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I think it's less about the road quality and more about pneumatic tires. Same for cars. Would you rather drive a car on a dirt road with modern tires, or on a highway, directly on metal rims? The answer seems obvious to me...

You do not understand. These was no road perse in 1929, just two deep grooves for carriages and cars. It was impossible to bike on that. The first coast-to-coast american biked on railroad tracks. They were bumpy obviously but evidently much better than any roads.

This is ridiculous. Bicycles were near 50 years old by 1930. There was a ton of riding done before nicely paved roads were everywhere. The Tour De France is happening right now, it was first run in 1903 and covered 1500 miles, with riders doing up to 250 miles in one day.

Bicycles do fine on dirt roads & trails, pavement is absolutely not required. Bicycles have adapted to better roads over time but they never required glass smooth modern paved roads.

Horse-and-carriage type roads were very particular. The middle was very soft and the grooves were quite narrow. You just cannot see them anywhere nowadays. I bicycled from Finland to Yugoslavia in 1971 often trying to ride on those kind of roads. Occasionally I used old Roman Empire roads. They were "paved" but made of big slippery plates and even more difficult to ride on.

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