Published on June 7, 2016
1. THE HISTORY OF BICYCLES By-Roadbikehub.com
2. THE WALKING MACHINE In 1817 Von Davis invented a walking machine that would help him get around faster : two same size in line wheels the front one steerable, mounted in a frame which you straddled. The device was propelled by pushing by pushing your feet against the ground, thus rolling yourself and the device forward in a sort of gliding walk. The machine became known as the Draisienne or hobby horse. It was made entirely out of wood. This enjoyed a short lived popularity as a fad, not being a practical for transportation in any other place than a well maintained pathway such as a park or garden.
3. THE VELOCIPEDE OR BONESHAKER The next appearance of a two-wheeled riding machine was in 1865,when pedals were applied directly to the front wheel. This machine was know as the velocipede (“fast foot”) but was popularly Know as the bone shaker, since it was entirely made of wood, then later metal tires, and the combination of these cobble stone roads of the day made for an extremely uncomfortable ride. They also became a fad, and indoor riding academies, similar to roller rinks, could be found in large cites
4. THE HIGH WHEEL BICYCLE In 1870 the first all metal machine appeared.(pervious to this metallurgy was not advanced enough to provide metal which was strong enough to make small ,lights out of .) The pedals were still attached directly to the front wheel with no freewheeling mechanism. Solid rubber tires and the long spokes of the large front wheel provided a much smoother ride than its predecessor. The front wheels became larger and larger as makers realized that the larger the wheel , the farther you could travel with one rotation of the pedals. You would purchase a wheel as large as your leg would allow. This machine was the first one to be called bicycle ( two wheel). These bicycles enjoyed a great popularity among young men of means( they cost an average worker six months pay) with the hey-day being the decade of the 1800’s. Because the rider was so high above the center of gravity, if the front wheel was stop by a stone or rut in the road or the sudden emergence of a dog , the entire apparatus rotated on it’s front axle, and the rider, with his legs trapped under the handlebars, was dropped unceremoniously on his head. Thus the term “ taking a header” came to being.
5. THE HIGH WHEEL TRICYCLE While the men were risking their necks on the high wheels, ladies, confined to their long skirts and corsets, could take a spin around the park on an adult tricycle. These machines also afforded more dignity to the gentlemen such as doctors and clergymen. Many mechanical innovations were also associated with the automobile were originally invented for tricycles. Rack and pinion steering, the differential, and band brakes to name a few.
6. THE HIGH WHEEL SAFETY Improvements to the design began to be seen, many with the small wheel in the front to eliminate the tripping forward problem. One model was promoted by its manufacturer by being ridden down the front steps of the capitol building at Washington, DC. These designs became known as the high wheel safety. Since the older a High wheel designs had been known simply as bicycles , they were now referred to as “ordinary bicycles” in comparison with the new- fangled designs, and then simply as ordinaries.
7. THE HARD-TIRED SAFETY The further improvement of metallurgy sparked the next innovation, or rather return to previous design. With the metal that was now strong enough to make a fine chain and sprocket small and light enough for a human being to power, the next design was a return to original configuration of two same size wheels, only now, instead of just one wheel circumference for every pedal turn you could, through the gear ratios can have a speed same as the huge high-wheel. The bicycles still have the huge rubber tires, and in the absence of the long, shock absorbing spokes, the ride they provided was much more uncomfortable than any of the high-wheel designs. Many of these bicycles of 100 years ago had front and or rear suspensions. These designs competed with each other , your choice being the high-wheels comfort or safety's safety, but the next innovation tolled the death of high-wheel design.
8. THE PNUEMATIC-TIRED SAFETY The pnuematic tire was the first applied to the bicycle by an Irish veterinarian who was trying to give up his young son a more comfortable ride on his tricycle. This inventive young doctors name was Dunlop. Sound familiar? Now that comfort and safety could be had in the same package, and that package was getting cheaper as manufacturing methods improved, everyone clamored to ride this bicycle . This 1898 Yale uses a shaft drive to dispense with the dirty chain. The bicycle was what made the Gay Ninties gay. It was a practical investment for the working man as transportation, and gave him a much greater flexibility for leisure. Ladies, heretofore consigned to riding the heavy adult size tricycles that were only practical for taking a turn around the par, now could ride much more versatile machine and still keep their legs covered with long skirts. Continue To Next Slide Please >>>>>>
9. THE PNUEMATIC-TIRED SAFETY The bicycle craze killed the bustle and the corset , instituted “ common-sense dressing “ for women increased their mobility considerably . In 1896 Susan B. Anthony said that “ the bicycle has done more for the emancipation to women than anything else in the world”. Bicycling was so popular in the 1800’s and 1890’s that cyclists formed the league of American Wheelman ( still in existence and now called the League of American Bicyclists ). The league lobbied for better roads , literally paving the road for the automobile.
10. THE KIDS BIKE Introduced just after the First World War by several manufacturers, such as mead, Sears Roebuck and Montgomery Ward to revitalize the bike industry(Schwinn made it’s big splash slightly later), these designs, now called “classic” , featured automobile and motorcycle elements to appeal to kids who, presumably, would rather have a motor. If ever a bike needed a motor this was it. These bikes into the most glamorous, fabulous, ostentations, heavy designs ever. It is unbelievable today that 14 year old kids could do the tricks that we did on these 65 pound machines! They were built in the middle 50’s,by which time they had taken on design elements of jet aircrafts and even rockets. By the 60’s, they were becoming leaner and simpler.
11. THE CURRENT SCENE Pedaling History has on display even the recent history of the bicycle in America that we are more familiar with: the “ English 3-speed “ of the 50’s through the 70’s, the 10-speed derailleur bikes which more popular in 70’s( the derailleur had been in more- or -less common use in Europe since), and of course the mountain bike of right now . There are also many oddball designs that never quite made it , including the Ingo.
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