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Today is World Bicycle Day! Bicycles are fun, often our first chance at freedom and independence, great exercise and widely believed to be an important part of sustainable growth. They are also having a moment! When the pandemic began in 2020, bike sales in the US skyrocketed as people switched to bikes for transportation to avoid crowded mass transit options and because streets were now much less crowded with cars.

The first bikes (without pedals) began to emerge in the early 19th century. To ride these bikes, called the Draisine (or more colorfully the “dandy horse” or “hobby horse”), the rider straddled the bike and pushed (or walked) with their feet.

By the 1850s, the first bikes with pedals began to appear, and in the 1870s, the iconic high-wheel bicycle came on the scene. However, when the safety bicycle was invented, the bicycle moved from a novelty to a transportation device accessible to many more riders.

Bikes today are used for sport, recreation, exercise, and transportation. They are marvels of engineering that may be sitting in your yard or garage right now. Take a moment to look carefully at how your bike works, and then go for a ride!