Every volcanic ash cloud has a silver lining: the birth of the bicycle

The volcanic ash cloud currently hovering over Europe may have wreaked havoc with air travel and caused riders such as Bradley Wiggins and Carlos Sastre to miss last weekend’s Amstel Gold Race, with others having to travel to the Netherlands by car to compete – but it was the eruption of a volcano almost 200 years ago that led to the invention of the bicycle in the first place.

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