Cycling 100 Years ago, thank you innovation


“Necessity is the mother of invention” marking this Augusts centenary of 1914 and the First World War. One’s thoughts move to the role of, adaption and outcomes of bicycles and their service in just about every country involved.

Be it the UK Army Cyclist Corps or the Italian Bersaglieri, bicycles became invaluable tools allowing fast independent travel, load carrying for cycle-mounted infantry, scouts, medics and messengers on reconnaissance.

All you MBT and Off-Road junkies can take a minute, acknowledge a nod of the hat to the development of stronger, more robust frames, better quality pneumatics allowing more reliability in areas traditionally difficult to traverse. Seat positioning and gearing, even folding frames received enormous attention in mobilising individuals on and around battlefields.

If fuel lines were cut off, cycles could still travel, in fact my grandfather Ken used to take telegrams around the Somerset lanes by motorbike and bicycle when all the signs had been removed in case of invasion.

What if in today’s world, an equivalent event such as fuel cut-offs could trigger stronger focus on self-powered transport. I’d be happy with a “mad-max” style trike, full of notebooks, laptops and samples going from a to b albeit over a slightly longer timeframe as usual !!

 

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