Bicycles: Wheeling to A Sustainable Future
The modern bicycle was built in the 1800s by John Kemp Starley. Like the ‘Rover Safety Bicycle’, present bicycle models typically have two wheels and are powered by the rider manually. This invention became the starting point for the development of the modern bicycle. The original structure and designs remain unchanged except for the addition of safety and steering elements.
Bicycle import export data indicates that bicycles have grown in favor over the decades. They are used in varied ways including transportation, tourism, exercise, recreation, and sports. Importantly, bicycles helped women achieve a sense of freedom from societal restraints. The great scientist, Albert Einstein, stated that he conceived his General Theory of Relativity while riding a bicycle!
Electric bicycles, with various commercial and personal applications, use robust batteries or electronic charging ports to keep them running. This is comparatively expensive and uses resources that can be beneficial in other areas.
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The Golden Age of Bicycles ranged from the 1900s to the 1950s. Bicycles became the leading source of public road transportation across America and Europe. The two-wheeled ride was created in Paris but was later moved to the USA for further development upon adequate funding. Ironically, today the USA imports the highest number of bicycles globally at $2.15B.
The world registered a decline in bicycle production with the introduction of motorcars and automobiles. But it proved to be beneficial during the World Wars due to limited fuel resources and transportation.
Although bicycles have taken on different forms and aesthetic designs, they are mainly built with aluminum and carbon fiber materials. In 2021, Bicycle exports grew by 28.4% rising from $9.45B to $12.1B globally.
With large production factories and manpower resources, bicycles are heavily exported from East Asian countries. According to the lates bicycle export data, China holds the biggest share of manufacturing and assembly of bicycles in the world. European countries such as Germany, and the Netherlands are both major importers and exporters.
Top Exporting Countries (2021)
1. China ($5.06 billion)
2. Chinese Taipei ($1.41 billion)
3. Germany ($833 million)
4. Netherlands ($755 million)
5. Cambodia ($616 million)
Several countries are now looking towards bicycles as an affordable transport system. Japan is known for its bike-friendly infrastructures, bike lanes and parking systems, to encourage cycling as an eco-friendly option. While Europe and America lead import numbers, bicycle import data displays a rising trend in East Asian countries such as Vietnam, the Philippines, and Malaysia. The cities prominently run on bicycle tourism and people use it to commute too due to the dense population and narrow roadways.
Top Importing Countries (2021)
1. United States ($2.15 billion)
2. Germany ($1.05 billion)
3. Netherlands ($828 million)
4. Japan ($706 million)
5. France ($545 million)
What to Expect
There is a critical need to reduce our carbon footprint and promote a cleaner environment. Bicycles are a great vehicle to achieve this. They offer ease of travel in traffic-congested routes, build a healthy lifestyle, and are easy on the wallet compared to cars and motorbikes.
The shift towards modern means of travel has caused a drop in traditional bicycle production. This makes it a cost-effective investment choice. A societal trend reflects in consumers switching to bicycles as a preferred mode of personal and public transport. When all is said and done, investing in a bicycle is as good as supporting a sustainable future.