What do you know about the best means of transport? The History & Evolution of the Bicycle

May 16, 2018

We love to talk about how useful is going around Barcelona by bicycle, but, what do de know about this incredible and, at the same time, simple means of transport? Here you will find some interesant notes about its history.

Photo by Oberholster Venita

There are many different histories of the bicycle. One source claims that it has a history that goes back about 600 years and is quite different than the bike as we know today. Another day we will speak about the source that claims the history of the bicycle began in 1815 after a large volcano, Mt. Tambora, erupted in present-day Indonesia.

Following we highlight major milestones for the bicycle that show the evolution leading up to the modern bicycle:

1418 – Giovanni Fontana builds the first human-powered land vehicle. It has four wheels and uses a rope connected by gears to the wheels.

1790 – Comte Mede de Sivrac invents the celerifere. It has two wheels and a seat, but no steering or pedals.

1817- Karl Drais invents the steerable “Laufmaschine”.

1866 – James Starley, a British engineer, invents the penny farthing.

1870’s – The unicycle is invented.

1878 – The first portable bike is made by William Grout.

1879 – Henry J. Lawson patents the bicyclette – a rear wheel, chain-driven safety bicycle.

1880’s – The adult tricycle is invented and offers a more dignified alternative to its high-wheeled counterpart.

1885 – John Kemp Starley invents the Rover safety bicycle in England.

1894 – Michael B. Ryan is granted the first patent for a folding bike.

1924- The velocar is invented by Charles Mochet.

1933 – Cruiser bikes are invented and sold by Schwinn.

1979 – Joe Breeze creates the mountain bike.

1989 – The Sanyo Encale electric bike is released with NiCd batteries – a big advancement from lead-acid batteries.

1989 – Michael Kutter develops what is considered to be the first pedelec, an electric bike where pedaling causes the motor to assist the rider.

1991 – The conference bicycle is invented.

 

I would like to share what Ernest Hemingway said about riding a bicycle.
It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. ― Ernest Hemingway

Women are unstoppable, even more so if they ride a bicycle

March 8th, 2017

The 8th of March, the International Women’s Day, of this year, has coincided with this spring week in Barcelona. And in this day of historic fight, we want to remember how women are still progressing by bicycle.

Photo by Manfred Antranias Zimmer

Bicycle has been a revolutionary symbol for women, breaking taboos, such as the female’s strength and her resistance capacity through a simple outdoor activity. Women have been empowered by this sport up to the point that a lot of brands have already detected a market niche which is specialized in this gender.

However, it is clear that the fight has to continue.

The image of a woman riding a bicycle in her quotidian life is something that we have interiorized, but as the result of many years working on it. Now, we need to interiorize this image in the competitive world, where they are also achieving great results.

Again, we want to remember the historic quote that Susan B. Anthony, North American suffragist, said in 1898: “Let me tell you what I think of bicycling. I think it has done more to emancipate women than anything else in the world. It gives women a feeling of freedom and self-reliance. I stand and rejoice every time I see a woman ride by on a wheel…the picture of free, untrammeled womanhood.”

The women also use the bicycle

“Let me tell you what I think of bicycling. I think it has done more to emancipate women than anything else in the world. It gives women a feeling of freedom and self-reliance. I stand and rejoice every time I see a woman ride by on a wheel…the picture of free, untrammeled womanhood.”

Susan B. Anthony North American suffragist, (1898)

 

JGKlein-Women_on_bicycles,_late_19th_Century_USASuch as was declared in the 19th century, by the North American suffragist, Susan B. Anthony, who had also traveled on bicycle, this vehicle had been one of the symbols of the women empowerment during this age.

This fact had not only taken place in the United States, it also happened in a lot of other places around the world. A similar case is Great Britain, which has been thoroughly documented by Dr. Sheila Hanlon.

Because it is during this century when the bicycle became a bold element which started a lot of debates: a woman could go from one place to another without the necessity of being accompanied by a man; the image of a physically weak woman was demolished; some clothes became uncomfortable for being used on the bicycle… some little changes which revolutionized a lot of aspects and won against the ridiculous theories, such as some of them the emerged from the medical sector, from where they alerted physical damage such as the sterilization or the abortion. A useless attempt for trying to control women.

Although the evolution is obvious in a lot of countries, nowadays we still have a lot of work and tours to do. On this International Woman’s Day, we want to keep going this way with all the women on this historical symbol, the bicycle.

Discover the coast of Barcelona in a different way, a new plan for this summer

To plant yourself under the sun of the beach in the Barceloneta all day is not the only way to enjoy the coast of Barcelona. Discover that by taking a ride by bicycle.

If the last week we proposed a tour around the mountain of Montjuïc, this week we suggest for you to also discover the history and the evolution of the beaches in Barcelona, especially the Barceloneta.

We will start at the Port Vell (Old Port), one of the oldest parts of Barcelona. It has gone through more than four centuries of transformations: from being one of the first stable docks of the city to becoming an important commercial and touristic zone.

Following the sea line, we will go through the sector of the Barceloneta to arrive at the Port Olímpic, built for the 1992 Olympic Games, a key event in the Barcelona transformation. And in this line of transformations, we will arrive at the Universal Forum of Cultures, another great place of modern architecture of the city.

bornbike ciutadellaUpon returning, in order to not repeat, the best place to get to know on bicycle and stop to rest is the Parc de la Ciutadella with perfect earthen pathways for circulating and green spaces for lying down and enjoying the shade. In addition, you will find great jewels (although this will be the content of another mail, so we will do it in the future…).

Enjoy this tour through the coast of Barcelona which is full of activity during day and night. From now until the 16th of August, on Thursdays and Sundays at 9 p.m., there are also free projections of films and short films at the San Sebastian Beach of Barcelona!

From the sea to the mountain during a morning of a cultural and historic tour through Barcelona on bicycle

Barcelona is not only a port city with lively beaches; it also stands out thanks to its green places, especially Montjuïc, a magic mountain, which we can reach by pedalling from the sea and where we will find the best combination of nature and culture.

tour-bornbike-MontjuïcFrom this elevated place we will have the best view of Barcelona, but before, we will enjoy an amazing tour, because in BornBike we think that without the previous experience the end is not so worthwhile.

In order to arrive at the top from the port, the best choice is to start at the Statue of Colón, although instead of following its indication, we will go up through the Paral·lel Avenue, a homage to the scenic arts in the city.

At Plaça Espanya, we will continue going up through the Maria Cristina Avenue, a street that, without any doubt, you should not miss if you want to get to know the history of the great events in Barcelona. We will see the National Palace, the Magic Fountain lit up in the evening and the Poble Espanyol in first person. All of them are the results of the International Exposition in 1929.

Once we have arrived at the top, we cannot forget the Sant Jordi Palace and the Olympic Stadium: both were protagonist of the 1992 Olympic Games.

And then yes, we can observe Barcelona at the Mirador (Lookout) de Miramar, because then we are going to do that with a richer and more experienced vision.tour-bornbike-Montjuïc-vistas