What if Romans invented the bycicle?

Zeno

Ad Honoris
Jan 2010
13,691
♪♬ ♫♪♩
And the winner would probably wear a purple jersey. And it would be 'Emperor of the mountains', not King.
They would undoubtedly find a way to make cycling a bloodsport. Scythed bikes, maybe?

I imagine in the city streets slave-driven riksha's would be the norm.
 

Inc

Ad Honorem
Oct 2010
2,608
The amount and type of skilled metal work needed to make a practical bicycle was beyond mankind in this period
True, but I bet there were some imaginative folk who did think along those lines. Bet it sucked for them: A:"I've got this idea..." - B: "Yeah yeah, you're dreaming again, and anyway, how are you going to build this magical 2-wheeled chariot? (chortle)"

(*However, it might take a special Leonardo-type to envisage that such a vehicle could be stable at relatively high speed (4 wheels good, 2 wheels bad).
 

AlpinLuke

Forum Staff
Oct 2011
27,035
Italy, Lago Maggiore
Well, maybe Roman times are too early. But how about 1500/1600? That's more plausible. I think da Vinci had invented one but didn't build it.
Da Vinci projected a functional bicycle, with pedals and chain of transmission ... [See Atlantic Code, sheet 133v, date: 1493 CE].

But, a debate about a possible later forgery is still in progress.
 

Ancientgeezer

Ad Honorem
Nov 2011
8,894
The Dustbin, formerly, Garden of England
The invention of the bicycle had a very great impact on society in some parts of the world.
There is a story that the bicycle was responsible for preventing inbreeding in East Anglia ( a notoriously marshy, low lying region) by allowing young people the opportunity to get to other villages and towns and therefore not end up marrying their cousins. I have no idea if this is true or not.
.
So the Bike never reached Norfolk then?
 
May 2012
1,628
On a chain of Extinct Volcanoes
Also a Roman cavalryman on a bike is just an LOL of a situation.
:lol: :D

the portrait of a roman legion riding a bicycle to war would be the best comical snap of the century .
May be the kings would have to construct parking space near battle fields for the bicycles of soldiers so that they could park their cycles and attend their job[of fighting] :zany:
 

Ancientgeezer

Ad Honorem
Nov 2011
8,894
The Dustbin, formerly, Garden of England
:lol: :D

the portrait of a roman legion riding a bicycle to war would be the best comical snap of the century .
May be the kings would have to construct parking space near battle fields for the bicycles of soldiers so that they could park their cycles and attend their job[of fighting] :zany:
The Boers and British in 1900 and again in 1914, many WW1 armies, the Japanese in 1937-1941 and the American 25th Infantry all rode to battle on their bikes. The Swiss Army Bicycle (comes with a built-in knife) Regiment was only disbanded some ten years ago. So a bike is a valid weapon of war, the problem for a pre-industrial age bike is the tyres and the surface of a Roman Road, although Victorians seemed to handle cobbles, even though an early bike was called "The Boneshaker".

Obvious inventions often didn't appear earlier because there was no economic or practical advantage. A slave-based economy has limited use for machines.