Pedal bicycles are a simple human-powered transportation device used for recreation and sport. The design of modern bicycles has undergone a number of refinements over the years. Most bicycles use a chain to transmit power from the cranks to the rear wheel. The chain is connected to the frame-mounted cranks by a bottom bracket. The rear wheel can be fixed or direct-gear. The former allows the rider to skid on dry pavement, while the latter is more efficient.
The first commercially successful pedal bicycle was built in Paris in the early 1860s by Pierre Lallement, who had worked at the carriage maker M. Strohmayer. He then took his invention to the United States in 1865. His invention, called the “velocipede,” became an international craze among young people.
The first pedal-powered velocipede was built in mid-1863 by Pierre Lallement. The Olivier brothers, a French bicycle manufacturer, purchased 69 percent of the Michaux company in 1867. They began producing a variety of velocipedes, including the “ordinary” and the “dwarf ordinary.”
The “ordinary” bicycle was made of steel tubular frames with hollow front and rear wheels. The “dwarf ordinary” had a much thinner front wheel and was designed to provide a more balanced weight distribution. It also needed a gearing system to enable the rider to pedal. The “ordinary” also featured a quality ball-bearing system and tension-spoked wheels.
The “ordinary” was developed as a more practical bicycle, and the name was later changed to the “dwarf ordinary.” It had a seat positioned further back and required a gearing system to enable the rider. The “ordinary” also featured a fork that connected to the front wheel and a stem that connected to the handlebars.
The most significant technical improvement came in the form of multiple-speed gearing. Many bicycles now have a gearing system that varies from one-speed to ten-speeds. These bikes are built for speed, and the varying gear ratios allow the rider to achieve different speeds. A 10-speed bike is built with five freewheel sprockets. A two-speed internal hub gear is a feature of deluxe bicycles in Britain.
In the 1930s, alloy steels began to replace steel as the primary material for fork tubes. In the present, most mid-range bikes are constructed of aluminum alloy. The lightweight nature of these materials has made them popular with cyclists.
By the middle of the 20th century, the bicycle was becoming a symbol of women’s movement. Countries such as Denmark and the Netherlands actively promoted bicycles. In the United States, 1.1 million bicycles were manufactured in 1899. Sales declined to seven million in 1975. However, the market was greatly expanded by the oil embargo of 1974. The growth of mass transit systems likely caused the end of the boom.
The bicycle is one of the most efficient vehicles available to humans. It can save hundreds of dollars a year on maintenance and potholes. Bicyclists are encouraged to use the bicycle as a means of transportation, and are also encouraged to avoid automobiles. Some cities have paved bike lanes and paths to make riding a bicycle more convenient.