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2016/7/26 16:16:31

I thought I would start off with a short history of the development of the bicycle.

In 1490 one of Leonardo Da Vinci’s students made rough drafts of a bicycle and these were found in writings for the Italian government in 1966. It is interesting to realize that all the parts of a bicycle were available back in the 15th century.

In 1680 a man called Stephan Farffler designed a tricycle to ride to church on Sundays. It was hand-cranked and was later turned into a four wheeler.

The first known example of a bicycle still in existence is a wooden horse built by a toymaker in France in the 1700s. He placed a wheel on the bottom of the horse so that it would be moved by pushing with the feet.

In 1817 Baron von Drais added a front wheel that could be steered. It was patented on the 12th January 1818 in Dresden. It had a back wheel but no pedals and also had to be propelled with the legs. He found it a convenient way to get round the Royal Gardens although he was mocked a great deal. This bike was called the Draisienne

1820 saw the appearance of the Dandy Horse. It had bigger wheels and was a more comfortable ride.

In the 1839 Kirkpatrick Macmillan, a blacksmith from a village near Dumfries in Scotland invented the first modern day bicycle that could go as fast as 140 miles an hour

In 1860 this bike was copied by Thomas McCall and used in many races in Glasgow.

In 1861 a Pierre Michaux and his son Ernest created the bicycle pedal.

The next step was the Velocipede that had a huge front wheel, pedals and two wheels behind. It was hard to manage because it was also made of wood and with these heavy wheels moving over cobbled streets it was difficult to stay on and many cyclists fell off and were injured. It was known as the boneshaker.

In 1868 pedals and cranks were added, and the first rubber tyres were used.

The first bicycle race in 1868 was raced over 2km at the Pare de St. Cloud, and was won by a James Moore on a bike with solid rubber tyres and ball bearings.

In 1870 James Stanley created the Ordinary bicycle with a large front wheel and small rear. It required skill to ride and was known as the penny-farthing. The problem with this design was that it weighed 45 pounds and was difficult to stop without falling off. It was also dangerous going downhill, and the term � taking a header’ was born.

In 1874 the first bicycle chain was made by H.J. Lawson and joined two wheels of the same size. It was known as the Safety bicycle.

In 1878 bikes were manufactured in the US by A.A. Pope.

And I must mention the Wright brothers who had a bicycle shop where they sold and fixed bikes. Their plane was made using the knowledge they had gained from working with bikes.

In 1884 the first chain-driven bike was designed by H.J. Larson and was called the Ordinary.

In 1885 James Stanley’s nephew created the Rover Safety. It had a saddle, handlebar grips and the crank axle on the rear wheel.

The first recognizable modern bike was designed in 1893 and had a diamond-pattern frame with a roller chain and pneumatic tyres, that were developed by John Boyd Dunlop.

It was during the 1890s that women took to the bike because their bloomers permitted them to maintain their modesty. According to Susan B. Anthony the bicycle �has done more to emancipate women than anything else in the world.�

In the 1900s metal was used to build the bicycle and smaller wheels were introduced.

The first three-speed was introduced in about 1900.

In 1940 kickstands were developed and derailleurs were added to give 5 and 10 speed gears, useful for mountain bikes.

In 1963 Schwinn developed the Sting-Ray that was the basis for the BMX

The first Earth Day in 1970 made cycling more popular and in 1978 more bikes than cars were sold in America.

The mountain bike was first mass-produced in the early 1980s, and was allowed to participate in the Olympic Games in 1996.

Cycling is the third most popular sport after swimming and exercise.

The unicycle has been in production for years and has now created a whole new sport. There are clubs and organized events, but this is not the easiest bike to ride.

Mention must be made of the tandem, allowing a couple to cycle together without ether proving to be the better cyclist. You may have difficulties synchronizing your styles but once broken in you will find it a pleasure. They are faster on the downhills and slower on the inclines.

A more recent addition to the cycling stable is the recumbent. This has a shaped seat where you sit and pedal with your legs slightly raised. It may challenge your thigh muscles in the beginning, but is more stable and takes the strain of the shoulders. If you prefer you can have an EZ Tandem, a long, low-slung bike with high handlebars.

A style of recumbent is the Trike that has 2 front wheels making it more stable. Both the trike and the ordinary recumbent also come in tandems. It is possible to add fairings to keep off the weather and for extra speed they can be completely covered in a fibre-glass sheath

You have no excuse for not buying a bike with all the choices available.

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