The first bicycle was invented in 1864. The first bicycle revolutionized transportation and started this wild new trend. Bicycles became more popular as they improved and became easier to use. The first bicycle wasn't very efficient, so the inventors went back to the drawing board to improve their new trusty steed. Eventually, after many inventors trying out many different prototypes they got a very similar model to the bicycle you see today. Back in the 1860’s bicycles gave many women a sense of freedom. When riding the bike, women didn't need a man to escort them—this is an example of one of the many ways that the bicycles helped women gain their liberty. Bicycles reduce pollution, revolutionize transportation, and change the health and mental state of the people who use them.
When riding on a bike, one can improve their mental state immensely. If you ride your bike to work every day you would be able to go into your office or workspace and jump right into a task more easily because your brain is activated and ready to go. When riding your bike you lessen your risk of developing [later in life depression]. An article from bicycling.com stated, “[S]cientists found that people scored higher on tests of memory, reasoning, and planning after 30 minutes of spinning on a stationary bike than they did before they rode.” This quote illustrates the point that bicycles can help with memory cognition and overall brain function. Many people die from car crashes each day—the website movoto.com quoted that “30,000 people die in car crashes, but only 667 are killed while riding a bike, making it much safer.” If more people were to ride their bike, the stress and danger of getting in a car accident dissipates immensely.
The production of a medium-sized car emits 17 tons of CO2, and producing one bicycle emits only 530 pounds of CO2. (Just for reference, 1 ton equals 2000 pounds). If one were to ride 400 miles on bike, they would be able to make up for the 530 pounds of CO2 one emmits by buying the bike. By riding your bike you cut down on your carbon footprint immensely. Every day, people get into their cars to go do small errands and such and they don't even take a second to think about how their small drive will affect the planet. By choosing to ride a bike you are saving the planet and you are also mentally and physically benefiting much more than just sitting in your car.
As the gas prices rise, running your car just becomes more and more expensive. Your bike doesn't need gas to run. By riding your bike, you skip a lot of the traffic, getting to your destinations much faster. If more people rode their bikes to go and do their daily tasks, there wouldn't be a need for copious amounts of large dysfunctional parking lots. This would save so much space, and also save lots of money to be used in more productive ways. A website called green is my thing cites, “if everyone in the U.S. stopped driving for a day and rode their bicycles, theoretically we would prevent approximately 3.5 million metric tons of CO2 emissions entering the atmosphere.” One could wonder what the changes would be like if everyone didn't drive for years.
There are many ways bicycles can change the world. In almost all of these examples, the change revolves around the people, and just one person taking action will make a difference. Eventually, little by little, that one person that tried something different actually affects the world. All of the components that were talked about in this essay—plus just one person—is all it takes to start a change.