Biking takes Metis by storm…

Many of us may think that bicycling came to the Metis area mid-20th century, about the time that paved roads did.  Wrong.  We invite you to have a look at some HLSL bicycle photos from Metis from the late 1890s before paved roads, the 20th century, and right up to the present day.  Think of the freedom they gave and give everyone.  

Idea for this summer?  The strongest and most daring (of course, equipped with helmets and other now-required safety gear), may want to try to bike the Metis Heritage Trails [link to Trails Map]

It would be hard to imagine a world without bicycles, especially in Metis, where scores of children (and adults) use bikes to get around. They are everywhere, and chances are that most or all of you reading this can ride or have ridden a bicycle at some point in your life.  We have all heard the old expression, “Just like riding a bike.” This expression is often used to describe something that becomes second nature. Our memories let us down in many instances, such as remembering the name of a place or a person we once knew, or where we put our keys, but not true of riding a bike.

For some, learning to ride a bike was a breeze: they just got on and pedaled away. For the other 99.9 per cent of us, we’ve got the physical and mental scars to prove that conquering two wheels was something slightly trickier to master.

Most of us learned how to ride a bike during childhood, with some adult-holding-on-to-the-saddle and with the adult saying they would stay holding on, then letting us go. It’s one of our very earliest memories. But remembering the fear and elation once we were let go will always stay with us. Unlike walking, the pieces of bicycle equipment – the wheels, pedals, brakes – are manmade, and learning and remembering how to use it is the kind of thing we’re built to do. 

As we grow older, many of us stop riding and put those once-beloved bikes in storage. Years later, when we discover these relics and hop on, it’s as if we never stopped biking. 

Bicycles have existed for over a century. The bicycle, also called a bike or cycle, is a human-powered vehicle with two wheels tandem, handlebars for steering, a saddle seat, and pedals by which it is propelled. A bicycle rider is called a cyclist, or bicyclist. 

The first bicycle was introduced by a German baron named Karl von Drais made the first major development when he created a steerable, two-wheeled contraption in 1817. Known by many names, including the “velocipede,” “hobby-horse,” “draisine” and “running machine,” this early invention made Drais widely acknowledged as the father of the bicycle.

The word bicycle first appeared in English print in The Daily News in 1868, to describe “Bysicles and trysicles” on the “Champs Elysées and Bois de Boulogne”. The word was first used in 1847 in a French publication to describe an unidentified two-wheeled vehicle. 

How did bicycles change women’s lives? U.S. women’s rights advocate Susan B. Anthony, said: “The bicycle has done more for the emancipation of women than anything else in the world.” —Bicycle riding came to embody the individuality of women who were working towards the suffrage movement. It also gave women a mode of transportation, so that they no longer needed to rely on a father or husband.  Also, a new craze of women’s clothing allowed for freedom of movement and of travel. 

By the 1880s, the bicycle became very popular, and saved workers time, as well as providing them with freedom and greater independence.

Today, in the 21st century, there are more than 1 billion bicycles in existence at a given time. These numbers far exceed the number of cars, both in total and ranked by the number of individual models produced. They are the principal means of transportation in many countries. They also provide a popular form of recreation, and have been adapted for use as children’s toys, general fitness, military and police applications, courier services, bicycle racing, and bicycle stunts, as you can see in the following series of pictures.


By Pamela Andersson