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The Bicycle Universe in 30 Minutes

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Sydney / NSW

ABC’s Radio National has produced an excellent 30 minute summary of the history of cycling worldwide, leading up to its current and future role as a post covid transport solution.

Produced by Annabelle Quince and Keri Phillips the Rear Vision program is extremely well researched. It features brief interview excerpts with experts from around the world including Canberra based cycling advocate Stephen Hodge of We Ride Australia, Forbes writer and cycling historian Carlton Reid and a range of others.

The program summarises the global history of the bicycle from the birth of the penny farthing through to current day. In particular it focuses on the place of bicycles in society, daily use and transport.

If you’ve been involved in cycling and active transport advocacy, you’ll probably know a lot of the story, but there are a lot of details that most people would not be aware of.

As we know, after the post war ‘dark days’ of the 1950’s and 1960’s when even in Europe, cities and societies were engineered to make cars the supreme transport system.

Of course, then came the 1973 oil embargo, the 10 speed racer boom, the rise of environmentalism and the ‘stop the child murder’ campaign that changed the course of history in the Netherlands.

In the context of a 150 year history, you can appreciate just how rapidly things have changed in recent years, accelerated through covid and expected to continue in the years going forward.

The program finishes with a balance of pessimism and optimism as to what might happen in the future.

You can listen to the program here.

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