In a world where everything is molded by the hands of time the bicycle seems immune to evolution.
The 1st cellular analogue phone was invented in 1973. It was the size of a brick, it had an antenna that was just as long as the phone itself, and making phone calls was its only feature. Now we have sleek, slender phones, that not only make phone calls, they send text messages, emails, capture pictures and videos, play music and movies, have full keyboards for typing word documents, and some don’t even have physical buttons because the whole phone consists of a touch interface.
In the early 60’s the 1st cassette player was introduced. This was the standard for listening to music on the go. It could hold several songs, and it was very portable. Now the cassette player is pretty much extinct after evolving into CD players, and most recently mp3 players. Mp3 players are smaller, they hold thousands of songs, and some even play movies, access the Internet, and more.
Many years ago, bicycles had a frame, two wheels, a chain, pedals and now…well now they’re exactly the same. It’s interesting to the think, but the general construction of a bicycle hasn’t changed since about the 1800’s. Don’t get me wrong; there have been many innovations as far as the type of materials used to build bicycles, the aerodynamics of bicycles, etc., but overall they still share many of the same characteristics as their older counterparts. Everything around us is evolving and evolving rapidly but it seems the bicycle is one of the few creations that remain stagnant. One could argue that the bicycle is so pure in its design that there is nothing that needs to be changed. It’s an interesting argument considering we have seen more advances in the design of toothbrushes.
It’s a curious subject as to why there is such a lack of innovation especially with something that’s used by so many people worldwide. But as the world changes, we will adapt and so will the things we use. Bikes will change to meet our needs, whether it’s for portability purposes, comfort, speed, etc. As things evolve, they either change in form, function, or both. This raises the question, what will become of the bicycle within the next decade or even the next century. Given its track record it’s probably safe to assume that nothing will change, but change is inevitable. Therefore the question is not will they change, rather when will they change? Biking is something that we all love, so is it possible for the bike to enhance our experience as a rider? When gears became more prevalent they made bike riding easier and gave the user more control of their experience. What advances are sure to come in the future that will enhance our experience?
Toxel.com has compiled a collection of creative and unusually bikes, giving examples of how they might change in both form and function. This may give us a little insight about what may become of the bicycle.