If you’re reading this, then you probably already know how great cycling is, so we don’t need to convince you. However, if you think you already know all there is to know about your favourite 2-wheeled friend, then you’re in for a surprise. Be prepared to impress your friends or win the next cycling trivia night (because that should be a real thing) with these interesting facts about cycling.
Interesting Facts About Cycling
- Before the word ‘bicycle’ become popular (coming from the French word ‘bicyclette’) in the 1860s, bikes were typically called ‘velocipedes’. For more on who invented the bicycling, click here.
- Social reformer and feminist Susan B. Anthony once said that the invention of the modern bicycle “has done more to emancipate women than anything else in the world” and called it the “freedom machine.”
- Paved roads became mainstream not because of automobiles, but because of bicycles. While cars could go across cobblestones fairly well, bicycles could not.
- UPS was founded by two teenagers with one bicycle and $100 borrowed from a friend.
For the Stat Lovers
- About 100 million bicycles are manufactured worldwide each year.
- Americans use their bicycles for less than one percent of all urban trips. Europeans bike in cities a lot more often—in Italy 5 percent of all trips are on bicycle, 30 percent in the Netherlands, and seven out of eight Dutch people over age 15 have a bike.
- The bicycle is the most efficient vehicle ever devised; a human on a bicycle is more efficient (in calories expended per kilo and per kilometer) than a train, truck, airplane, boat, car, or motorcycle. It is 3 times as efficient as walking.
- Cycling is the worlds biggest sports goods business worth approximately 51 billion dollars annually.
- There are roughly one billion bicycles in the world (about twice as many as motor vehicles) and roughly half a billion of them are in China.
- If Americans doubled their bike use to 2% of all urban trips, they would save 3.5 billion litres of gasoline annually.
- In 2017, Mark Beaumont broke the world record for cycling around the world, completing the 18,000 mile route in just 79 days. That’s an average of 240 miles per day, and over 16 hours in the saddle per day.
- In 1985, John Howard, Olympic cyclist and Ironman triathlon winner from the US, set the world speed record for a bicycle when he reached 152.2 mph (245,08 km/h) cycling in the slipstream of a specially designed car. The record would stand until October 3, 1995 when Dutch cyclist Fred Rompelberg pedaled in the slipstream of a dragster at 167.044 mph (268,831 km/h), a record that still stands.
Why Cycling is Awesome
- Commuting to work on a bike increases productivity. A study of 200 people carried out by the University of Bristol found that employees who exercised before work or at lunchtime improved their time and workload management, and it boosted their motivation and their ability to deal with stress.
- Cycling three hours or 30 kilometres per week halves your risk of heart disease and strokes
- Figures show the average person will lose 13 lbs (5.8 kilograms) in their first year of cycling to work.
- As more and more research is being done, there is a clear link between exercise (specifically outdoor exercise) and combatting depression, anxiety, and stress.