A lot of Canadians enjoy riding a bicycle for fun, or to commute. There are also many companies across Canada that are distributing their excellent bicycles and accessories around the world.
Whether you are a bicycle enthusiast or not, you are sure to learn a few things when you read this list of 12 interesting bicycle facts.
Fact 1: Bicycles are more popular than cars
There are approximately 1 billion bicycles in the world, which is more than two times the amount of cars. It is estimated that 20 million new cars are built each year, for more than 50 million new bicycles. That’s a lot of bicycles!
Bicycles are more popular than cars, which is good news for the environment.
Fact 2: The first vehicle that looked like a bicycle was invented in Germany
A long time ago, Leonardo da Vinci drew some sketches of a machine that looked like a bicycle. However, the first vehicle that looked like a bicycle was built in 1817 by a German man, Baron Karl von Drais.
The Dandy horse, also called a Draisienne, was a wooden frame supported by two wheels, and the rider had to push it with his feet since there were no pedals.
Fact 3: Bicycle pedals were invented by a Scottish man
In 1839, a Scottish blacksmith named Kirkpatrick MacMillan invented the mechanically-propelled ancestor of the bicycle by adding pedals to a two-wheeled vehicle.
In the early 1860s, French inventors Pierre Michaux and Pierre Lallement improved this idea by adding a mechanical crank on the enlarged front wheel of the vehicle, which was called a velocipede.
Fact 4: Bicycle pedals used to be on the front wheel
In the following years, many inventors came up with new ideas to improve the velocipede. Initially, the cranks and the pedals were attached to the front wheel of the vehicle!
With the invention of the safety bicycle, which is similar to the ones we drive today, the cranks and pedals moved to the back of the vehicle.
Fact 5: The look of bicycles hasn’t changed a lot in the last century
The bicycle as we know it today still looks very similar to the way bicycles looked in 1900. Of course, bicycle companies are always coming up with new models and new styles, but this amazing vehicle isn’t evolving as much now as it has in the first years after it was invented.
Fact 6: Maintaining a bicycle is a lot more affordable than maintaining a car
Of course, it’s easy to tell that bicycles are more affordable than cars, which might explain why bicycles are more popular.
It is estimated than maintaining a bicycle during one year is twenty times less expensive than riding and maintaining a car. Even the most expensive of electric bicycles will be more affordable than a car, although most electric bikes are actually in the affordable range.
Fact 7: Many bicycles could fit in one parking spot
How many bicycles could fit in just one parking spot? Approximately 15 bicycles.
Of course, getting out of the parking spot would be tricky for the bicycle rider parked somewhere in the middle of it, but it’s interesting to think of how much space could be saved if everyone owned a bicycle.
Fact 8: Americans don’t ride bicycles as often as Europeans
It is estimated that Americans use their bicycles for less than 1% of all the times they have to travel without leaving their city.
By comparison, people living in Italy use their bicycles for 5% of their urban trips, while people living in the Netherlands make 30% of their urban trips riding their bicycles.
Fact 9: Our streets would be safer if more people rode a bicycle daily
Bicycle riders and car drivers don’t always get along very well. However, some research has shown that if there were three times more bicycle riders on the streets, it would greatly reduce the number of accidents involving bicycles and cars.
More bicycles would make our streets safer for everyone.
Fact 10: The fastest bicycle rider in the world is a Dutch man
The speed record for a bicycle was set by a Dutch man named Fred Rompelberg. Pedaling his bicycle in the slipstream of a dragster, he reached a speed of 167.044 mph, or 268,831 km/h.
The previous record was set by an American named John Howard, who reached a speed of 152.2 mph, or 245,08 km/h.
Fact 11: An American man pedaled around the world in 1935
Fred Birchmore was an American known for traveling around the world on a bicycle in 1935, when he was 25 years old.
He pedaled for 25,000 miles, traveling by boat to get from one continent to the other, and worn out seven sets of bicycle tires.
Fact 12: The longest tandem bicycle in the world could seat 35 people
Finally, the longest bicycle in the world was more than 20 meters long, and had enough seats for 35 people!