Facts About Bicycles

You have probably zoomed around on a bicycle. These vehicles are a fun and easy way to get from one place to another.

Plus, it’s great exercise. Read on to discover all about the bicycle. We will be exploring the history of the “bike”, what it is used for, and much more.

So let’s pop-a-wheelie and discover the world of the bicycle.


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The History of the Bicycle

Did you know bicycles have been around for about 200 years? But these “people-powered” vehicles didn’t always look the way they do today. Let’s check out the history of the bicycle with its most significant dates and changes.

1817 – Barn Karl von Drais from Germany invented a “Running Machine.” It had a bicycle-like frame and two wheels. However, instead of peddling this contraption, the person would do a glide-walk.

1860’s – the “Boneshaker” was invented. It had an iron frame and wooden wheels. It also had pedals and cranks on the front wheel. It got its name from the shaky ride it provided.

1870’s – this was the first model to be an official “bicycle.” It had a big wheel on the front. This allowed the rider to go further with one pedal-push. In addition, it had rubber tires, which made it more comfortable to ride.

1885 – John Kemp Starley took the bicycle design and made it better. He added a chain to make pedaling easier and both tires were the same size.

1888 – inventor, John Boyd Dunlop took the hard rubber wheels and filled them with air. This made the ride less bumpy and easier to maneuver.

1920’s – bicycle makers began to develop smaller versions for children to ride.

1940’s – the kickstand was added to the bike frame.

1960’s – the racing bicycle was introduced. It had lower handlebars, a lighter frame, narrow tires, and different speeds.

1980’s – the more rugged mountain bike became popular. These had knubby tires, a durable frame, and flat handlebars.

Today – bicycles come in a variety of styles. Big or small, bikes are here for all.

Ponder This: People in China depend on bicycles a lot. How many bikes are used in China today? Find out if you are right in More Freaky Facts.

What Are Bicycles Used For?

You might be surprised at all the things a bicycle is used for. Check out the following list to see which ones you knew.

Commuting – from home to school or work.
Workers – messengers, police officers, postal carriers
Mountain Biking – over rough terrain.
Entertainment – BMX racing and stunts.
Competitions – Tour de France and other bicycle races.
Military – scouting, patrol and supplies.
Exercise – where fun and fitness combine.

Ponder This: A “tandem” bicycle usually is built for two or more people to ride on at once. How many people does the biggest tandem bicycle carry?



It’s All About Bike Safety

  • Before you hop on your bicycle there are some things you need to keep in mind. Follow these tips for safe cycling.
  • Always wear your bicycle helmet. Even if it’s for a short spin. Your helmet keeps your head protected in case you fall.
  • Your bicycle should “fit” you. Like a good pair of shoes, your bicycle has to be the right size. You should be able to touch the ground with
  • your feet when on your seat. Plus, there should be some space between your body and the bar when you’re standing up.
  • Always wear brightly-colored clothing when out riding. This helps the cars see you.
  • Make sure you bicycle has good reflectors on it. This also helps people see you when they are driving along.
  • Give your bicycle a regular tune-up. This includes oiling the chain and putting air in the tires.
  • Be sure to only cycle in safe places.
  • Follow the rules-of-the-road.
  • Know your hand signals for being on a bicycle.

Ponder This: What is one of the most important things you should NEVER do on a bicycle?


More Freaky Factoids

We haven’t cycled past all the fun just yet. Here are the answers to your ponder these questions and more freaky facts. Check it out.

Did you know…

  • in China there are half a billion bikes in use?
  • the longest tandem bicycle seated 35 people and was 20 meters long (65 feet)?
  • you should never give you friend a ride on the handlebars of your bicycle? It makes it harder to pedal and to see where you’re going.
  • there are over 1 billion bicycles in the world?

Now that you have learned all these fascinating facts, you can impress your friends and family with your new-found knowledge.

Who knows?

You might just become known as “the human en-bike-lopedia.”


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