“The horseless carriage…will never come into as common use as the bicycle,” the Literary Digest declared in 1899—two years after Henry Ford and his crew completed the first Ford automobile in a Detroit shed.
At that moment, the country had 4,000 automobiles and 10 million bikes. A year later, 8,000 cars were on the nation’s bad roads. In 1903 America saw the first transcontinental trip for a gas-powered vehicle, when a Packard traveled from San Francisco to New York in 52 days. By 1905, automobile registrations were at 77,988.
And the numbers have kept climbing ever since, just as the bicycle became primarily a recreation and sports vehicle. In 2016, 72 million cars were produced worldwide.