A Brief History of The Bicycle…

In October, the Medical Cannabis Bike Tour rides again with over 70 riders and volunteers taking to the roads of Czech Republic and Austria to fly the flag for the great cause of medical cannabis research. As with every year, participants will turn up on different types of bicycles. Over the years, in addition to the many super light, super fast road bikes, we have seen participants on mountain bikes, Dutch bikes, a hand powered bike and even a tandem!

There is no doubting the popularity of cycling these days and why not? The bike is a great way to keep fit and get from A to B while being kind to the planet. The first practical bicycle was invented by Baron Karl von Drais in Germany in 1817. It looked very much like the modern bicycle with one (big) difference – it had no pedals! The rider ran to pick up speed before jumping on to ride (like the pedal-less bikes small kids learn on now) – as a result it is said that those pioneering bicycle riders wore out their boots very quickly!

It was in the 1860s that pedals were added (in France) and in the 1870s cycling became faster with the invention of the ‘high cycle’. A pedal-driven large front wheel and a small back wheel offered more opportunities for speed, but also more opportunities for danger! In 1878, the first bicycle touring club was established in Britain and members wore grey uniforms because they showed up less dirt.

By the end of the Nineteenth century, the addition of a chain drive attached to the back wheel (to allow control of steering) revolutionised cycling and made the bicycle a mode of transport for the masses. It gave people a freedom that they had not had before and it is this sense of freedom that still appeals to us today. How easy is it to just jump on a bike and see where it takes you?

Some people think it is strange that the MCBT combines cannabis and cycling, but that is what the Medical Cannabis Bike Tour is all about – challenging preconceptions and provoking thought. For many years, medical cannabis was dismissed by policy makers and also many in the medical profession based on prohibition and lazy stereotypes. However, a huge wealth of anecdotal evidence is now being backed up by scientific research and the more we learn the more we realize that ignoring the benefits of medical cannabis was a mistake.

So here’s to the freedom of the bicycle and the thrill of riding the road with a posse of like minded individuals, working together to bring positive change.  And here’s to the work of the scientists pioneering medical cannabis research, working together to bring positive treatment. The Medical Cannabis Bike Tour 2017 is ready to roll!