The 200th Anniversary of the Draisine Velocipede!
The first two-wheeled-machine resembling a bicycle first graced the German streets in 1817. Join us in celebrating the 200-year evolution of 'the noblest invention of mankind' with a bike tour around NYC! Along the way we'll uncover the seemingly infinite number of social and cultural issues connected to this simple machine, and we'll see how New York played such a large role in the bike craze of the late 1800s, and on into the urban landscape of today.
After Karl Von Drais' utilitarian attempts to ride his Laufmaschine (= running machine!) along his inspection route, the early bicycles really began as novelties, toys; and for a time only were only enjoyed by those with the physical and financial means to ride. But not long after this running machine became a riding machine, it very quickly evolved into an essential tool for the everyday man. In doing so, the bicycle influenced social norms, urban development, transportation networks, political movements, and just about every aspect of life in NYC.
With over one thousand miles of bike infrastructure today, the bicycle is ever present in modern New York. Bike People exist across all spectrums in this metropolis and, in fact, that is hardly a descriptive term these days. Cyclists of all personalities and backgrounds take to the streets every day, and this ride will explore the countless current and past subcultures, social movements, and historical moments associated with the bicycle in the Big Apple.
How did the share-the-road mantra apply when it came to the horse-and-buggy? And, better yet, when city streets and traffic laws as we know them would be more accurately described as a culture clash of social norms on the potholed, packed multi-use streets of the 19th Century?
How did the bicycle become a tool of liberation for women who were often scorned for wearing anything other than proper dress (let alone, having a political voice)? How did this simple machine, in many cases, become of the savior of the working man?
From the tall-wheeled myths surrounding the bicycle, to scorchers and messengers, from remarkable innovations in technology and transportation to the development of the CitiBikeshare program, this tour covers it all! That shiny red Schwinn is the high bar that is set for gifts under the tree on Christmas morning; just think of this tour as the shiny red Schwinn of bike tours!