The invention of the bicycle changed history by democratizing travel for the first time. The common manóand importantly the common womanócould now afford to travel at reasonable speed without the need of a horse. Instead of walking just 10 miles a day on foot, a healthy individual could now ride up to 80 miles on a cycle at a relatively modest cost.
Today, despite the prevalence of the car, the bicycle is as important as ever. More cycles appear on city streets each year, offering healthy, pollution-free transport. Commuters cycle to work through congested traffic, urban hire-bike schemes are increasingly common, and the sports of road and track racing continue to gain in popularity.
For an invention with a history of just 200 years, the simple bicycle has changed the world in many ways. From the Velocipede to the Pinarello, The History of Cycling in Fifty Bikes by Tom Ambrose relates this history by telling the stories of 50 iconic machines that have shaped the world.