The draisienne A bicycle is a human-powered vehicle with two wheels. The first bicycle, described by its inventor, Baron von Drais as a "running machine", appeared in 1817. The draisienne, sometimes called a "dandy horse" or “hobby horse”, had no pedals; instead, riders pushed along the ground with their feet. It was the fastest land vehicle of its time. Later in the 19th century pedal-powered bicycles were introduced. The first recognizably modern bicycle, with a lightweight frame, rubber tyres and a chain to drive the wheels, appeared in the 1880s.
The Penny-farthing, which was popular from about 1878 to 1900, had a huge front wheel (1.5 m / 5 ft across) but only a tiny back...Read More >>The Penny-farthing, which was popular from about 1878 to 1900, had a huge front wheel (1.5 m / 5 ft across) but only a tiny back wheel.
History of bicycles
The first pedal-powered bicycle was made by Scottish blacksmith Kirkpatrick Macmillan in 1839. It had pedals connected with rods to the back wheel. In 1861 in Paris, Pierre Michaux built a bicycle made of iron and wood in which the pedals turned the front wheels. The vélocipède, as it was known, was the first popular bicycle. A later type of vélocipède had a steel, hollow-tube frame, wire-spoked wheels and solid rubber tyres. This was called an "ordinary bicycle", but popularly became known as the Penny-farthing because of its vastly different-sized wheels (the huge front wheel was designed to improve the machine's speed).
Macmillan’s bicycle (left) had pedals connected with rods to the back wheel. Pierre Michaux’s first "boneshaker" or vélocipède...Read More >>Macmillan’s bicycle (left) had pedals connected with rods to the back wheel. Pierre Michaux’s first "boneshaker" or vélocipède (centre) had wooden or iron wheels that, as the name suggests, made riding uncomfortable. The Starley Rover bicycle (right) had a chain connecting the pedals to the back wheel.Rover Safety bicycle, 1885Early bicycles, with their solid wheels, were called “boneshakers”, because they gave people a bumpy ride. Having to pedal and steer the front wheel also made cycling hard work. English inventor John Starley (1854–1901) solved the problem in 1885 with the Rover safety bicycle, which had equal-sized wheels and a chain-driven back wheel. A double-triangle diamond-shaped frame was added shortly afterwards. John Boyd Dunlop, a Belfast vet, introduced air-filled tyres in 1888, giving the new bicycle a much smoother ride.
Parts of a bicycle
The are more than one billion bicycles in the world—twice as many as cars.
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