The history of the townie bicycle is as enchanting as any other history around. People needed transportation. As we developed finer and finer tools, we dreamed of new contraptions just as we do today.
The wheel made life easier for us. And thank heavens for physics–place two wheels, one in front of another, and the centrifugal force creates stability. Angular momentum is the scientific term which keeps us upright while moving on bikes. Bikes rock–please join us in molding our living history of bikes.
Life is like riding a bicycle — to keep your balance, you must keep moving. ~Albert Einstein
Bicycles may have had their start in the 1400’s. Supposedly, an artist conceptualized a two wheeled transportation machine–the bicycle. We are not positive about this but it seems viable right? Check this out from EnchantedLearning.com.
Da Vinci had an interest in engineering and made detailed sketches of the airplane, the helicopter (and other flying machines), the parachute, the submarine, the armored car, the ballista (a giant crossbow), rapid-fire guns, the centrifugal pump (designed to drain wet areas, like marshes), ball bearings [key for the bicycle wheel], the worm gear (a set of gears in which many teeth make contact at once, reducing the strain on the teeth, allowing more pressure to be put on the mechanism), and many other incredible ideas that were centuries ahead of da Vinci’s time.
Da Vinci was smart. If he sketched out the worm gear, a bicycle would be no problem. Except he did not have the machines to make the bicycle. Bikes would have to wait about 400 years.
There are some people citing that it was a student of Da Vinci instead of Da Vinci himself who drafted concept bikes. We don’t know for sure either. Let’s just say, someone created the concept of a bicycle in their mind, they drew it on paper, and people probably thought they were nuts. Who would ride bikes anyway?
From what we can gather, the first real bicycle was created in the 1800’s. It looked more like a scooter that one rode on than a bicycle. Nothing for pedal pushers to use. Big wheels, a seat, nothing to stop you once you began to roll. We decided that we would ride that townie bicycle if we ever saw one.
Ok, here is where you come in. We need your help. While we will travel the world to capture the history of the townie bicycle for this page, you may already have some with you. Photos, narratives, and more are needed from our readers to complete a full, living and breathing history of the bicycle. Please, we will cite your photos and give you credit of your bikes. Old photos, new photos, anecdotal stories all help describe bikes and the life they offer to people.
Let’s get on bikes and ride!