It's All About the Bike
It's All About the Bike

It's All About the Bike


Robert Penn

Full Title

It's All About the Bike

Last Highlighted
November 28, 2022 10:56 PM (CDT)
Last Synced
June 8, 2023 1:11 PM (CDT)

Location 82:

There was a democracy to the bicycle that society was powerless to resist.

Location 114:

The bicycle is one of mankind’s greatest inventions — it’s up there with the printing press, the electric motor, the telephone, penicillin and the World Wide Web.

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‘Ever bike?’ Jack London wrote. ‘Now that’s something that makes life worth living!

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The American bike mechanic, Lennard Zinn wrote: ‘Be at one with the universe. If you can’t do that, at least be at one with your bike.’ After three years and 25,000 miles,

Location 565:

Seat tube angle: measured in degrees relative to the horizontal plane (ST∠° in the diagram), they can vary from 65° to 80°. Steeper angles (75°—80°) push the rider’s weight forward on to the handlebars and are less comfortable over long distances,

Location 571:

Head tube angle: again, measured in degrees relative to the horizontal plane (HT∠° in the diagram), it has a marked effect on steering characteristics and shock absorption and can vary from 71° to 75°. Steeper angles mean a bike handles more quickly — turn your head and the bike turns too (such bikes are often described as ‘twitchy’ or ‘Italian style’ and are favoured by pro racers for criteriums — short road races round city centres, with many tight corners and a densely packed peloton).

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Denis Johnson, an enterprising London coach-maker who custom-made Draisines, opened the first riding school in Soho, in 1819.

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The next great evolutionary leap for the bicycle happened in Paris during the 1860s: rotary cranks and pedals were attached to the front wheel of the Draisine and the ‘velocipede’ was born. In 1868—70 it sparked a fashionable craze — ‘velocipede mania’ — on both sides of the Atlantic. The addition of pedals meant the rider’s feet were off the ground all the time.

Location 674:

The first Parisian velocipede manufacturer, Michaux et Compagnie, opened an indoor training school in 1868, beside their new factory.

Location 675:

Free lessons were given to people who bought velocipedes; the rest hired instructors by the hour. After half a dozen lessons, riders were sent out to brave the streets. When

Location 683:

In April 1869, the Pearsall brothers opened their ‘Grand Velocipede Academy or Gymnaclidium’ on Broadway, New York.

Location 685:

The famous acrobatic brothers, the Hanlons, also opened a school. Some ‘velocinasiums’ advertised women-only classes, and hired female instructors. Books of riding instructions were published. Entrepreneurs quickly spread the craze for riding ‘academies’ or ‘rinks’ across the country: by late spring, Boston had twenty schools,

Location 697:

Again, a plethora of riding schools sprang up, usually associated with a bicycle manufacturer. When Columbia Bicycles relocated its headquarters in Connecticut, the à la mode offices featured, on the fifth floor, ‘the most complete riding school in existence’.

Location 699:

In 1884, at the age of 48, Mark Twain said, ‘I confessed to age by mounting spectacles for the first time, and in the same hour, I renewed my youth, to outward appearance, by mounting a bicycle for the first time.

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Twain’s essay, Taming the Bicycle, on learning to ride a high-wheeler with a hired instructor or ‘Expert’,

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I’ve often wondered if it is this — the eternal serpentine course of the bicycle, the ‘dignified curvature of path’ as H. G. Wells called it — that lies at the root of my love for the machine.

Location 888:

‘We don’t do planned obsolescence. We don’t have model years. We don’t change products annually. In fact, the I-inch threaded headset we still sell today is exactly the same as the model Chris King first started making and selling to his friends in 1976.’

Location 934:

Our goal is 25 per cent of all trips in the city to be taken by bike.