End to End
End to End
If a present is contemplated for the lady in your life there is every chance that the sales assistants, at 'Halfords' will be most attentive!
The story does not commence here, however.
Any story has origins in history and this is true of the bicycle, without which it is impossible, obviously, even to contemplate an ' end to end ' journey.
Probably the hobbyhorse was the first, human propelled contraption; it was a kind of scooter propelled by the rider walking over the ground, coming into its own when travelling down hill. This is a key detail in cycling; walking is the last resort ascending a hill, but down hill travel beats any kind of progress on foot.
In 1818 the early machines became popular following development by Baron von Drias; often they were known as 'Draisiennes, named after him.
Indeed these machines were the true push-bikes and the design was ripe for development. However, it is surprising that their popularity lasted for a couple of decades. Not until, circa 1839, did Kirkpatrick Macmillan develop the hobbyhorse by incorporating pedal-levers turning the rear wheel. The riders' legs moving in the same direction as the propulsion of the hobbyhorse, but not in contact with the ground. On this normal type of machine Macmillan spent two days of his life riding from Courthill to Glasgow during the summer of 1842. However, this innovation was never commercially expanded,
Macmillan's machine was the first device to have a gear, in that there was a definite relationship between the number of steps, taken by the rider, and the distance travelled; the controlling detail was the rear wheel therefore, the wheel was made larger than the front wheel whereas, the hobbyhorse had wheels of equal size. 1861 opened the third phase of these early beginnings: rear wheel drive was discarded and the 'boneshaker' saw the light-of-day.
Pierre and Ernest Michaux fitting cranks and pedals to the front wheel of a hobbyhorse thereby producing the first 'velocipede'. It developed in to the boneshaker over the next, few years not only being manufactures in France but, also, in England and America. This design was the basis for the bicycle of the future.
Improvements following quickly; lighter wheels, the fitting of tyres (strips of rubber affixed with cement or nails), and hollow, metal tubing began to be used for frame building: as velocipedes became lighter and easier to propel, so riders could cope with higher gears.
Achieving this idea, the front wheel became bigger and bigger....thus evolved what is now affectionately known as the 'penny-farthing' or the ordinary bicycle. This style of machine remaining in vogue until the advent of the 'safety' bicycle. In 1885 the 'Rover Safety' cycle proved to be a significant break-through. The design reverting to rear wheel drive and the fitting of a chain, chain-wheel and rear sprocket so that gearing was not any longer dependent on the size of the front wheel, the wheels almost equal in size, the rider sitting nearer to the ground than on the old, 'high' bicycle. The reduction in the centre of gravity offering more safety, an easier ride and appealing to a greater number of people who, previously, may have been deterred from trying their luck on the high saddle.
Safeties' growing rapidly in popularity and more significant developments following soon afterwards. A freewheel device, invented in the days of the penny-farthing, came in to use. In 1888 John Dunlop introducing the pneumatic tyre. In 1901 another aid to easier cycling appeared when Sturmey-Archer invented the three-speeds hub; since when, a multiplicity of gearing following.
The twentieth century witnessed many more modifications and improvements resulting i