–by Chris Devonshire Ellis
Chinese archeologists, working on China’s Great Wall at Simatai, have uncovered the remains of an ancient square wheeled bicycle, believed to have been used by the Chinese garrisons on the wall to cycle between watchtowers. The Great Wall, along most of its 6,400km length, is stepped, not smooth as it follows the irregular contours of the hills and mountains. Being northerly also, these smooth surfaces would prove slippery during winter months, making them difficult to walk on.
“We have known for many years a major form of fast transportation along the wall was the use of horses, who could gallop along with ease” says Prof. Li Bai, “But this is the first evidence square wheeled bicycles were used. It’s a clever idea, with the angular contours of the front and back wheels meshing perfectly with the 90 degree angle of the brickwork. It is further proof leading us to surmise that the Chinese may have actually been responsible for inventing the wheel. It doesn’t take a huge leap of imagination to go from a square wheel to a round one, and we are confident that rather like football, paper banknotes, gunpowder, fireworks, kite flying and dwarf throwing, the invention of the square wheel will come to be seen as a purely Chinese stroke of genius. In fact my research department are filing a patent for the design of both round and square wheels, as a uniquely Chinese invention, at the China Patents Office this morning.”
The discovery has lead to calls for a statue of an ancient Chinese square wheel bicyclist to be raised in the center of Tiananmen Square, paid for in part by the anticipated royalties that are expected to flow in from all global manufacturers of wheels round and square. Academic Li Po confirms the viewpoint. “For too long now, other societies have willy nilly used great proletarian Chinese inventions. A backdated claim of just a few kuai per wheel, per country could amount to billions of dollars worth of income, thereby reducing our need to go on buying dodgy US debt. It would revolutionize the economy. The patenting of the square and round wheels is just recognition for China’s contribution to the development of mankind, and is our way of expressing thanks to our ancestors for their far sighted intelligence. Although it is a shame they aren’t able to gamble in Macao, that is true, however the money would be more than welcome. I for one need a new Jacuzzi.”
The site of the dig remains a secret, although shops at Simatai seem to be cashing in on the find, “Uncle Wang’s Square Wheel Dumpling Shop”, “Square Wheel Skin Whitening Beauty Lotion and Methane Expectorant” and even “Square Wheel Blind Massage” all seem to have sprung up in recent days. But one thing is for sure: The discovery of the Square Wheeled Bicycle is sure to lead to a much needed and rediscovered mode of transportation in mountainous areas world wide, and campaigns have already begun to have “Square Wheel Bicycling Downhill Freestyle” included as a Winter Olympic Sport at next year’s games in Vancouver.