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Real birds haven’t been used in the Olympic Opening Ceremony since Barcelona 1992.

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Arctic Monkeys

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Life is like riding a bicycle.
To keep your balance you must keep moving.

Albert Einstein in a letter to hisson Eduard, 1930

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To ride a bicycle properly is very like a love affair – chiefly it is a matter of faith. Believe you do it, and the thing is done; doubt, and, for the life of you, you cannot.

The Wheels of Chance, HG Wells

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I’ve got a bike.
You can ride it if you like.
It’s got a basket, a bell that rings and things to make it look good.
I’d give it to you if I could,
but I borrowed it.

Syd Barrett

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Kirkpatrick Macmillan, a blacksmith, built the…

…world’s first mechanically propelled bicycle at his forge in Keir, Dumfries. Described in a newspaper report of the time as ‘a velocipede of ingenious design’, it had iron wheels and a wooden frame.

Macmillan was also the first cyclist to be prosecuted for a traffic offence, after he ran down a pedestrian in Glasgow in 1842. A plaque on the smithy wall reads, ‘He builded better than he knew’.

In ancient Greece, each team competing in the Olympics brought with them a homing dove. These were released at the end of the Games so that they could fly back to the athletes’ city, with messages tied to their legs warning the families to prepare a victor’s welcome. Or not.

Since long before classical times – since a dove returned to Noah’s Ark carrying an olive twig as proof that land was nearby – doves have been associated with peace. The story of mass communication that brought us to the internet and the mobile phone, and which includes the postman and the paperboy on their bicycles, begins on the wings of a dove.