Bicycle Essay

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Fact sheet: 2 Development of the bicycle The idea of two-wheeled human transport has been around for over 600 years. As a travel mode, cycling produces no greenhouse gas emissions – bicycles are the ultimate green machines. 1490 1790 Leonardo da Vinci sketched prototype design of the modern bicycle − there is no proof that it was ever built. The forerunner of the bicycle, the Celerifere, was designed and built by Count Mede de Sivrac in France. It had a wooden frame and wheels, and was propelled like a scooter with no steering mechanism. German, Karl von Drais developed a bicycle that could be steered. Commonly known as the draisienne, ‘hobby horse’ or ‘dandy horse’, it had a padded seat and armrest and relied on foot propulsion instead of pedals. Kirkpatrick MacMillan built the first bicycle with pedals to drive the rear wheels. In France, Pierre and Ernest Michaux moved the pedals and cranks to the larger front wheel axle and the Velocipede or ‘bone shaker’ was produced. It featured direct drive, fixed gear and one speed. A Velocipede was built in Goulburn, New South Wales, by W.A. George. Australia’s first bicycle race was held at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. The ‘Ariel’ or ‘ordinary’ bicycle was produced. This bicycle, with its large front wheel and smaller rear wheel, gave increased speed and a more comfortable ride for the cyclist and was nicknamed the ‘penny farthing’ (from the currency of the time − pennies and farthings) This was the first use of the word ‘bicycle’ meaning ‘two wheels’. The first ‘ordinary’ bicycle was imported into Australia. It became widely used and cycling clubs were established, requiring members to wear the uniform of their club when they were cycling. Albert Pope, the ‘father of the bicycle industry’ built the first bicycle – the Columbia – in the USA and described it as ‘an ever-saddled horse that eats nothing and requires no

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