One thing is missing from the picture chronicle of the paleocycle: a photo album of paleocyclists. Not a massive album, indeed. From before the spreading of the “safety bicycle” in the 1890s and of the “bicycle craze” it has brought with itself, there are not many bike photos. Not only the bicycle, but also the camera was a new invention and a rare good. Moreover, until the end of the century the moving of any of the two wanted a full man, so the gentleman sensitive of novelties had to choose: either pedaling, or dragging the heavy camera.

Fortunately the gentlemen at that time still allowed themselves the luxury of coming regularly together, and if opportunity presented itself, one by pastime took a photo of the other’s pastime. But even so we managed to collect only about forty photos on paleocyclists from Michaux’s boneshakers through the tricycles and quadracycles to the penny-farthings, and this number already includes the dwarf version of the tricycle which has stalled in the phylogeny, the children’s tricycle. If you know about any more photos of velocipedists, send them for our collection.

Velocipede factory in the USA

Requiescat in pace

3 comentarios:

Dominique dijo...

j'adore la bicyclette, je suis impressionnée par la richesse d'informations et de photographies que vous rassemblez et que vous partagez ! merci et bonne journée à vous !

Studiolum dijo...

Merci, Dominique. Quelques autres articles sur les bicyclettes suivran, donc revenez bientôt!

walter dijo...

Does a bicycle need a rider to be stable? A curious paper entitled "A bicycle can be self-stable without gyroscopic or caster effects" recently appeared in the journal Science. The abtract states "A riderless bicycle can automatically steer itself so as to recover from falls. The common view is that this self-steering is caused by gyroscopic precession of the front wheel, or by the wheel contact trailing like a caster behind the steer axis. We show that neither effect is necessary for self-stability. Using linearized stability calculations as a guide, we built a bicycle with extra counter-rotating wheels (canceling the wheel spin angular momentum) and with its front-wheel ground-contact forward of the steer axis (making the trailing distance negative). When laterally disturbed from rolling straight this bicycle automatically recovers to upright travel. Our results show that various design variables, like the front mass location and the steer axis tilt, contribute to stability in complex interacting ways". The full paper is behind a paywall, but a pre-print may be found here. Some of the bicycles in the post look like they would benefit from "linearized stability calculations".