We are in no frame of mind to either remember or express our gratitude to the unknown inventor of the wheel, at a time of the distant past, trying to know even the approximate date of which epoch-making event happened is neither academic nor rewarding. Also, origins of the skill and means of creating fire, particularly as an energy source for heating as part of processing food raw materials into edible dishes lie in a period of far greater vintage. The enormous time span between these two landmark events having taken place and the present times has witnessed countless number of discoveries and inventions which is the amazing saga of human capability. Amidst the ocean of such achievements, attributed to both known legends as well as those unsung and unhonoured do-gooders, one may dismiss glorifying the bicycle as naive and even laughable. The bicycle, rated as three times as energy efficient as walking and upto four times as fast, cannot be ignored for more reasons which don’t need to be highlighted.
A rudimentary design of the device that much later acquired the name bicycle, dating back to early 19th century is traced to Scotland. Innovative changes to the device, leading to a machine almost similar to what is in global use currently, were witnessed during the next eight decades. Bicycles, replacing the horse in extensive use for commuting, themselves yielded road-spaces to automobiles from the dawn of 20th century, in spite of the reported fact that the number of bicycles manufactured worldwide until just a few years ago is twice the number of automobiles produced.
The above ratio, threatening the importance of bicycle as a human-powered convenient mode of locomotion, with unquestionable merits of cost advantage and freedom from pollution may not be stable if the ongoing developments aimed at electric as well as solar-powered automobiles succeed sooner or later. Even as people at large, particularly urbanites, are only winking at the prospect of wooing the bicycle, two events in Mysuru, one relating to the now-aborted initiative by a former Deputy Commissioner with officials coming to office on bicycle once a week and the other about-to-begin Trin Trin project of public-bicycle-sharing are laudable and merit participation by the city’s residents. A new initiative ‘Cycle 2 Work’ is all set to be launched in the National Capital Region in which officials would pledge to ride bicycle to their workplace.
Scholarly articles presenting evidence-based results of research, being published in both scientific journals and print-media enlighten even lay people on the health benefits of regularly riding bicycles, reducing the chances of cardiovascular diseases and also cancer. Choked intra-city streets and inter-city roads, in addition to toxic emissions from automobiles are more than sufficient compulsions to choose the option of pedalling for commuting. Earlier the better.