History of Technology 2: Bicycles and The Good Roads Movement

You can thank a bicyclist for the roads we know and love today. Seriously, go buy them a card. We'll wait.

LanguageEnglish Language
TechnologyHistory of Technology

Transcript

00:28

the credit bicycles also had a lot to do with our road system seriously

00:33

bikes let's take a few technological steps back some of the world's first [introducing velocipedes on a stage with a red curtain]

00:37

bicycles were called velocipedes which is an awesome word that sounds

00:42

like a cross between a velociraptor and a centipede [people thinking about a velociraptor and a centipede riding a bike]

00:45

Raptors with a hundred legs.. in reality velocipedes were basic bikes that had

00:52

big iron wheels very little steering and pedals that directly turned the front [Giant wheels of a velocipede]

00:58

wheel no gears and chains here folks and they were so uncomfortable they were

01:02

called bone shakers so clearly not the preferred method of transportation for [skeleton riding a velocipede and bones fall off]

01:07

skeletons in 1887 somebody got serious and invented the safety bicycle which

01:13

was pretty similar to what we ride down to the you know the organic food co-op

01:17

when we're feeling health-conscious that is to say that the safety bike was pretty [man giving a presentation of a safety bike]

01:21

dang modern it had gears a padded seat brakes and inflatable pneumatic tires it

01:27

probably would have been a bad idea to take one mountain biking but still [man riding downhill on a bike]

01:31

safety bikes were a huge step up from the old bone shakers. Skeletons

01:36

everywhere breathe sighs of relief Well they would've if you know they breathed

01:41

safety bikes became crazy popular and they were especially popular for [adverts on a street for safety bikes]

01:45

middle-class city folk who wanted to take leisurely rides into the

01:48

countryside yep some Americans were actually starting to experience a crazy

01:52

new phenomenon called free time. Still these middle-class folks had one

01:59

big thing standing in the way of their relaxing rides through the country in [middle class people riding a bike on a stony road]

02:03

the 1880s rural roads in the US were the pits and we mean that well kind of

02:08

literally they had pits in them cities had nice paved roads but country roads [man riding a bike on a nice smooth road]

02:13

could still be dirt or gravel so we're talking potholes so deep that

02:18

middle-class cyclists fell in and we're never seen again okay we don't mean that

02:23

part literally but it was a bumpy ride there weren't road signs back then [middle class couple riding a bike up a steep hill]

02:27

either which also made cruising the countryside a little confusing. Finally

02:32

cycling in Justices several urban bike riders started the good roads movement [people protesting for the good roads movement]

02:37

this was a political campaign for better government-funded roads across the

02:41

country and wildly enough it actually worked by World War one there was a

02:46

federal bill helping to fund better roads so all those people who have ever [Road sign of funded by the government]

02:50

doubted it before yes the government does actually accomplish things maybe we

02:55

should have cyclists revolt more often [cyclist protesting outside of the White House]