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The Bicycle as an Engine of Human History

- June 12, 2008


The old “stirrup theory” of history held that the introduction of the stirrup, by enabling armed forces to mount attacks from horseback, fundamentally shaped the course of human history — an idea that always struck me as interesting but perhaps a bit overblown — sort of like the bird that flaps its wings in Brazil and sets in motion global forces.

Anyway, it’s now being argued that the bicycle was to women’s liberation as the stirrup was to warfare. I tend to take bikes more seriously than stirrups. Read about it here.

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