The standard story is that when swords were the primary weapons, men wore swords on their left hips, making it easier to draw the sword with the right hand. Mounting a horse from the right would have dragged the sword or its scabbard across the horse's flanks, perhaps causing him to bolt. Mounting from the left avoided this. Supposedly, the practice carried over to bicycles. This brings up the question as to whether cultures where swords were not used, like the aforementioned Sioux, also mounted from the left. Although I'm not really a horseman, it is my understanding some horses will resist being mounted from the right. This is no doubt a matter of conditioning, with the animal simply resisting unaccustomed behavior. If one were enough of a contrarian to insist on mounting from the right, no doubt one could train a horse from a colt to be mounted that way. (Might provide some protection against horse theives in fact.) Likewise, there are always a few contrarian cyclists about who will experiment with left hand drive bikes. If I'm not mistaken, that ultimate contrarian Pino Moroni built at least one such bike.
Jerry Moos Big Spring, TX
Martin Appel <email@example.com> wrote:
>Might this have to do with horseriding? Don't you mount a horse from
>the right hand side?
not if you're a Sioux... My 2c: it is a convention. Right handed persons intuitivly do that, its like aiming a rifle at something: you automatically just hold it to your cheek, some people to the left one, others to he right one. And right-handedness was/is considered to be the norm, thus it influenced the way bicycles are built. There's millions of examples for this in daily life.
Martin Appel lefthanded guy from Munich, BY, Germany who would mount a horse as he mounts his bicycle: from the left side (if he could ride).