Monday, August 8, 2011

A CENTURY IN BICYCLES

It is my favourite and best looking testament to human ingenuity; it is said to be one of the most efficient inventions in history and, I would argue, the most enduring and the most reified. It retains a charged and complex symbolism that silently declares class, revolution, history, romance, progress - whatever hopes and burdens and ideas humanity has to imbue within such a storied object. An opus of engineering - its energy efficiency is unrivaled (read: little energy wasted and amazing energy input to output ratio) - it enables and empowers us to travel using only the strength and endurance of our bodies. Vanity Fair posted a great retrospective on the most (in their opinion) innovative bicycle designs of the last century, and here we see how it embodies our collective creativity and thirst for beauty. Its formula is unchanged and yet, it changes.

Umberto Dei Giubileo (Italy, 1996)
Smith & Co. Long John (Denmark, 1983)
Sironval Sportplex (France, 1939)
This recumbent bike for one cyclist was in fashion in the 1930s
MFA Lambretta (France, 1960)
Bianchi C-4 Project (Italy, 1988)


Raleigh Tourist, Ladies (United Kingdom, 1970)

Messenger Bike (Italy, 1978)

Pacific Cycles iF Mode (Taiwan, 2009)

BMW Super-Tech (Germany, 1997)

S├ślling Pedersen (Denmark, 1978)
Danish inventor Mikael Pedersen invented this bike using an eclectic mix of mechanisms

Cinelli Laser (Italy, 1985)
The Laser Bike

Lotus Sport (United Kingdom, 1994)
This bike’s body incorporates an incredibly lightweight carbon-composite frame, resulting in its revolutionary speed.
 All photos and captions from Vanity Fair

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