Back in the early 2000s the Times newspaper did a poll of its readers asking them to name the greatest invention of all time. They chose the bicycle. If I remember rightly it was ahead of electricity (surely a discovery, not an invention) and the internal combustion engine.
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There was the inevitable backlash (of course) and an accusation that the poll had been hijacked by the cycling fraternity.
This has always stuck in my head, along with a line from Tim Moore’s brilliant French Revolutions book where he confidently states that the most efficient mode of transport in the known universe is a human being on a bicycle.
I often drop these nuggets into conversation when anyone moans about ‘bloody cyclists’. Both are great at knocking a detractor off their guard.
I’m also regularly reminded whenever I look down at my drivetrain at what an archaic system it is that creates such celebrated and efficient movement. Never mind your Di2 electronic 12-speed gears, the chain and cog
is about as basic as it gets for an engineer.
But the fact that it has stood the test of time is surely proof of its worth.
Not that we need a reason to celebrate, talk about or stare at bikes as we do in this issue. But it’s fun nonetheless.
Cycling Weekly magazine editor
Inside the mag this week
– What a lack of racing means for budding pros
– Custom dreams do come true
– How UCI tech regs changed the game
– Road bike geometry explained
– Dr Hutch’s training has never gone so well
Cycling Weekly magazine April 30 2020 issue, on sale from Thursday priced £3.25
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