Cycling Boom - 120 Years After
Back in 1896, a feature in New York Times was published it was about the height of the first cycling boom. The article said, "It has the unique virtue of yielding a rate of speed as great as that of the horse, nearly as great as that attained by steam power, and yet it imposes upon the consciousness the fact that it is entirely self-propulsion. In the nature of the motion is another unique combination. With the great speed there are the subtle glide and sway of skating, something of the yacht's rocking, a touch of the equestrian bounce, and a suggestion of flying. The effect of all this upon the mind is as wholesomely stimulating as is the exercise to the body." A certain, "ANJ" signed as the writer of the article.
More than 120 years later, there is another cycling boom happening all over the world. The reason is entirely different from the same one as reasons for cycling now spurts from wanting to get fit to taking care of the environment. The last sentence to the article remains true, that the effect of cycling to the biker's mind is "wholesomely stimulating". More than just the effect of the cycling to the body as a form of exercise, it also affects the mind to stimulate the brain to bring about a lot of effects such as happiness, comfort, and can even make the biker smarter as shown in some clinical studies.
In the recent years cycling boom has continually increased all around the world. Let's take Denmark for example, 9 out of 10 people own a bike and use it regularly. Cycling participation statistics are a little less impressive in other parts of the globe but have still seen an upswing in recent years. For example, about 30 percent of the population of Germany rides a bike at any point during the week, and the typical cyclist rides three times per week or uses a bike for about one-third of their trips.
In the US, there's been an increase in cycling participation in recent years, but again, it's nothing to rival Denmark. The number of trips made by bike rose from just under 2 billion 2000 to 4 billion in 2009. The numbers are continually rising.
120 years later, yes the world has changed. Culture, tradition, work, lifestyle are entirely different from 1896. But what is exciting to know is that no matter how our world has changed human need stays the same. We still want to feel the breeze as we "fly" through when we ride. We still love the exhilarating feeling it gives when you pump those pedals, when you hold on to that bars. The roads may have changed, the views are now a concrete jungle instead of a green one, but the same reason keeps people drawn to the bike, that by riding this mechanical horse, we get the satisfaction of taking care of our life, mind, body, and spirit.