PostHeaderIcon Bicycle technology – then and now

This is a guest post by

 Bicycle technology Rob van der Plas a mechanical engineer with a lifelong passion for the bicycle and its technology. His previous books include The Penguin Bicycle Handbook, The Mountain Bike Book, and Bicycle Repair. He lives in San Francisco.

Stuart Baird is a retired avionics engineer with a passion for the bicycle and the ways its performance can be optimized. He lives in Devault, Pennsylvania.

Taken from their current book Bicycle Technology – Understanding the Modern Bicycle and its Components
A thorough and up-to-date treatment of the technical aspects of the modern bicycle, illustrated with 800 photographs and other illustrations.

 Bicycle technology Bicycles have come a long way. They are one of the most important methods of transportation ever created. Millions of people all over the world rely on them and enjoy them as both a primary means of transport and as a personal means of recreation.

Lifelong bicycle aficionados Rob van der Plas and Stuart Baird have indulged their passion for cycling and created a beautifully illustrated compendium dedicated to the technology and engineering that goes into the modern bicycle and its key components.

Their new book, titled Bicycle Technology, covers every detail and aspect of the modern bicycle, from the frame materials to the drivetrain, gears, to the wheels, suspension lights, bells and whistles, and more. They have shared their technical know-how and love of the history and the developments of the bicycle from its inauspicious beginnings to the use of space-age materials, and the incorporation of electronic innovations of today.

Contrary to popular belief, the first bicycle was invented by Carl Von Drais (no, not by Leonardo Da Vinci) in 1817. Drais viewed it as a substitute for a horse, which was in very short supply at the time due to a very harsh winter. His earliest machine was protected by a patent, which was soon copied by many people, some under license, some simply pirated. However, interest soon diminished, and by 1830, they were all but forgotten relics of a short-lived craze.

 Bicycle technology The pedal-drive was first introduced in the 1850s for use on a workman’s tricycle powered by means of cranks on the front wheel, and later found use on Michaux’s two-wheel velocipeds. Tension wire spokes were introduced in 1869, making it possible to build very large wheels of the iconic high-wheel, or “ordinary” bicycle of the 1870 and 1880s.

The first chain-driven bicycle was patented in 1879. Within a few years of their introduction the safety bicycle, with chain-drive and two equal-sized had superseded the high-wheel bicycle.
Next time we will look at what they have to say about the developments of the 20th and 21st Centuries.

For more information and to get the book visit .

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