|"Every time I see an adult on a bicycle, I no longer despair for the future of mankind" - H.G. Wells|
When man invented the bicycle he reached the peak of his attainments. Here was a machine of precision and balance for the convenience of man. And (unlike subsequent inventions for man's convenience) the more he used it, the fitter his body became. Here, for once, was a product of man's brain that was entirely beneficial to those who used it, and of no harm or irritation to others. Progress should have stopped when man invented the bicycle.
- Elizabeth West, Hovel
"The bicycle is just as good company as most husbands and, when it gets old and shabby, a woman can dispose of it and get a new one without shocking the entire community."
- Ann Strong, quoted in the Minneapolis Tribune in 1895
"As a social revolutionizer, the bicycle has never had an equal. It has put the human race on wheels, and thus changed completely many of the most ordinary processes and methods of social life. It is the great leveler, for not till all Americans got on bicycles was the great American principle that every man is just as good as any other man fully realized. All are on equal terms, all are happier than ever before."
- New York Evening Post, June 2, 1896
"The negative attitude of cars is expressed in their very name, *automobiles*, which exalts the vehicle at the expense of the person transported by it. They are symbols of machismo, aggressivity and empty consumption. They've been perfected over the years, but they haven't evolved. They demand to be envied, feared, and lusted after. Most car designers waste space that should be devoted to passengers. Metal competes with flesh, and an object that should be our servant becomes our master. All that distance from humanity, all that self-importance..."
- Phillipe Starck, 1996 (100 years later)
"I still feel that variable gears are only for people over forty-five. Isn't it better to triumph by the strength of your muscles than by the artifice of a derailleur? We are getting soft...As for me, give me a fixed gear!"
- Henri Desgrange, L'Equipe article of 1902
"...these glimpses of physicality made me think that one-day being in a car in a great city like Paris will be slightly vulgar. I was delighted to see so many classy bikes around, beautifully engineered and finished with road tyres, panniers and mudguards and not the cliché mountain bike nor the road racers (though all are welcome, compared to cars, in my vision). We saw such stylishly dressed people on good utility bicycles taking their space on the city roads."
- Simon Baddeley, reporting on car free day in Paris, September 22, 2000
"It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle."
- Ernest Hemingway, By-Line
"I'll tell you what I think of bicycling. I think it has done more to emancipate women than any one thing in the world. I rejoice every time I see a woman ride by on a bike. It gives her a feeling of self-reliance and independence the moment she takes her seat; and away she goes, the picture of untrammelled womanhood."
- Susan B. Anthony 1896
"Whoever invented the bicycle deserves the thanks of humanity."
- Lord Charles Beresford (1846-1919), British Admiral and Member of Parliament
Thanks to Doug Field, Sheldon Brown, Tom Shaddox and others from whom all of this was gleaned off email lists and web sites.