Before the invention of the bicycle, the average distance between the birthplaces of spouses in England was one mile.
Studying parish registries of birth death and marriages – Stephen Stearns, a Yale professor of evolutionary biology found on average, we were marrying, not only within the village, but the next farm. You have to see who you fall in love with.
During the late 19th century, and widespread adaption of bicycles for transport; bikes became freedom to the working classes. The bicycle was a hugely disruptive technology—swift and affordable transportation that could whisk you anywhere you cared to go, for free. Our beloved mode of transport opened the land that we lived to not only your village, but the next valley. A long stared at horizon could be reached within the hour. The masses were mobile and faster than the expensive horse and carriage.
Newly liberated young people roamed the countryside at will, mingling on the road, meeting up in places on a map, rather than one you could point to. As a result the distance people went courting to find a partner, in a generation, increased to 30 miles on average.
Scholars have identified similar patterns in other European countries. Widespread use of bicycles stimulated the grading and paving of roads and life became easier. With the introduction of automotive and planes: Love’s horizons have kept expanding ever since.
But it is the bicycle that evolved us, freed the DNA and the soul.