Nimrod Hobby - Cycling
Over the last three or four months my sugar levels have been going high and I've had to take more pills. I've had Class 2 diabieties for a while now. In order to get more exercise here at the twilight of my years I am back on my bike. I feel better and my weight has dropped these last few months.
Just as I added a bell, bottle, little handlebar computer on my Raleigh bike the snow and sleet has come making cycling impossible. Anyway I'm hoping to use my bike more and put my cycle tours on here with pics for you to also enjoy.
My bike is a simple raleigh one like this (and invisible to car drivers it seems):
A Brief History of Bicycles Taken from the a Bike History Site on the Web
The Walking Machine
In 1817 Baron von Drais invented
a walking machine that would help him get around the royal gardens
faster: two same-size in-line wheels, the front one steerable,
mounted in a frame which you straddled. The device was propelled
by pushing your feet against the ground, thus rolling yourself
and the device forward in a sort of gliding walk. The machine became
known as the Draisienne or hobby horse. It was made entirely of
wood. This enjoyed a short lived popularity as a fad, not being
practical for transportation in any other place than a well maintained
pathway such as in a park or garden.
The Velocipede or Boneshaker
The next appearance of a two-wheeled
riding machine was in 1865, when pedals were applied directly
to the front wheel. This machine was known as the velocipede
("fast foot"), but was popularly known as the bone shaker, since
it was also made entirely of wood, then later with metal tires,
and the combination of these with the cobblestone roads of the
day made for an extremely uncomfortable ride. They also became
a fad, and indoor riding academies, similar to roller rinks,
could be found in large cities.
The High Wheel Bicycle
In 1870 the first all metal machine
appeared. (Previous to this metallurgy was not advanced enough
to provide metal which was strong enough to make small, light
parts out of.) The pedals were still atttached directly to the
front wheel with no freewheeling mechanism. Solid rubber tires
and the long spokes of the large front wheel provided a much
smoother ride than its predecessor. The front wheels became larger
and larger as makers realized that the larger the wheel, the
farther you could travel with one rotation of the pedals. You
would purchase a wheel as large as your leg length would allow.
This machine was the first one to be called a bicycle ("two wheel").
These bicycles enjoyed a great popularity among young men of
means (they cost an average worker six month's pay), with the
hey-day being the decade of the 1880s.
Because the rider sat so high above the center of gravity, if
the front wheel was stopped by a stone or rut in the road, or
emergence of a dog, the entire apparatus rotated forward on its
front axle, and the rider, with his legs trapped under the handlebars,
was dropped unceremoniously on his head. Thus the term "taking a
header" came into being.
The High Wheel Tricycle
While the men were risking their
necks on the high wheels, ladies, confined to their long skirts
and corsets, could take a spin around the park on an adult tricycle.
These machines also afforded more dignity to gentlemen such as
doctors and clergymen. Many mechanical innovations now associated
with the automobile were originally invented for tricycles. Rack
and pinion steering, the differential, and band brakes, to name
The High Wheel Safety
Improvements to the design began
to be seen, many with the small wheel in the front to eliminate
the tipping-forward problem. One model was promoted by its manufacturer
by being ridden down the front steps of the capitol building
in Washington, DC. These designs became known as high-wheel safety
bicycles. Since the older high-wheel designs had been known simply
as bicycles, they were now referred to as "ordinary bicycles" in
comparison with the new-fangled designs, and then simply as "ordinaries."
The Hard-Tired Safety
The further improvement of metallurgy
sparked the next innovation, or rather return to previous design.
With metal that was now strong enough to make a fine chain and
sprocket small and light enough for a human being to power, the
next design was a return to the original configuration of two
same-size wheels, only now, instead of just one wheel circumference
for every pedal turn, you could, through the gear ratios, have
a speed the same as the huge high-wheel. The bicycles still had
the hard rubber tires, and in the absence of the long, shock-absorbing
spokes, the ride they provided was much more uncomfortable than
any of the high-wheel designs. Many of these bicycles of 100
years ago had front and/or rear suspensions. These designs competed
with each other, your choice being the high-wheel's comfort or
the safety's safety, but the next innovation tolled the death
of the high-wheel design.
The Pnuematic-Tired Safety
The pnuematic tire was first applied
to the bicycle by an Irish veterinarian who was trying to give
his young son a more comfortable ride on his tricycle. This inventive
young doctor's name was Dunlop. Sound familar? Now that comfort
and safety could be had in the same package, and that package
was getting cheaper as manufacturing methods improved, everyone
clamored to ride the bicycle. This 1898 Yale uses a shaft drive
to dispense with the dirty chain.
The bicycle was what made the Gay Ninties gay. It was a practical investment
for the working man as transportation, and gave him a much greater flexibility
for leisure. Ladies, heretofore consigned to riding the heavy adult size
tricycles that were only practical for taking a turn around the park, now
could ride a much more versatile machine and still keep their legs covered
with long skirts. The bicycle craze killed the bustle and the corset, instituted "common-sense
dressing" for women and increased their mobility considerably. In 1896 Susan
B. Anthony said that "the bicycle has done more for the emancipation of women
than anything else in the world."
Bicycling was so popular in the 1880s and 1890s that cyclists formed the
League of American Wheelman (still in existence and now called the League
of American Bicyclists). The League lobbied for better roads, literally paving
the road for the automobile.
The Kid's Bike
Introduced just after the First
World War by several manufacturers, such as Mead, Sears Roebuck,
and Montgomery Ward, to revitalize the bike industry (Schwinn
made its big splash slightly later), these designs, now called "classic",
featured automobile and motorcyle elements to appeal to kids
who, presumably, would rather have a motor. If ever a bike needed
a motor, this was it. These bikes evolved into the most glamorous,
fabulous, ostentatious, heavy designs ever. It is unbelievable
today that 14-year-old kids could do the tricks that we did on
these 65 pound machines! They were built into the middle '50s,
by which time they had taken on design elements of jet aircraft
and even rockets. By the '60s, they were becoming leaner and
Pedaling History has on display
even the recent history of the bicycle in America that we are
more familiar with: the "English 3-speed" of the '50s through
the '70s, the 10-speed derailleur bikes which were popular in
the '70s (the derailleur had been invented before the turn of
the century and had been in more-or-less common use in Europe
since), and of course the mountain bike of right now. There are
also many oddball designs that never quite made it.
1. Draycote Reservoir
I've cycled round draycote reservoir in the past and enjoyed the cycle way and it is all on safe roads around the ressy.