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The Electric Balance Bicycle And The Decline Of Western Civilization

The ordinary bicycle is an astonishing invention; with it, a human being becomes more efficient at covering distances than any other land animal. But even this level of efficiency is not enough...

Behold, the electric balance bicycle.


(electric children's balance bicycle)

Balance bikes have been around for a while, but electric balance bikes are fairly new. They’re basically the same thing, except they have a tiny electric motor and battery added on to the frame. Kids still have to push off to get going, but instead of slowing down and stopping after a few seconds, they can push a button or twist a throttle to engage the motor and keep going. It’s more fun for the kid (obviously, “vroom vroom”), and it actually helps them learn to ride a bike faster because they spend more time upright and balancing, developing the muscle memory and neural pathways needed to steer and balance a bicycle...

After a few tries, she was getting the hang of it. Then we turned the power on. And something amazing happened. She reached the bottom of the driveway, pushed the throttle, and just kept going.

She was a bit wobbly, like a small drunk person struggling to ride home from an Amsterdam bar, but she was rolling on two wheels. After a few more minutes, she was doing it! She was actually riding and balancing all on her own.

(Via Unpopular opinion: Why we need more 'motorcycles for children', not fewer.)

In his tongue-in-cheek classic The Revolt of the Pedestrians, a 1928 short story, Dr. David H. Keller, M.D. describes the technology that stopped the development of the healthy human animal - the auto-car:

...the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia was filled with the usual throng of pleasure seekers, each in his own auto-car. Noiselessly, on rubber-tired wheels, they journeyed down the long aisles, pausing now and then before this exhibit or that which attracted their individual attention... Finally, a boy stopped his auto-car in front of a glass case.


(The Autocar from The Revolt of the Pedestrians)

"What is that, Father? They look as we do, only what peculiar shapes."

"That, my son, is a family of pedestrians...
(Read more about Keller's auto-car)

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 9/5/2023)

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