The history of bicycles
Expertssay that the first plans for a bicycle came from Leonardo da Vinci, who wrote plans for a modern bicycle hundreds of years ago. But inventors did not create the first working bicycle until the early 1800’s.
The first bicycle had wheels, but it did not have pedals to move the wheels. The rider pushed the bicycle forward by pushing his feet against the ground. People called these bicycles ‘pushbikes’.
In the 1850’s and 60’s French inventors changed the design of the bicycle. They made the front wheel larger. And they put pedals on it. Riders used their feet on the pedals to push the bicycle forward. They made this bicycle with a heavy steel frame. And they made the wheels out of wood and iron. People called this bicycle the ‘boneshaker’. On the stone streets of that time, the bicycle shook the rider very hard. It was a painful ride!
Over the next ten years, inventors changed the design of the bicycle even more. They made the front wheel even larger. This increased its speed. They also added rubber tires on the wheels. People called this bicycle ‘the ordinary’. But these kinds of bicycles were difficult to ride. They were difficult to push forward. And it was difficult to change directions while riding.
In 1885, JK Starley invented the first modern bicycle. It looked very similar to the bicycles people ride today. Starley put similar sized wheels on the front and back of the bicycle. He also added a thin metal chain that worked between the pedals and the wheels. The chain let bicycle riders use the back wheel to change directions. He also added a better seat.
Starley’s bicycle design was a large improvement from the old kind of bicycles. But it was still difficult to ride a Starley bicycle. It did not offer a very smooth ride. But in the 1890’s inventors made more improvements to the bicycle. They used better rubber for the wheels. They developed good brakes to stop the bicycle. It was not long before people all around the world used bicycles for sport and play.
People also started using bicycles as their main form of transport. Bicycles helped people get from place to place easier. Riding a bicycle is faster than walking. People also say that making bicycles helped scientists and inventors make better machines. In fact, famous inventors like Henry Ford and the Wright Brothers used bicycle technology to create cars and airplanes!
Bicycles also had large effects on societies around the world. For example, the bicycle changed life for women in many ways. Before bicycles were invented, in Western countries women usually wore long, close-fitting dresses. But when women started riding bicycles, they started wearing different clothes. They wore trousers like men usually wear. They also stopped wearing such close-fitting shirts or tops. Bicycles also made it possible for women to get around more. Some experts say that bicycles made women feel more independent. They made more women desire and demand freedom and respect.
Bicycles also changed the lives of people in cities. They helped reduce crowding in cities. People could live outside the city. Then they could ride bicycles into the city to work. Bicycles also made it easier for men and women to meet and marry. It expanded families because men and women could meet people who lived outside their small towns.
Many things have changed since the first bicycle. More people use cars, buses and trucks for transport now. But inventors have made great improvements to the bicycle. Today’s bicycles are easy to ride. They are much more comfortable. And they can go very fast. Bicycles continue to be a popular form of transportation in many parts of the world. In fact, in many places, bicycles are still the main form of transportation.
expert – szakértő
inventor – feltaláló
wheel – kerék
steel frame – acélváz
wood – fa
iron – vas
painful – fájdalmas
rubber tire – gumiabroncs
to change directions – irányt változtatni
chain – lánc
improvement – fejlődés
brake – fék
close-fitting – testhezálló
independent – független
to demand – elvárni, követelni
respect – tisztelet
to expand – kitágítani
Ha elolvastad a szöveget, biztosan nem lesz nehéz válaszolni az alábbi kérdésekre.
1. Mikor készült az első kerékpár és miben különbözött a mai kerékpároktól?
2. Miért volt „megrázó” élmény biciklizni a 19. század közepén?
3. Milyen újítások jellemezték az első modern kerékpárt?
4. Hogyan változtatta meg a kerékpár a nők öltözködését?
5. Milyen hatást gyakorolt a városi életre?
1. Az 1800-as évek elején. Nem volt pedálja, ezért lábbal kellett lökni.
2. Mert a biciklik kereke fából és vasból készült és a kövezett utcákon erősen rázkódtak.
3. Az első és a hátsó kerék hasonló méretű volt, a kereket lánc kötötte össze a pedállal, és az ülés is jobb minőségű lett.
4. A hosszú, testhezálló ruhák helyett nadrágot kezdtek el hordani.
5. Kisebb lett a zsúfoltság, az emberek kiköltözhettek a városból és onnan jártak be dolgozni. Könnyebben lehetett ismerkedni a városon kívül élő emberekkel is, tágabb lehetőségek nyíltak a párkapcsolatokra.