The Bicycle: Social Impacts, Past & Present

The Surprising Social Impact of Bicycles
and Local Learning Opportunities

Did you know that before inventing the world’s first successful airplane, Orville and Wilbur Wright owned a bicycle shop? They repaired and rented out bicycles and eventually went on to build their own bicycles and invent small improvements to the machines. In addition to gaining practice in engineering skills, this business funded their aviation experiments.

Simpler and less expensive than cars, bicycles can be a fun tool for tinkering. The fact that the parts of a bicycle are exposed can help people understand the physics driving the machine. Plus, owning a bicycle can give you an immense sense of freedom. Bicycles obviously do not travel as fast as cars (depending on traffic flow!) and can’t take you as far, but at the same time they are affordable to more people and they are driven by human energy. Biking allows you to take a closer look at the world around you and get exercise in a fun way.
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Q&A: Where to Get New/Used Bikes for the Family in Western MA


Earth Day is being celebrated today and Summer time is on it’s way! So let’s talk BIKES… where’s a good place to get a new or used bike for the family in Western MA?

  • Amanda Saklad suggests, “Craigslist is good and good for the earth – REDUCE, REUSE, RECYCLE!!”
  • Kara Kitchen suggests,FJ Rogers in Florence.”
  • Susan Rees suggests, “Full Circle in Florence. Great tune-ups too.”
  • Abbe Laine Schiowitz suggests,Hampshire Bicycle Exchange on University Drive in Amherst and Valley Bike on Rte. 9 in Hadley has the sassiest bikes ever, but is quite pricey (then visit the new rock climbing gym next door which I heard is totally awesome).
  • Mark Pollard suggests, “I second the Hampshire Bike Exchange for cheap, used bikes. I also like Joe’s Garage in Haydenville for looking at hi-end bikes.”
  • Kim Tatro Kicza suggests,Highland Hardware & Bike Shop in Holyoke!”
  • John L. Grossman suggests, “Easthampton town auction.
  • Kate Paterson Parrott suggests, “We love Bob Perry, owner of Bicycles Unlimited in Greenfield. Not only does he have a great selection of new & used bikes, but the shop organizes group rides for ALL abilities. Plus while in G’field you can stop for a bite at Hope & Olive, Mesa Verde, or pop over the CT river and go to the Wagon Wheel or Holy Smokes. Great eats & exercise!”

Have a recommendation too? Share it here.

[Photo credit: (ccl) Joni]

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