Most of us got one when we were kids. Five years old seems about the age when kids are ready for their first ride. Getting your first bike is really a time of excitement. Most kids probably had training wheels on their first bike, these were used to keep the bike from falling down, while the kid was still on it. That was the trick with the bicycle before you could learn to ride, you had to learn how to not fall off the seat. Once you learned how to ride, having your bike became a very liberating experience. It was probably your first taste of independence; you could just get on your bike and ride without needing help.
The bicycle has to be listed as one of the greatest inventions ever. No single person has been given credit for that, but some of the earliest forms of bikes date back to the early 1800s. Karl Drais invented something called the dandy-horse in 1817. His creation didn’t have any pedals, so you had to push it with your feet. In the 1860s, Frenchmen Michaux and Lallement created the pedal. This new version of the bike with pedals was called the boneshaker. James Starley improved on the boneshaker and in 1885, he released his version of the bicycle, it was called the rover. The rover was considered the first modern type bicycle.
Bicycles have gradually evolved into a great form of transportation. They were very popular, but times change. The car became more affordable and people were choosing a car ride over a bike ride. Bicycle sales started to go down. By the 1940s, the bicycle, which started out as an adult form of transportation, was now being viewed as a toy for kids. The bicycle fell on hard times until the 1960s when people had a renewed interest in their health and in the environment. Bicycle sales in the US really went up after the oil crisis in 1973. In the years to follow, we began to see more innovations with the bike; these included higher performing bikes and gears that went from 3 up to 18 speeds.
The bicycle has not only survived, but it has done as a great job of adapting through time. It started out as being primarily for adult use and then it was reduced to a toy for kids and today the bike has the best of all worlds. Kids still love getting their first bikes. Bicycles are still used as a mode of transportation, especially on college campuses. And adults realize that riding a bike is a good way to stay in shape. Plus, the sport has created a whole new use for bicycles. There is something called extreme sports where some of the competition requires using a bicycle to do airborne tricks. This sport alone has created massive exposure and added sales for the bicycle industry.
The bicycle has created its own niche in the world and has been able to fit into so many different cultures. Unlike a lot of past inventions, the bicycle is just as vital today as it was when it was created.