What if Romans invented the bycicle?

GogLais

Ad Honorem
Sep 2013
5,460
Wirral
It would have enabled more people to travel longer distances without the need for horses, poorer people would be able to afford to travel more, etc. Which is what did happen when it was invented. One noticeable effect of the introduction of the bicycle was apparently that people started courting and marrying those from further away, they had a wider choice of mates with easier and quicker transport.

I don't know though whether Roman roads woukd have been suitable for bicycles.
Yes but that assumes the Romans could have manufactured bicycles cheaply enough for ordinary people to afford them. And to do that they would have needed the whole infrastructure of industry including electricity to make it possible so they would have been living in a totally different world. Sorry for being dismissive!
 
Oct 2013
67
Athens Greece
As others have said no doubt the Romans could have produced some sort of wooden - or maybe even metal - hobby horse type of contraption. The fact that they didn't bother proves something. Unless - I've no idea - did they make something like that as a child's toy?

The leap forward comes in making cogs, bearing and chains surely?

Sorry to say it but all these "What if suchabody invented whatever?" questions are a bit pointless. Inventions don't usually become practical out of the blue - they usually need a pre-existing technology to make them practical and mass-produced. I think.
Cogs and chains were introduced much later on bike technology. First bicycles didn't have pedals and first bicycles didn't have a free hub as well. But even though the invention of the foot pushed powered two wheel wooden "horse" became very popular in a very short time.

Romans had the knowledge of mechanics that were needed to invent something like this, they just didn't think it because their culture didn't obviously had the need of such an invention.

If they had invent it they would have had the need to improve their roads, which were good for their era, but not sophisticated enough for massive use.

The idea though is very intriguing. If they had invent it, many things would have been quite different.
 

AlpinLuke

Forum Staff
Oct 2011
27,008
Italy, Lago Maggiore
It would have enabled more people to travel longer distances without the need for horses, poorer people would be able to afford to travel more, etc. Which is what did happen when it was invented. One noticeable effect of the introduction of the bicycle was apparently that people started courting and marrying those from further away, they had a wider choice of mates with easier and quicker transport.

I don't know though whether Roman roads woukd have been suitable for bicycles.
Yes they were suitable for bicycles: in Italy there are still Roman roads [in their original configuration!] and today it happens that they are just cycle paths. For example the Claudius - Augustus imperial way is a cycle path ...

Take a look
 
Oct 2013
67
Athens Greece
Yes but that assumes the Romans could have manufactured bicycles cheaply enough for ordinary people to afford them. And to do that they would have needed the whole infrastructure of industry including electricity to make it possible so they would have been living in a totally different world. Sorry for being dismissive!
The Roman crafts were very close to industrialization. They massive produced ceramics, weapons, ( shields etc) that they could forward to any part of their Empire. Roman ceramics made in Italy have been found in England and Palestine in other words everywhere their ships could go. Roman Army was equipped from many different parts of Roman empire.

So it wasn't a problem how they would massive produce a specific kind of item or how they will launch it.

They just didn't think at all to invent bikes because obviously their culture and way of thinking was far away from this.

What a pity eh?? :)

ΕΤΑ: Com'on.. I have cycled worst roads than this

 
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GogLais

Ad Honorem
Sep 2013
5,460
Wirral
The Roman crafts were very close to industrialization. They massive produced ceramics, weapons, ( shields etc) that they could forward to any part of their Empire. Roman ceramics made in Italy have been found in England and Palestine in other words everywhere their ships could go. Roman Army was equipped from many different parts of Roman empire.

So it wasn't a problem how they would massive produce a specific kind of item or how they will launch it.

They just didn't think at all to invent bikes because obviously their culture and way of thinking was far away from this.

What a pity eh?? :)

ΕΤΑ: Com'on.. I have cycled worst roads than this


Well I was addressing the question whether the Romans could have mass-produced bicycles of such a quality that the life of the ordinary Roman would have been affected. I think there's a difference between doing that and making ceramics and bashing out swords and shields. And perhaps it's worth noting that no one else invented the bicycle before it came to pass.
 

Louise C

Ad Honorem
Jan 2011
7,239
Southeast England
Yes but that assumes the Romans could have manufactured bicycles cheaply enough for ordinary people to afford them. And to do that they would have needed the whole infrastructure of industry including electricity to make it possible so they would have been living in a totally different world. Sorry for being dismissive!
Why would they have needed electricity? the first bicycles were invented before electricity.
 
Oct 2013
337
Toronto
The problem was the roads of the time... riding bicycles without rubber tyres on the Roman road surface = wheels lose their shape very quickly...
 

Ancientgeezer

Ad Honorem
Nov 2011
8,894
The Dustbin, formerly, Garden of England
This has made me think---there is no evidence that the Romans used the wheelbarrow either, although the Ancient Greeks may have. But one assumes that they developed the handcart.
The Chinese wheelbarrow on the other had (the one with the wheel in the middle) lent itself immediately to the transport of people. (See below).
A push-chair would seem to be far more efficient that a litter, but then roads were bumpy and slaves cheap.