Back in 2005 the British Broadcasting Corporation invited the listeners of its You and Yours programme to vote for their favourite invention. The winner by a country mile was the humble bicycle, crossing the finish line by a whopping margin, with 59 per cent of the votes cast. The second placed transistor (it was radio listeners who were voting after all) gained just 8 per cent of the vote. For the record I was one of those who voted for the bicycle.
Interestingly the bicycle as we know it today, that is, as a pedal operated, rear-wheel drive machine, owes much to Scotland. Indeed it is Scotland that claims the honour of introducing the pedal-driven bicycle to the world, albeit an honour that is contested. The early decades of the Nineteenth Century had seen the invention and growing popularity of the draisine, or hobby-horse as it was colloquially known in…
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