Free The History And Influence Of The Bicycle Report Sample
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The definition of a bicycle is “A vehicle consisting of a light frame mounted on two wire-spoked wheels one behind the other and having a seat, handlebars for steering, brakes, and two pedals or a small motor by which it is driven” Dictionary.search.yahoo.com, 2015). Bicycles are generally used by one person, but two or even three can ride in tandem. In addition, carriers and sidecars allow additional passengers such as small children.
Over the years, numerous types of bicycles have been developed. The most common types are the road racing bikes, mountain bikes, cross country bikes, hybrid bikes, city bikes, tandem, and BMX bikes (Bike-riding-guide.com, 2014). They are used for competitions, sports such as mountain and cross country biking, getting to work or school, touring, and playing with another child at the park. Regardless of the need a person has for his or her bike, the statistics show that over 125 billion bicycles of all types were produced worldwide in 2010 (Bicyclehistory.net, 2015). Whether the bike carries a child to school or a racer to the trophy, these two-wheeled vehicles have a rich history and significant impact on society.
There is a theory that the first documentation of a bicycle was in sketches belonging to Leonardo da Vinci dated 1493 (Bicyclehistory.net, 2015). Regardless, horses remained the only form of public transportation in the 400 years following. A German by the name of Baron Karl von Drais invented the velocipede in the early 19th century; it consisted of two wheels connected with a center bar. Riders had to run alongside the vehicle to gain speed, the cruise until it slowed. England improved on the idea with the “Dandy Horse” and the era of the bicycle was born.
It was 40 years before two French carriage makers improved on the “Dandy Horse” by attaching pedals to the front wheel and placing a seat on the support beam for the rider. The “Boneshaker” started mass production in 1868, and the next year saw the design for a larger front wheel. Although very popular, the big front wheel created problems with uphill and downhill riding. One of the highlights in the history of bicycles was in 1885 when the Englishman John Kemp added a chain from the pedals to the two wheels. The resulting safety, comfort, ease of steering, and speed made bicycles the major form of public transportation on roads for 50 years. As prices came down, the use of bicycles increased around the world.
Today, bicycles are made from carbon fiber and aluminum for lightweight durability. Hybrid bikes have appears that combine components of road bikes and mountain bikes (Fiedler, 2015). The hybrid has an upright, sturdy frame for comfortable riding and carrying weight. It can take the punishment of potholes and has tires that are wider to promote stability and traction. Moreover, there is more speed that a mountain bike because the hybrid has lighter rims and other components and the gearing is taller to increase speed.
Influence of the Bicycle
The first road signs were developed for bicycles to warn about road hazards (Faculty.babson.edu, n.d.). Today, the roadway signs for bikes are simply “Bike Lane”. Policemen first used bicycles before patrol cars became readily available. The bicycle had the first advertising campaign that changed with yearly models and marketed a product with an image. Wilbur and Orville Wright learn bicycle mechanics and used them to invent the first airplane to fly; balancing on wind currents is a common component of airplanes and bicycles. In fact, the Wright’s airplane consisted of bicycle tubing and other lightweight bicycle materials. Henry Ford was a bicycle mechanic who used bicycle parts to build his first automotive. In fact, the coaster brake was the forerunner of the electric starter for cars.
Doctors found riding a bicycle is healthy, and during the Women’s Suffrage Movement it was responsible for females leaving their corsets at home. Susan B. Anthony said of the bicycle “. . . it has done more to emancipate women that anything else in the world (Goodreads.com, 2015)”. In the field of romance, members of isolated communities could use bicycles to travel to neighboring towns to find a spouse and expand the gene pool. Also, it is difficult to chaperone a young woman on a bicycle. Bicycling lead to the creation of motorcycling as human-powered machines became too slow for some riders.
As far as economics is concerned, a study in 2012 found that people who ride bicycles spend more at their destinations over the course of a month than their peers who arrive at the same destinations in cars (Kaye, 2012). The findings were the same in both Portland and Manhattan. Consequently, shopping areas would be wise to cater to cyclists with protected bike lanes, improvements in safety for pedestrians, and bicycle racks. In addition, cycling reduced emissions and leads to more exercise for the bicyclists.
In Japan, 56.9 percent of the population ride bicycles with more than 10 million purchased annually (Spokefly, 2015). Used as options to automobiles, Japanese people ride to work for speed, comfort, and health reasons. Underground bike garages are affordable and prevent theft or damage; the Eco Cycle Anti-Seismic Underground Bicycle Park in production can hold 204 bikes and park them mechanically in 13 seconds (Mashable, 2015).
The Tour de France is the most famous bike race is the world and millions line the ropes beside the route (Gunter, 2015). Originating in 1903, the race sports cyclists from all over the world attend the competition. The race takes place over a 23-day period in 21 day-long stages and covers approximately 3500 kilometers. The sporting event is a cultural event that spans decades.
In 2012, a group of high school students in Naperville, Florida set out to raise money for one bicycle to sent to Africa; instead, they raised enough money for twelve (Jenco, 2012). Leah Missbach Day, the co-founder of World Bicycle Relief, explained how important the vehicles are in other parts of the world. “This is an industrial revolution in an individual’s life,” Day said. For example, a girl in Zambia must walk seven miles each way in order to get to school. A bicycle will allow her to take less time to travel, letting her help her family more, and make her less tired. These reasons combine to help her continue her education. For people earning a living selling produce from their yards, without a bicycle they must put a stand near their home. With the ability to transport their vegetables, they can travel to a downtown market and receive higher prices.
Bicycles have been and continue to be important all over the world for work and recreation. With advancing technology, there still seems to be a bright future for the two-wheeled, human- powered vehicle.
Bicyclehistory.net. (2015). The History of the Bicycle - Invention of Two Wheels Vehicles.
Retrieved 5 April 2015, from http://www.bicyclehistory.net/bicycle-history/history-of- bicycle/
Bike-riding-guide.com. (2014). Bicycle Types. Retrieved 5 April 2015, from http://www.bike-
Dictionary.search.yahoo.com. (2015). bicycle - Yahoo Dictionary Search Results. Retrieved 5
April 2015, from
Fiedler, D. (2015). What is a Hybrid Bicycle and Why Would You Want to Ride One?. About.com
Sports. Retrieved 6 April 2015, from
Goodreads.com. (2015). Susan B. Anthony Quotes (Author of History of Woman Suffrage,
Volume I). Retrieved 5 April 2015, from
Gunter, J. (2012). The Tour de France: a guide to the basics. Telegraph.co.uk. Retrieved 6 April
2015, from http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/othersports/cycling/tour-de-
Jenco, M. (2012). Students sending bikes to Africa. Trib Local Naperville. Retrieved from
Kaye, L. (2012). Economic Impact of Bicycling. Triple Pundit: People, Planet, Profit. Retrieved
5 April 2015, from http://www.triplepundit.com/2012/10/economic-impact-bicycling/
Mashable. (2015). Japan's insane underground bicycle parking lots are the future. Retrieved 6
April 2015, from http://mashable.com/2015/02/16/japan-bicycle-parking/
SPOKEFLY. (2015). Top 10 Countries with Most Bicycles per Capita. Retrieved 6 April 2015,
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