The bicycle was invented in Europe during the late 18th century. Historians disagree on who invented it. Some claim that Leonardo da Vinci drew it on the Codex Atlanticus in 1492. However, it was not until the mid-19th century that it became popular in Britain.
The bicycle evolved through the efforts of many individuals. Its first design featured a serpentine-shaped malleable iron frame. The bicycle began serious production in 1867. In the early 1890s, the center of the bicycle industry moved from Paris to Coventry. The British market quickly absorbed the entire batch.
During the 1880s, the first pneumatic tires were invented. John Boyd Dunlop’s tyres became universal. The pneumatic tire proved to be a major breakthrough in the development of the bicycle. Without the tyres, an upright bike would be rough on the ride.
Another significant technical improvement was multiple-speed gearing. The Sturmey-Archer Company made 100,000 three-speed hub gears per year during the early 1900s. A two-speed internal hub gear was introduced in 1896, becoming an important feature of deluxe bicycles in Britain. In the 1920s, derailleur gears were developed. These derailleur gears enable a cyclist to change the speed of the wheel to suit varying conditions.
Another design element of the bicycle is the inverted A-frame. This helps a cyclist to keep balance and to lean forward to apply maximum force to the pedals. The inverted A-frame also enables the bicycle to be ridden on hills.
The wheel on an ordinary bicycle is a solid rubber tire, with the exception of the front wheel. The front wheel’s stability depends partly on the gyroscopic effect and on the mass distribution on the front wheel. The rear wheel has a 30-inch (76-cm) wheel. It is not part of the weight of the bicycle, so the entire front and back wheel must push down to generate enough force to propel the bicycle.
The wheel is also a speed multiplier like the car wheel. In the wheel’s rotation, the load on the spokes rises and falls dramatically. When the spokes fail, the wheel can buckle. As a result, the load on the remaining spokes becomes greater.
The brake shoe clamps onto the inner rim of the front and back wheels. When the cyclist wants to stop, he pushes on the outside edge of the wheel. The kinetic energy in the braking motion is converted into heat and slows the vehicle.
In the 19th and early 20th centuries, the bicycle continued to be developed, with the greatest technical innovation being the addition of a seat tube. In modern bikes, a double triangle diamond-shaped frame is used to distribute the weight evenly between the front and back wheels. The bicycle was further enhanced in the 1930s by the use of alloy steels for the fork tubes. This allowed the development of a variety of specialized designs.
The invention of the velocipede de pedale, or velocipede, was a major advancement in the bicycle. It was designed by Pierre Lallement and built in the mid-1863. The Olivier brothers, who worked for M. Strohmayer’s carriage maker, had the opportunity to test their prototype in the United States.