. In 1817, a German baron named Karl von Drais invented a horseless carriage that would help him get around faster. In all but name, this contraption was an early version of a balance bike.

2) A Scottish blacksmith created the first pedal bike

The Scots have invented many things over the centuries, not least the steam engine, telephone and pneumatic tyre. However, you may not know that Caledonia also brought the bicycle to the world. In the 1820s, the blacksmith Kirkpatrick Macmillan saw a hobbyhorse being ridden on a road near where he lived in Dumfriesshire. Inspired to create an improved version, he developed a pedal-powered machine that was propelled by a horizontal reciprocating movement. It may not have look much by modern standards, but Macmillan’s invention marked the beginning of pedal power as we know it. In 1842, he managed to ride the 68 miles from his home town to Glasgow on his two-wheeled creation. However, he did pick up a five shilling fine for causing slight injury to a girl who ran across his path. Clearly a little fine tuning was needed!

3) The world was circled by bike in 1935

Globe hopping may be de rigueur these days, but in 1935 far flung adventures were the stuff of dreams for most people. However, an adventurous 25-year-old American named Fred Birchmore decided to break the mould by setting off on a round-the-world bicycle trip. The journey took him 40,000 miles across his home nation, Europe and Asia. Perhaps unsurprisingly, he wore out seven sets of tires over the course of his marathon ride.

4) Nearly a third of Dutch commuters always travel by bike

Cycling might be big news right now in nations like the UK and the US, but when it comes to regular bike rides, the Netherlands surely takes the top spot. Figures produced by the country’s government and its Expertise Centre for Cycling Policy suggest that nearly one in three Dutch commuters always travel to work by bike, and an additional 40 per cent sometimes use this two-wheeled mode of transport to get to the office.

5) There are around one billion bikes worldwide

It is estimated that there are now more than one billion bikes in existence across the world, and more are being created every day. Meanwhile, nearly half of all these cycles can be found in China.

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