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A brief history of bicycling

The dandy horse, also called Draisienne or laufmaschine, was the first human means of transport to use only two wheels in tandem and was invented by the German Baron Karl von Drais. It is regarded as the modern bicycle’s forerunner; Drais introduced it to the public in Mannheim in summer 1817 and in Paris in 1818. Its rider sat astride a wooden frame supported by two in-line wheels and pushed the vehicle along with his/her feet while steering the front wheel. The 1860s captured the realease of Velocipede or Boneshaker – a two-wheeled bicycle with pedals and cranks on the front wheel. It was known as the bone shaker because the combination of a wood frame and metal tires made for a very uncomfortable ride over cobblestone streets. See what happened next on the list:
[iconlist icon=”check” color=”#00000″]
[li title=”1870s—High-wheeled bicycle: One of the first models to be called a ‘bicycle’ (after its two wheels). The high wheel allowed the rider to travel farther with a single rotation of the pedals. Moreover, a metal frame and rubber tires provided a more comfortable ride than the boneshaker.” icon=”fa fa-check”][/li]
[li title=”1885—Rover Safety bicycle: Invented by John Kemp Starely, England; Featured a strong enough metal to make a chain, plus it had two same-sized wheels and a similar frame to today’s bicycles.” icon=”fa fa-check”][/li]
[li title=”1888—Pnuematic tires: Invented by John Boyd Dunlop, Ireland; Develops air-filled tires that provide a smoother ride than the previously used hard-rubber tires.” icon=”fa fa-check”][/li]
[li title=”1920s—Kid’s bicycles become popular.” icon=”fa fa-check”][/li]
[li title=”1940s—Built-in kickstands developed.” icon=”fa fa-check”][/li]
[li title=”1960s—Racing bicycles become popular and feature dropped handlebars, narrow tires, numerous speeds and a lighter frame.” icon=”fa fa-check”][/li]
[li title=”1980—Spurred by mountain biking and extreme sports, mountain bicycles become a popular consumer item and feature sturdier frames, larger wheels and flat handlebars.” icon=”fa fa-check”][/li]
[li title=”1996—Mountain bicycles appear in the Olympics.” icon=”fa fa-check”][/li]
[/iconlist]
It’s a long way from there to now. Seeing how bicycle develops through time, we know to appreciate what we are having to day and how society grows. Let spend some time to be thankful.

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Basic riding techniques (part 2)

As promised, we are back with another set of basic techniques for you. Thank you for waiting. We hope that these tricks and tips will help you have a great experience with your new hobby. Good Luck and Have Fun!

How to Shift

If you think of yourself as the bike’s engine and try to shift frequently to maintain a comfortable and steady pedaling effort, you’ll begin to use the gears more effectively. Keep in mind that shifting works best when you apply only light pedal pressure to the pedals. So shift before the hill gets too steep and never stomp the pedals until a shift has taken place. Most people find a pedal cadence (how many times one pedal goes around in a minute) of about 60 to 90 rpm about right. Find what feels good for you and then shift every time it’s either too hard or too easy to pedal. When you realize that you need to shift, use the right shift lever for small adjustments in pedal effort and use the left lever for major changes in how hard or easy it is to pedal. Most important: don’t be afraid to shift. Shift often and you’ll get good at it and on rides you’ll save energy and feel better.

Corner Fearlessly

When you come into a scary turn, if you can get yourself to look to the inside of the turn (don’t just turn your eyes, turn your head and shoulders) you’ll find that the corner is not so scary anymore and you’ll scoot right around it.

Take Juli’s Advice

Mountain bike champ Juli Furtado once said, “The faster you go, the easier it gets.” It’s great advice. Most of the bike handling problems people have are related to riding the brakes too much. If you can back off the brakes and let the bike roll, you’ll discover the wonders of momentum: with a little more speed, the bike gains stability, it gets easier to hold the good line and you steamroll obstacles that used to give you fits.

Use Bigger Gears Off Road

To make off-road rides smoother and more comfortable, try riding in slightly larger gears. This allows you to support more of your weight on the pedals and get some off your seat, which allows “floating” over, rather than pounding into ruts, roots and other rough stuff. The same trick works riding your road bike over bumpy pavement. Give it a try!

Just Learning?

New cyclists are often afraid to ride on busy streets because they’re not confident getting into the pedals, shifting and braking. You could pedal laps around the neighborhood. A more exciting approach is putting your bike in the car (bring along a cooler with some goodies) and driving to a safe country road. Here you can ride in either/both direction(s) from your car to see some scenery while practicing your skills on a safe road!

Posted on Leave a comment

Basic riding techniques (part 2)

As promised, we are back with another set of basic techniques for you. Thank you for waiting. We hope that these tricks and tips will help you have a great experience with your new hobby. Good Luck and Have Fun!

How to Shift

If you think of yourself as the bike’s engine and try to shift frequently to maintain a comfortable and steady pedaling effort, you’ll begin to use the gears more effectively. Keep in mind that shifting works best when you apply only light pedal pressure to the pedals. So shift before the hill gets too steep and never stomp the pedals until a shift has taken place. Most people find a pedal cadence (how many times one pedal goes around in a minute) of about 60 to 90 rpm about right. Find what feels good for you and then shift every time it’s either too hard or too easy to pedal. When you realize that you need to shift, use the right shift lever for small adjustments in pedal effort and use the left lever for major changes in how hard or easy it is to pedal. Most important: don’t be afraid to shift. Shift often and you’ll get good at it and on rides you’ll save energy and feel better.

Corner Fearlessly

When you come into a scary turn, if you can get yourself to look to the inside of the turn (don’t just turn your eyes, turn your head and shoulders) you’ll find that the corner is not so scary anymore and you’ll scoot right around it.

Take Juli’s Advice

Mountain bike champ Juli Furtado once said, “The faster you go, the easier it gets.” It’s great advice. Most of the bike handling problems people have are related to riding the brakes too much. If you can back off the brakes and let the bike roll, you’ll discover the wonders of momentum: with a little more speed, the bike gains stability, it gets easier to hold the good line and you steamroll obstacles that used to give you fits.

Use Bigger Gears Off Road

To make off-road rides smoother and more comfortable, try riding in slightly larger gears. This allows you to support more of your weight on the pedals and get some off your seat, which allows “floating” over, rather than pounding into ruts, roots and other rough stuff. The same trick works riding your road bike over bumpy pavement. Give it a try!

Just Learning?

New cyclists are often afraid to ride on busy streets because they’re not confident getting into the pedals, shifting and braking. You could pedal laps around the neighborhood. A more exciting approach is putting your bike in the car (bring along a cooler with some goodies) and driving to a safe country road. Here you can ride in either/both direction(s) from your car to see some scenery while practicing your skills on a safe road!

Posted on Leave a comment

A brief history of bicycling

The dandy horse, also called Draisienne or laufmaschine, was the first human means of transport to use only two wheels in tandem and was invented by the German Baron Karl von Drais. It is regarded as the modern bicycle’s forerunner; Drais introduced it to the public in Mannheim in summer 1817 and in Paris in 1818. Its rider sat astride a wooden frame supported by two in-line wheels and pushed the vehicle along with his/her feet while steering the front wheel.

The first mechanically-propelled, two-wheeled vehicle may have been built by Kirkpatrick MacMillan, a Scottish blacksmith, in 1839, although the claim is often disputed.[14] He is also associated with the first recorded instance of a cycling traffic offense, when a Glasgow newspaper in 1842 reported an accident in which an anonymous “gentleman from Dumfries-shire… bestride a velocipede… of ingenious design” knocked over a little girl in Glasgow and was fined five shillings.

In the early 1860s, Frenchmen Pierre Michaux and Pierre Lallement took bicycle design in a new direction by adding a mechanical crank drive with pedals on an enlarged front wheel (the velocipede). Another French inventor named Douglas Grasso had a failed prototype of Pierre Lallement’s bicycle several years earlier. Several inventions followed using rear-wheel drive, the best known being the rod-driven velocipede by Scotsman Thomas McCall in 1869. In that same year, bicycle wheels with wire spokes were patented by Eugène Meyer of Paris. The French vélocipède, made of iron and wood, developed into the “penny-farthing” (historically known as an “ordinary bicycle”, a retronym, since there was then no other kind). It featured a tubular steel frame on which were mounted wire-spoked wheels with solid rubber tires. These bicycles were difficult to ride due to their high seat and poor weight distribution. In 1868 Rowley Turner, a sales agent of the Coventry Sewing Machine Company (which soon became the Coventry Machinist Company), brought a Michaux cycle to Coventry, England. His uncle, Josiah Turner, and business partner James Starley, used this as a basis for the ‘Coventry Model’ in what became Britain’s first cycle factory.

The dwarf ordinary addressed some of these faults by reducing the front wheel diameter and setting the seat further back. This, in turn, required gearing—effected in a variety of ways—to efficiently use pedal power. Having to both pedal and steer via the front wheel remained a problem. J. K. Starley (nephew of James Starley), J. H. Lawson, and Shergold solved this problem by introducing the chain drive (originated by the unsuccessful “bicyclette” of Englishman Henry Lawson), connecting the frame-mounted cranks to the rear wheel. These models were known as safety bicycles, dwarf safeties, or upright bicycles for their lower seat height and better weight distribution, although without pneumatic tires the ride of the smaller-wheeled bicycle would be much rougher than that of the larger-wheeled variety. Starley’s 1885 Rover, manufactured in Coventry is usually described as the first recognizably modern bicycle. Soon the seat tube was added, creating the modern bike’s double-triangle diamond frame.

Further innovations increased comfort and ushered in a second bicycle craze, the 1890s Golden Age of Bicycles. In 1888, Scotsman John Boyd Dunlop introduced the first practical pneumatic tire, which soon became universal. Soon after, the rear freewheel was developed, enabling the rider to coast. This refinement led to the 1890s invention of coaster brakes.