What if Romans invented the bycicle?

Dan Howard

Ad Honorem
Aug 2014
5,014
Australia
The kind of transformative impact the bike has had in modern times was also dependent on the inflatable rubber tyre.
And a comprehensive road network. The Romans had roads but they were not conducive to bicycles; they went straight regardless of the slope involved. Modern roads curve around contours to try and reduce the grades involved.
 
Feb 2019
905
Pennsylvania, US
I think without the proper understanding of how to make a bike that could absorb some of the shocks of a rough road, expecting someone to bicycle over rough terrain seems... awful. Also, a horse can negotiate many different terrains (mud, sand, snow, steep hills, rocky paths, etc) where bicycling may be impossible. Also, horses can follow a path they know or walk following the rest of a group without being steered... oxen can be called... in comparison, bikes are a bit .... needy. ;)

I think that bicycles would probably have a better application in city settings... let the soldiers keep their horses and let the senators ride their bikes.
 

Dan Howard

Ad Honorem
Aug 2014
5,014
Australia
I think that bicycles would probably have a better application in city settings... let the soldiers keep their horses and let the senators ride their bikes.
Way too much congestion. Horses and vehicles were forbidden in major Roman cities during daylight hours. The same restriction would have been applied to bicycles.
 
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Feb 2019
905
Pennsylvania, US
Way too much congestion. Horses and vehicles were forbidden in major Roman cities during daylight hours. The same restriction would have been applied to bicycles.
Interesting! Good to know! Rome must have been such an amazing place back in the day... what I'd give to just experience an hour there, just to get a glimpse.
 

Larrey

Ad Honorem
Sep 2011
5,916
I think without the proper understanding of how to make a bike that could absorb some of the shocks of a rough road, expecting someone to bicycle over rough terrain seems... awful. Also, a horse can negotiate many different terrains (mud, sand, snow, steep hills, rocky paths, etc) where bicycling may be impossible. Also, horses can follow a path they know or walk following the rest of a group without being steered... oxen can be called... in comparison, bikes are a bit .... needy. ;)
It's like the Icelander's and their horses: You spend the evening drinking with your buddies – "Black Death" for preference – and then you clamber onto you horse, and go: "Heim, Hallgrimmur!". And then Hallgrimmur delivers you on your doorstep. :)
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Bikes are infinitely less expensive than a horse, but fundamentally lacks power compared to a horse (it's a no-horspower contraption), AND requires rather different forms of infrastructure to be useful.
 
Feb 2019
905
Pennsylvania, US
It's like the Icelander's and their horses: You spend the evening drinking with your buddies – "Black Death" for preference – and then you clamber onto you horse, and go: "Heim, Hallgrimmur!". And then Hallgrimmur delivers you on your doorstep. :)
View attachment 17808
Bikes are infinitely less expensive than a horse, but fundamentally lacks power compared to a horse (it's a no-horspower contraption), AND requires rather different forms of infrastructure to be useful.
And if your horse was an "Icy", it would tölt you home... and the ride would be so smooth, you'd not regret having drank so much till the morning. ;)
 

Isleifson

Ad Honorem
Aug 2013
4,121
Lorraine tudesque
It's like the Icelander's and their horses: You spend the evening drinking with your buddies – "Black Death" for preference – and then you clamber onto you horse, and go: "Heim, Hallgrimmur!". And then Hallgrimmur delivers you on your doorstep. :)
View attachment 17808
Bikes are infinitely less expensive than a horse, but fundamentally lacks power compared to a horse (it's a no-horspower contraption), AND requires rather different forms of infrastructure to be useful.