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Has the bicycle had its day, or is it a technology whose best years lie ahead?

The bicycle was to prove transformative. Cheaper than a horse, it freed women and young working class people to roam free. And the bike was the testing ground for countless improvements in manufacturing that would later lead to Henry Ford’s production lines. Tim Harford considers whether the bicycle has had its day, or whether it’s a technology whose best years lie ahead.

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9 minutes

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Mon 29 Apr 2019 03:50GMT

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Three men on various types of bicycle (Credit: Topical Press Agency/Getty Images)

Sources

Margaret Guroff The Mechanical Horse: How The Bicycle Reshaped American Life University of Texas Press 2016 Chapter 1

Paul Smethurst The Bicycle – Towards a Global History Palgrave Macmillan 2015 London Chapter 1

David Herlihy Bicycle: The History Yale University Press 2004 pp268-69

Margaret Guroff “The Wheel, The Woman and the Human Body

Margaret Guroff The Mechanical Horse: How The Bicycle Reshaped American Life University of Texas Press 2016 Chapter 3

Karthik Muralidharan and Nishith Prakash “Cycling to School: Increasing Secondary School Enrollment for Girls in India” NBER Working Paper No. 19305 August 2013

Jason Gay “The LeBron James interview about bicycles” The Wall Street Journal 6 August 2018

David A. Hounshell From the American System to Mass Production, 1800-1932 Introduction and Chapter 5

Jane Jacobs Cities And The Wealth of Nations Random House: New York 1984 p150

Paul Smethurst The Bicycle – Towards a Global History Palgrave Macmillan 2015 London Chapter 1

Jane Jacobs Cities And The Wealth of Nations Random House: New York 1984 p38

Smethurst Ch 3 p118

Tatsuzo Ueda “The development of the bicycle industry in Japan after World War II” Japanese Experience of the UNU Human and Social Development Programme (1981)

Worldometers: Bicycles

The European Cyclists Federation reports 16 million shared bikes in China alone in 2018.  

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