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HISTORY OF THE BICYCLE
introduced in 19th-century Europe, bicycles now number over one
The basic shape and configuration of a typical bicycle's frame,
wheels, pedals, saddle, and handlebars have hardly changed since
the first chain-driven model was developed.
Pushbikes - The first documented
ancestor of the modern bicycle was introduced in Paris in 1818.
It was powered by the action of the rider's feet pushing against
the ground and two in-line wheels connected by a wooden frame. The
rider sat astride and pushed it along with his feet, while steering
the front wheel.
Dwarf Safeties - By adding gearing, reducing
the front wheel diameter, and setting the seat further back, and
introducing the chain drive. These models were known as dwarf safeties,
or safety bicycles, for their lower seat height and better weight
distribution. Soon, the seat tube was added, creating the double-triangle,
diamond frame of the modern bike.
Freewheel - Soon the rear freewheel was
developed, enabling the rider to coast without the pedals spinning
out of control. This refinement led to the 1898 invention of coaster
brakes. Derailleur gears and hand-operated, cable-pull brakes were
also developed during these years, but were only slowly adopted
by casual riders. By the turn of the century, bicycling clubs flourished
on both sides of the Atlantic, and touring and racing were soon
THE BICYCLE FRAME
The goal for strength and low weight made aluminum alloy frames
popular and their affordability now makes them common. More expensive
carbon fiber and titanium frames are now also available, as well
as advanced steel alloys.
- Nearly all bicycles feature the diamond frame, a
truss, consisting of two triangles: the front triangle and the rear
triangle. The front triangle consists of the head tube, top tube,
down tube and seat tube. The head tube contains the headset, the
set of bearings that allows the fork to turn smoothly for steering
and balance. The top tube connects the head tube to the seat tube
at the top, and the down tube connects the head tube to the bottom
bracket. The rear triangle consists of the seat tube and paired
chain stays and seat stays. The chain stays run parallel to the
chain, connecting the bottom bracket to the rear dropouts. The seat
stays connect the top of the seat tube at or near the same point
as the top tube to the rear dropouts.
Women’s - Women's bicycle frames
had a top tube that connected in the middle of the seat tube instead
of the top, resulting in a lower stand over height at the expense
of compromised structural integrity, since this places a strong
bending load in the seat tube, and bicycle frame members are typically
weak in bending.
Hybrid - While some continue to use the
women's bicycles frame style, there is also a hybrid form which
splits the top tube into two small top tubes that bypass the seat
tube and connect to the rear dropouts. The ease of stepping through
is also appreciated by those with limited flexibility or other joint
- Upright handlebars curve gently back toward the
rider, offering a natural grip and comfortable upright position.
Drop - Drop handlebars are "dropped",
offering the cyclist either an aerodynamic "crouched"
position or a more upright posture in which the hands grip the brake
Straight - Straight handlebars can provide
better low-speed handling due to the wider nature of the bars.
Cushioned - With comfort bikes and hybrids
the cyclist sits high over the seat, their weight directed down
onto the saddle, such that a wider and more cushioned saddle is
Racing - For racing bikes where the rider
is bent over, weight is more evenly distributed between the handlebars
and saddle, and the hips are flexed, and a narrower and harder saddle
is more efficient and allows more free leg swings.
Design - Differing saddle designs exist
for male and female cyclists, accommodating the genders' differing
Back Pedal Coaster – These brakes
were the rule in North America until the 1960s, and are still common
in children's bicycles.
Internal Hub - These brakes have the friction
pads contained within the wheel hubs, or disc brakes. A rear hub
brake may be either hand-operated or pedal-actuated. Hub drum brakes
do not cope well with extended braking.
Rim – These brakes use friction
pads that are compressed against the wheel rims. Rim brakes are
used in hilly terrain.
Track Cycling - Brakes are not required
for riding on a track. Riders are still able to slow down because
all track bicycles are fixed-gear, meaning that there is no freewheel.
Without a freewheel, coasting is impossible, so when the rear wheel
is moving, the crank is moving. To slow down one may apply resistance
to the pedals.
components, which are often optional accessories on sports bicycles,
are standard features on utility bicycles to enhance their usefulness
Chainguards - protect clothes and moving
parts from oil and spray.
Helmet - a necessity and legally required
in some jurisdictions and classified as an accessory by other jurisdictions
RoadSide Assistance - It is also possible
to purchase roadside assistance preferring to leave maintenance
and repairs to professional bicycle mechanics. Others maintain their
own bicycles, enhancing their enjoyment of the hobby of cycling.
Technical accessories include cyclocomputers for measuring speed
and distance. Other accessories include lights, reflectors, tire
pump and security locks.
Toe straps - help to keep the foot planted
firmly on the pedals, and enable the cyclist to pull as well as
push the pedals.
Tool Kits - Many cyclists carry tool kits,
containing at least a tire patch kit tire levers, and hex wrenches.
A single tool once sufficed for most repairs. More specialized parts
now require more complex tools, including proprietary tools specific
for a given manufacturer. Some bicycle parts, particularly hub-based
gearing systems, are complex.
Utility bicycles - A utility bicycle is
one which is designed for a practical purpose, as opposed to "sport
bicycles" which are designed for recreation and competition,
such as touring bicycles, racing bicycles and mountain bicycles.
bicycles - A mountain bike or mountain bicycle is
a bicycle designed for mountain biking, either on dirt trails or
other unpaved environments. In contrast, road bicycles are not rugged
enough for such terrain.
bicycles - A racing bicycle is a bicycle designed
for road cycling according to the rules of the Union Cycliste Internationale
(UCI). The UCI rules were altered in 1934 to exclude recumbent bicycles.
Throughout the late 1990s the rules were altered regularly to outlaw
Touring bicycles - A touring bicycle
is a bicycle either specially designed for, or modified to handle
bicycle touring. What makes a touring bike different from other
bicycles is its ability to carry gear on racks mounted to the front
and rear of the bicycle frame.
Cruiser bicycles – Cruiser bicycles
are balloon-tired bikes with heavy-duty frames. Their wide tires
and simple mechanicals (usually single speed with coaster brake)
are ideally suited to riding on flat sandy beaches.
BMX bicycles - BMX a form of cycling
on specially designed bicycles that usually have 20-inch wheels.
The sport includes races on earthen tracks, as well as the performances
bicycles - A recumbent bicycle has a reclined chair-like
seat that is more comfortable than a saddle, especially for riders
who suffer from certain types of back pain, but this is a compromise
in terms of handling and short-term power generation as the common
technique of standing off the saddle in order to sprint or climb
cannot be utilized.
The bicycle is extraordinarily efficient. In terms of the amount
of energy a person must expend to travel a given distance, investigators
have calculated it to be the most efficient self-powered means of
transportation. Air drag, which increases with the square of speed,
requires dramatically higher power outputs with increasing speed.
The rider's body creates the greatest amount of drag on an upright
bicycle, compared to just the bicycle itself, at about 75% of the
A bicycle stays upright by being steered so as to keep its centre
of gravity over its wheels. This steering is usually provided by
the rider. A bicycle must lean in order to turn. This lean is induced
by a method known as countersteering, which can be performed by
the rider turning the handlebars directly with the hands or indirectly
by leaning the bicycle.
Bicycle suspension refers to the system or systems used to suspend
the rider and all or part of the bicycle in order to protect them
from the roughness of the terrain over which they travel. Bicycle
suspension are used primarily on mountain bicycles, but are also
common on hybrid bicycles, and can even be found on some road bicycles
as they can help deal with problematic vibration.
The drivetrain begins with pedals which rotate the cranks, which
connect to the bottom bracket. Attached to the (usually right) crank
arm may be one or more chainrings or sprockets which drive the chain,
which in turn rotates the rear wheel via the rear sprockets (cassette
or freewheel). Various gearing systems may be interspersed between
the pedals and rear wheel; these gearing systems vary the number
of rear wheel revolutions produced by each turn of the pedals.
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