A historical footnote for all the haters out there

"Get on the sidewalk."
"You're not supposed to be in the street, honey."
"Don't ride in the road, cunt."
At least once a week the driver of a motor vehicle choses to enlighten me with their firm belief that bicycles do not belong on the road.
So yesterday, I was doing a little reading - John Rae's The American Automobile: A Brief History - and I couldn't resist sharing the following piece in response to all the bike-haters out there.
In his explanation for why automobile production finally took off in the United States.
Rae quotes American automotive pioneer Hiram Percy Maxim, who wrote in his autobiography:
"It has been the habit to give the gasoline engine all the credit for bringing the automobile - in my opinion this is the wrong explanation. We could have built steam vehicles in 1880, or indeed in 1870. But we did not. We waited until 1895. The reason why we did no build road vehicles before this...was because the bicycle had not yet come in numbers and had not directed men's minds to the possibilities of long-distance travel over the ordinary highway. We thought the railway was good enough. The bicycle created a new demand which it was beyond the ability of the railroad to supply."
Beyond creating a demand for longer-distance road travel, Rae also discusses how automobiles inherited many technologies originally developed for the bicycle, including lightweight steel-tube framing, the chain drive, ball and roller bearings, differential gearing, and most significantly the pneumatic tire, which was invented in 1888 specifically for use on bicycles.
Rae goes on to discuss how public support for the creation of hard-surface roads was driven by the bicycling lobby:
"In the United States, for example, an organization known as the League of American Wheelmen was able to get action for the state and local authorizes to improve the condition of roads. In 1893...pressure from the bicyclists induced Congress to appropriate $10,000 for a Bureau of Road Inquiry...This was the forerunner of the the Bureau of Public Roads and of the federal highway program.
"The combination of the pneumatic tire and the hard-surface road were indispensable to the success of the motor vehicle, Without both, highway travel could never have competed with rail transport in comfort or speed."
So to all you drivers out there who refuse to share the road, just remember: without us cyclists, you might never have had the privilege of resting your lard-cushioned derriere in your Cadillac Escalade.

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