Facts About Cycling
Whether you bike or not you are sure to find some of the fun cycling facts interesting.
- The first human powered land vehicle was constructed by Giovanni Fontana in 1418.
- The term “bicycle” first entered into popular usage in France in the 1860s.
- The prototype of the mountain bike was not developed until 1977.
- In 1817, Karl von Drais, a German baron, invented a horseless carriage that would help him get around faster. The two-wheeled, pedal-less device was propelled by pushing your feet against the ground, The machine became known as the “draisine,” and led to the creation of the modern-day bicycle.
- Although Leonardo da Vinci drew some rough sketches of a contraption that looked like a bicycle, the Frenchman De Sivrac built the first bicycle-type vehicle in 1690. It was referred to as a hobbyhorse. However, it did not have pedals. Those were added in 1840 by a Scottish blacksmith, Kirkpatrick Macmillan, who is credited with inventing the real bicycle.
- The term “bicycle” was not introduced until the 1860s, when it was coined in France to describe a new kind of two-wheeler with a mechanical drive.
- Orville and Wilbur Wright, the brothers who built the first flying airplane, operated a small bike repair shop in Dayton, Ohio. They used their workshop to build the 1903 Wright Flyer.
- Before the word ‘bicycle’ become popular (coming from the French word ‘bicyclette’), bikes were typically called ‘velocipedes’.
- You may have heard of the Penny-farthing, an early type of bicycle that featured a front wheel significantly larger than the rear. The name comes from the old British Penny and Farthing coins which represent the large and small wheels.
- There are over a half billion bicycles in China. Bikes were first brought to China in the late 1800s.
- About 100 million bicycles are manufactured worldwide each year.
- 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.
- 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.
- Maintaining a bike annually costs twenty times less than maintaining and driving a car.
- 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.
- Wiggle ships more than 35,000 packages per week.
Trivia Biking Facts
- The energy required to cycle at low to medium speeds is roughly the same as the energy required to walk.
- Cycling is the most efficient way to get around in the world.
- 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.
- Fred A. Birchmore, 25, circled the globe by bicycle in 1935. The entire trip, through Europe, Asia, and the United States, covered forty thousand miles. He pedaled about 25,000 miles. The rest was traveled by boat. He wore out seven sets of tires.
- Mike Hall is the current world record holder for biking around the world in 91 days and 18 hours. Biking 28,968 km in total which averages to over 315km per day.
- The worlds longest bicycle is 92 feet long.
- Air-filled tyres were used on bicycles before they were used on motorcars.
- The Tour de France is one of the most famous bicycle races in the world. Established in 1903, it is considered to be the biggest test of endurance out of all sports.
Health Biking Facts
- Cycling three hours or 30 kilometres per week halves your risk of heart disease and strokes
- Women who walk or bike 30 minutes a day have a lower risk of breast cancer.
- Countries with the highest levels of cycling and walking generally have the lowest obesity rates.
- A study of nearly 2,400 adults found that those who biked to work were fitter, leaner, less likely to be obese, and had better triglyceride levels, blood pressure, and insulin levels than those who didn’t active commute to work.
- An adult cyclist typically has a level of fitness equivalent to someone 10 years younger and a life expectancy two years above the average.
- Bicycle commuting burns an average of 540 calories per hour.
- Figures show the average person will lose 13 lbs (5.8 kilograms) in their first year of cycling to work
Safety Biking Facts
- A study found almost three-quarters of fatal crashes (74%) in NYC involved a head injury and nearly all bicyclists who died (97%) were not wearing a helmet. Helmets have been found to be 85% effective in preventing head injury.
- The risk of fatality while cycling is just once every 32 million kilometres (20 million miles), or over 800 times around the world.
Environmental Biking Facts
- How many bikes can be parked in a single car parking space in a paved lot? Anywhere from 6 to 20.
- When Worldwatch Institute compared energy used per passenger-mile (calories), they found that a bicycle needed only 35 calories, whereas a car expended a whopping 1,860. Bus and trains fell about midway between, and walking still took 3 times as many calories as riding a bike the same distance.
- Bicycles use 2% as much energy as cars per passenger-kilometer, and cost less than 3% as much to purchase.
- If Americans double their bike use to 2% of all urban trips, they would save 3.5 billion litres of gasoline annually.
- Compared to cars, a daily 16 kilometre commute saves the rider close to $15 per day, 5 kilos of carbon dioxide emissions and they burn around 360 extra calories.
- On a bicycle you can travel up to 1037 kilometres on the energy equivalent of a single litre of gas.