Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Bicycles from the Mid-1800's Through the 20th Century

With the bicycle already riding down the path to greatness, many different additions and modifications were made to von Drais's original design throughout the rest of the 19th century. Speed-control systems, pneumatic (air-filled) tires, and wheel size modifications were all made to increase the riding experience and safety. The high-wheel bike (aka "the Penny Farthing"), made in the late 1800's, was an attempt at increasing the amount of power one could get from pedaling.

The high-wheeler was one of the first all metal bikes, except for the rubber tires. Manufacturers in America and Europe began using metal alloys to create the frames for bikes in the early 1900's. This greatly raised the top biking speeds, which futher increased biking's popularity, which had been growing exponentially for over a century. The invention of the gear system greatly increased a bike's power and allowed for the addition of multiple speeds that the driver could adjust to adapt to his or her terrain. As bicycles moved into the late 20th century, mountain biking's popularity increased.
Mountain biking involves using a bike with wide tires for increased traction and with heavy metal frames for more stability. Using a mountain bike allows travel on different terrain, such as grass, rock, and dirt.

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