Wednesday, 11 May 2011

DID YOU KNOW? ~ A Brief "History of the Bicycle"

Who would have thought you could learn historical information from a "Geronimo Stilton" novel about mice?  On Saturday afternoon, I read "The Race Across America" aloud to Alisdair and was surprised to find Page 13 devoted to the "The History of the Bicycle."

The book tells readers "the first bicycle was invented in 1861 by the French mechanic Ernest Michaux.  It was called the velocipede.  The velocipede had pedals mounted on a large front wheel.  This helped riders travel very fast with very little effort."

It goes on to explain "the modern bicycle was born in 1880 with the invention of the chain, which transfers power from the bicycle's pedals to its wheels.  A few years later, rubber tires were added.  Tires made riding a bike a lot more comfortable.  Before they were invented, cyclists rode on wheels made of wood or iron."

"Today racing bicycles have narrow tires, curved handlebars, and most important, a gear mechanism that makes it easier to pedal up even the steepest hills.  These bikes are made from ultralight materials, like carbon fiber or titanium.  Every piece of the bicycle is designed to be as light as possible to help improve the rider's speed."

I've seen velocipede's ridden in parades, but I sure wouldn't want to try it myself . . .  teaching someone to ride would be a nightmare!  Give me a modern bike and some training wheels any day!

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