Friday, March 26, 2010

So, the League of American Wheelmen brought forth their own destruction?

This was brought to my attention (h/t mississippifarian) by Luke Frankl about a the book Pedaling Revolution by Jeff Mapes (whew!) According to Mapes' book:
The bike became established through much of the world in the years around the turn of the twentieth century. In Europe, the bike became an accepted means of transportation and achieved an enduring place in adult society. But in the U.S., the bicycle seemed to literally pave the road for the motorcar.... Hiram Maxim, who worked with [bicycle pioneer Albert] Pope on his first automobiles, described the bicycle not as an end in itself, but as the consciousness raiser that led to the car:
The reason why we did not build mechanical road vehicles before this, in my opinion, was because the bicycle had not yet come in numbers, and had not directed men's minds to the possibilities of independent, long-distance travel over ordinary highway. We thought the railroad was good enough. The bicycle created a new demand which it was beyond the ability of the railroad to supply. Then it came about that the bicycle could not satisfy the demand which it created. A mechanically propelled vehicle was wanted instead of a foot propelled one and we now know that the automobile was the answer.

And, so to continue my utter lack of effort in researching anything in this post, we have Luke's conclusion:
So the invention of the bicycle held the seed to its own destruction.

I will mention, in a pathetic attempt to add something of my own to this post, that the Hiram Maxim mentioned in the top quote invented both the mousetrap and the ultimate mousetrap, the Maxim machine gun.

1 comment:

rlove2bike said...

A self powered machine gun, no less.