The History of Bicycling part 2 May 5, 2010

At the end of part 1 we had just seen the invention of the bikini. Now things take a much darker turn in the history of bicycling. The bicycles arch enemy the car is born.

As if the entire world simultaneously turned 16 and started driving the exploding bicycle industry abruptly comes to a halt as the world moves to the motorcar. The bicycles clean, quiet and simple transportation for the masses is replaced by the polluting, loud and expensive motorcar. Roads originally built for the bicycle suddenly become too dangerous to ride on and cycling turns from a wildly popular form of transportation into a side show.

Bicycle riders are now captured and forced to ride around on small oval tracks for heckling motorcar enthusiast enjoyment.

The auto industry, bent upon destroying the bicycling industry which it sees as competition, declares all out war on cyclists. Bounties are placed on the heads of cyclists and points are awarded on a nationwide level for running down “road hogging bicycles”. The bicycle industry retaliates by mounting heavy automatic machine guns on to all bikes sold through the 1920’s.

This dangerous trend continues for some 40 years. Even this child’s horse themed bikes from the 1950’s comes standard with a .38 caliber pistol and top tube mounted holster.

Luckily war and bloody death was not the only advancement made in bicycle technology. Thankfully there was also speed! In an  attempt to outrun the motorcar new technology in the bicycle world is driven forward. I know this might look like a joke but this is the bike I use for hill climb training.

No seriously, in 1941 some guy rode this crazy bike 108 miles per hour while drafting behind this thing.

Outside of all the drama on the busy roads Captian J.S. Fairdale was still continuing his mission to ride to the north pole. Here he at the summit of Mt Rainier in 1945.

Bikes of the 1950’s start to get really weird and weigh as much as cars.

To keep up with 1955’s growing demand for iPod compatible stereo systems in cars the bicycle industry invents its own iPod docking bicycle.

The volume goes to a whopping 16! Way louder then 11.

A direct result of government sponsored experiments with marijuana and LSD comes this Bowden fiberglass bike from 1964.

This 1970 Chopper is mostly what I ride for my daily 30 mile commute.

The 1972 Lemon Peeler expands on the ideas of the previous chopper but introduces a dangerous spike pointing directly straight up from the top tube instead of a pad or cushion like on modern day trick bicycles.

The beginning of the important part of bicycling history is here. Stay tuned for Part 3 of Fairdale’s the History Bicycling as we tackle BMX. Coming soon…