Bikes to Cars

I knew about the connection between cycling and the 1880s-early 1900s Good Roads movement which ironically lead to cyclists being run off the roads by the cars they enabled.

However, I just read Pedaling Revolution and Jeff Mapes makes an interesting point I hadn't heard before: that the freedom of truly personal transportation provided to the masses by the bicycle directly lead to the success of the car. Prior to the bike, most people couldn't afford horses, so you walked where you wanted to go, took a street car, or a train. The development of the bike allowed people to go where they wanted to go, whenever they wanted.

The bike became established through much of the world in the years around the turn of the twentieth century. In Europe, the bike became an accepted means of transportation and achieved an enduring place in adult society. But in the U.S., the bicycle seemed to literally pave the road for the motorcar.... Hiram Maxim, who worked with [bicycle pioneer Albert] Pope on his first automobiles, described the bicycle not as an end in itself, but as the consciousness raiser that led to the car:
The reason why we did not build mechanical road vehicles before this, in my opinion, was because the bicycle had not yet come in numbers, and had not directed men's minds to the possibilities of independent, long-distance travel over ordinary highway. We thought the railroad was good enough. The bicycle created a new demand which it was beyond the ability of the railroad to supply. Then it came about that the bicycle could not satisfy the demand which it created. A mechanically propelled vehicle was wanted instead of a foot propelled one and we now know that the automobile was the answer.

So the invention of the bicycle held the seed to its own destruction.