Birth, Death, and Beyond

The Bicentennial of the Bicycle: The first bicycle – velocipede – began in Germany in 1817, a pedal-less, foot-propelled bicycle, constructed almost entirely of wood.

  • Boneshaker (1863): Bicycling becomes a fad following the introduction of front-wheel pedals, though the comfort level remains “boneshaking.”
  • Penny Farthing (1866): This icon of “old-timey” has an enlarged front wheel that allows for a notable increase in both speed and accident rate — thus the term “taking a header” is born.
  • Tricycle (1884): Tricycles gain in popularity, boasting safety, stability and the ability of women to ride while dressed in the traditional (read: constricting) fashions of the time.
  • Rover (1885): Combining safety, comfort, speed and affordability, this forerunner to the modern bicycle finally elevates bicycling from semi-hazardous hobby to everyday practical transport.
  • Tandem (1898): Daisy, Daisy, your famed “bicycle built for two” potentially offers twice the speed — or twice the odds of tipping over, depending on the coordination between riders.

The first bicycle (NYTIMES)

Japanese Corpse Hotels: Checkout time, for the living and the dead, is usually no later than 3 p.m. The Hotel Relation is what Japanese call an “itai hoteru,” or corpse hotel. About half the rooms are fitted with small altars and narrow platforms designed to hold coffins. Some also have climate-controlled coffins with transparent lids so mourners can peer inside. Part mortuary, part inn, these hotels serve a growing market of Japanese seeking an alternative to a big, traditional funeral in a country where the population is aging rapidly, community bonds are fraying and crematories are struggling to keep up with the sheer number of people dying.

Curated by CLAI

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