General culture test. Who invented the bicycle?

This car we all know today has a past full of controversy and misinformation. But who exactly invented the bicycle?

We might think that an invention as simple as the bicycle would have a common past. But this is not the case.

This extremely popular invention has a history full of controversy and misinformation. While stories of who invented the bicycle often conflict with one another, one thing is certain: The first bikes were not like the ones we see on the street today.

The inventor of the bicycle made it hundreds of years ago

The first known variants of the man-made wheeled vehicle were created long before the bicycle became a practical form of transportation, Live Science writes.

In 1418, Italian engineer Giovanni Fontana (or of Fontana) built a machine with four human-powered wheels and a rope loop connected by gears, according to the International Bicycle Fund (IBF).

In 1813, about 400 years after Fontana built his invention on wheels, German aristocrat and inventor Carl von Drais began work on his own version of the Laufmaschine (four-wheel drive) wheels, driven by a man.

Then, in 1817, Dries showed up with a two-wheeled chariot, known by many names across Europe, including Driesen, Dandy’s horse and hobby horse, says IBF.

strange inventions

Dries presented the invention in response to a very serious problem: the lack of real horses. In 1815, the Mount Tambora volcano in Indonesia erupted, and an ash cloud that spread around the world lowered the global temperature. According to the Smithsonian Institution, crops failed and many animals, including horses, died of starvation.

Dries’ hobbies were a far cry from today’s high-speed pneumatic machines. This predecessor of the bike weighed 23 kilograms, had two wooden wheels attached to a wooden frame.

Users sat on a leather-upholstered saddle, nailed the chassis, and drove with a primitive wooden handlebar. There were no gears or pedals, users simply pushed the device with their feet.

Dries took his invention to France and England, where it became popular. A British track manufacturer called Dennis Johnson marketed its own version, which it called the “pedestrian wagon”.

Hobby horses enjoyed several years of success before they were banned from sidewalks due to the danger to pedestrians. The fad faded, and in the 1820s, chariots were rarely seen, according to the National Museum of American History (NMAH).

Who invented the bicycle today?

Bicycles made a comeback in the early 1860s, with the introduction of a wooden device with two steel wheels, pedals and gear. They are known as Velocipedes (fast legs) or “bone rockers”, because the intrepid users of this early instrument had a hard time riding.

It is not known exactly who invented the high speed bike, with its revolutionary gear and pedals. A German named Carl Kech claimed to have been the first to ride a hobby horse pedal in 1862. But the first patent for such a device was granted not to Kech, but to Pierre Lallement, a French carriage maker who received a US patent for a two-wheeled chassis with a crank pedal in 1866 , according to the NMAH.

In 1864, before obtaining a license for his car, Lallement showed his creativity to the public, which can explain how Aime and Rene Olivier (the sons of a wealthy Parisian industrialist) learned his invention and decided to create your own accelerator.

success story

Together with a classmate, Georges de la Pugliese, the young chose Pierre Michaux, a blacksmith and wagon maker, to create the pieces they needed for their invention.

Michaux and brothers Olivier began selling bicycles in 1867, and had success. Due to a design misunderstanding and financial problems, the company co-founded by Michaux and Olivier was eventually dissolved, but Compagnie Parisienne, owned by Olivier, continued to exist.

New versions of bikes

In the 1870s, cyclists were tired of the “bone shaker” design Michaux was famous for, and manufacturers responded with new models. Also, by 1870, metallurgy had advanced enough that bicycle frames could be made of metal, which was stronger and lighter than wood, according to the IBF.

A popular design was the high-wheeled car, also known as a Penny Farthing due to the size of the wheels. (Farthing was a British penny equal to one penny.) ​​The Penny Farthing has grown much smoother than its predecessor, thanks to its solid rubber tires and tall spokes.

Design flaw

The front wheels got bigger and bigger when manufacturers realized that the bigger the wheel, the more one could travel in one turn of the pedals. Horse lovers can buy a wheel the size of his leg.

Unfortunately, the big front wheel design supported by young thrill-seekers (many of whom race these machines at new bike clubs set up across Europe) was not unwieldy for most cyclists. If the user has to stop suddenly, the inertia causes the entire device, including the cyclist, to tip over.

Who invented the modern bike?

Enthusiasm for the little things remained low until English inventor John Kemp Starley came up with the idea of ​​a “safety bike” in the 1870s.

Starley began successfully marketing its bikes in 1871, when it introduced the “Ariel” bike to the UK, making the country a leader in bicycle innovation for decades to come.

Starley is best known for inventing the tangential-rib wheel in 1874. This effort-absorbing front wheel was a huge improvement over the wheels on earlier bikes and made cycling (somewhat) a comfortable and enjoyable activity. For the first time in history. The Starley wheels also made the bike lighter, which is another practical improvement over previous versions.

Then, in 1885, Starley introduced the “Rover”. With its nearly equal-sized wheels, pivoting center steering and chain-motor-equipped steering, the Starley “rover” was a very stable and very practical first version of the bike.

Bigger success

The number of bicycles in use rose from about 200,000 in 1889 to one million in 1899, according to the NMAH.

Almost anyone can learn to ride a bike, and almost everyone can learn to ride. The Sultan of Zanzibar started cycling. So did the Czar of Russia. The Emir of Kabul bought bicycles for his entire harem.

But it was the middle class and working class around the world who really got their hands on the bike. For the first time in history, the masses were mobile and able to come and go as they pleased. There was no need for expensive horses and carts. National Geographic wrote that the People’s Mule, as the bike was known, was not only light, accessible and easy to maintain, but was also the fastest thing on the road.

At first, bicycles were a relatively expensive hobby, but mass production made the bicycle a practical investment for workers, who could use it to get to work and back home.

transport revolution

The bicycle introduced people to individual and independent transportation and provided more flexibility in terms of entertainment.

When women began cycling in droves, drastic changes in fashion were required. Skirts and corsets have been replaced by puffy pants because they give women more movement, while allowing them to cover their legs with long skirts.

The bikes were also partly responsible for the better road conditions. As more Americans start riding bikes that need a smoother road surface than horse-drawn vehicles, cyclists have organized to demand better roads, according to the NMAH. They were often joined by railway companies who wanted to improve links between farmers, other companies and the railway station.

The bike had a direct impact on the front of the car, according to the NMAH. Bicycle parts were later incorporated into car parts, including ball bearings, differential units, steel tubes and pneumatic tires.

Those who invented the bicycle didn’t know it would create pilots

Many of the pioneer automakers were bicycle manufacturers, including Charles Doria, Alexander Winton and Albert A. Pop. Wilbur and Orville Wright were also bike builders before they turned their attention to aerodynamics. Glenn Curtis, another aviation pioneer, started as a bicycle manufacturer.

Karl von Drais bike; 3D view. Photo: shutterstock

As the popularity of cars increased, interest in bicycles declined. According to the NMAH, electric rail has also taken over the sidewalks originally built for bicycles. Manufacturers declined in the early 1900s, and for over 50 years only children used bicycles.

A resurgence of adult interest occurred in the late 1960s, as many people began to see cycling as a clean and tidy method of transportation and recreation. In 1970, nearly 5 million bicycles were manufactured in the United States, and about 75 million users shared 50 million bicycles, making cycling the largest outdoor entertainment in the country, according to the NMAH.

bikes today

More than 100 million bikes are manufactured each year, according to the Bicycle History website, and about 1 billion bikes are currently used worldwide.

A person entering a bike shop today has a wide range of choices. Tires are designed and manufactured from different materials depending on where the bike can be used. They can be made of steel, aluminum, titanium, carbon fiber, or, sometimes, even materials like bamboo, according to Bike Bamboo.

Wheels come in different sizes and thicknesses for running on different surfaces: from rugged mountain roads, dirt and rocky roads to cobblestone city streets. Cyclists can choose between different types of brakes, speed numbers, saddle shapes, the positions and curves of the handlebars, and whether or not to suspend.

Modern bikes are completely different from their predecessors

Bicycles can have 1 to 33 speeds. The seats can be short and narrow for racing or wide and equipped with shock absorbers for comfortable travel. Suspension can be added to provide a smoother ride on rough trails.

Some modern bicycle models are so different from their predecessors that those who originally invented the bicycle will likely not recognize them.

Today, bicycles can be folded for easy travel or storage. Some don’t have a saddle and look like elliptical bikes you can find at the gym; Other bikes have buggy rides for toddlers, and some even come with electric motors.

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