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Bicycles are one of the world's most popular modes of transportation, with some 800 million bicycles outnumbering cars by two to one. Bicycles are also the most energy-efficient vehiclea cyclist burns about 35 calories per mile (22 calories per km), while an automobile burns 1,860 calories per mile (1,156 calories per km). Bicycles are used not only for transportation, but for fitness, competition, and touring as well. They come in myriad shapes and styles, including racing bikes, all-terrain bikes, and stationary bicycles, as well as unicycles, tricycles, and tandems.


As far back as 1490, Leonardo da Vinci had envisioned a machine remarkably similar to the modern bicycle. Unfortunately, da Vinci did not attempt to build the vehicle, nor were his sketches discovered until the 1960s. In the late 1700s a Frenchman named Comte de Sivrac invented the Celerifere, a crude wooden hobby horse made of two wheels and joined by a beam. The rider would sit atop the beam and propel the contraption by pushing his or her feet against the ground.

In 1816 the German Baron Karl von Drais devised a steerable hobby horse, and within a few years, hobby-horse riding was a fashionable pastime in Europe. Riders also discovered that they could ride the device with their feet off the ground without losing their balance. And so, in 1840, a Scottish black-smith named Kirkpatrick Macmillan made a two-wheel device that was operated by a treadle. Two years later he traveled as many as 40 miles (64 km) at a stretch during a record 140-mile (225 km) round trip to Glasgow. A couple decades later, a Frenchman, Ernest Michaux, designed a hobby horse that utilized cranks and rotating pedals connected to the front axle. The Velocipede, made with wooden wheels and an iron frame and tires, won the nickname of the "boneshaker."

The 1860s proved to be an important decade for bicycle improvements with the inventions of ball-bearing hubs, metal-spoked wheels, solid rubber tires, and a lever-operated, four-speed gearshift. Around 1866 an unusual version of the Velocipede was created in England by James Stanley. It was called the Ordinary, or Penny Farthing, and it had a large front wheel and a small rear wheel. The Ordinaries were soon exported to the U.S. where a company began to manufacture them as well. These bicycles weighed a hefty 70 pounds (32 kg) and cost $300a substantial sum at the time.

By 1885, another Englishman, John Kemp Starley, created the Rover Safety, so called since it was safer than the Ordinary which tended to cartwheel the rider over the large front wheel at abrupt stops. The Safety had equally sized wheels made of solid rubber, a chain-driven rear wheel, and diamond-shaped frame. Other important developments in the 1800s included the use of John Boyd Dunlop's pneumatic tires, which had air-filled inner tubes that provided shock absorption. Coaster brakes were developed in 1898, and shortly thereafter freewheeling made biking easier by allowing the wheels to continue to spin without pedaling.

During the 1890s bicycles became very popular, and the basic elements of the modern bicycle were already in place. In the first half of the 20th century, stronger steel alloys allowed thinner frame tubing which made the bicycles lighter and faster. Derailleur gears were also developed, allowing smoother riding. After the Second World War, bicycle popularity slipped as automobiles flourished, but rebounded in the 1970s during the oil crisis. About that time, mountain bikes were invented by two Californians, Charlie Kelly and Gary Fisher, who combined the wide tires of the older balloontire bikes with the lightweight technology of racing bikes. Within 20 years, mountain bikes became more popular than racing bikes. Soon hybrids of the two styles combined the virtues of each.

The Raw Materials

The most important part of the bicycle is the diamond-shaped frame, which links the components together in the proper geometric configuration. The frame provides strength and rigidity to the bicycle and largely determines the handling of the bicycle. The frame consists of the front and rear triangles, the front really forming more of a quadrilateral of four tubes: the top, seat, down, and head tubes. The rear triangle consists of the chainstays, seatstays, and rear wheel dropouts. Attached to the head tube at the front of the frame are the fork and steering tube.

For much of the bicycle's history the frame was constructed of heavy, but strong, steel and alloy steel. Frame material was continually improved to increase strength, rigidity, lightness, and durability. The 1970s ushered in a new generation of more versatile alloy steels which could be welded mechanically, thereby increasing the availability of light and inexpensive frames. In the following decade lightweight aluminum frames became the popular choice. The strongest metals, however, are steel and titanium with life-expectancy spanning decades, while aluminum may fatigue within three to five years.

Advances in technology by the 1990s led to the use of even lighter and stronger frames made of composites of structural fibers such as carbon. Composite materials, unlike metals, are anisotropic; that is, they are strongest along the axis of the fibers. Thus, composites can be shaped into single-piece frames, providing strength where needed.

The components, such as wheels, derailleurs, brakes, and chains, are usually made of stainless steel. These components are generally made elsewhere and purchased by the bicycle manufacturer.

The Manufacturing

Seamless frame tubes are constructed from solid blocks of steel that are pierced and "drawn" into tubes through several stages. These are usually superior to seamed tubes, which are made by drawing flat steel strip stock, wrapping it into a tube, and welding it together along the length of the tube. Seamless tubes may then be further manipulated to increase their strength and decrease their weight by butting, or altering the thickness of the tube walls. Butting involves increasing the thickness of the walls at the joints, or ends of the tube, where the most stress is delivered, and thinning the walls at the center of the tube, where there is relatively little stress. Butted tubing also improves the resiliency of the frame. Butted tubes may be single-butted, with one end thicker; double-butted, with both ends thicker than the center; triple-butted, with different thicknesses at either end; and quad-butted, similar to a triple, but with the center thinning towards the middle. Constant thickness tubes, however, are also appropriate for certain bikes.

The tubes are assembled into a frame by hand-brazing or welding by machine, the former being a more labor-intensive process and therefore more expensive. Composites may be joined with strong glue or plastic binders. The components are generally manufactured by machine and may be attached to the frame by hand or machine. Final adjustments are made by skilled bicycle builders.

Assembling the Frame

Tailoring the tubes

  • 1 The metal is annealed, or softened by heating, and hollowed out to form "hollows," or "blooms." These are heated again, pickled in acid to remove scale, and lubricated.
  • 2 The hollows are measured, cut, and precision mitered to the appropriate dimensions. Frame sizes for adult bicycles generally run from 19-25 inches (48-63 cm) from the top of the seat post tube to the middle of the crank hanger.
  • 3 Next, the hollows are fitted over a mandrel, or rod, attached to a draw bench. To achieve the right gauge, the hollows pass through dies which stretch them into thinner and longer tubes, a process called cold drawing.
  • 4 The tubes may be shaped and tapered into a variety of designs and lengths. The taper-gauge fork blades may have to pass through more than a dozen operations to achieve the correct strength, weight, and resilience.

Brazing, welding, and gluing

  • 5 Tubes can be joined into a frame either by hand or machine. Frames may be brazed, welded, or glued, with or without lugs, which are the metal sleeves joining two or more tubes at a joint. Brazing is essentially welding at a temperature of about 1600°F (871°C) or lower. Gas burners are arranged evenly around the lugs which are heated, forming a white flux that melts and cleans the surface, preparing it for brazing. The brazing filler is generally brass (copper-zinc alloy) or silver, which melt at lower temperatures than the tubes being joined. The filler is applied and as it melts, it flows around the joint, sealing it.

Aligning and cleaning

  • 6 The assembled frames are placed into jigs and checked for proper alignment. Adjustments are made while the frame is still hot and malleable.
  • 7 The excess flux and brazing metals are cleaned off by pickling in acid solutions and by washing and grinding the brazing until it is smooth.
  • 8 After the metals have cooled, further precision alignments are made.


  • 9 The frames are painted, not only to create a more finished appearance, but also to protect the frame. The frame is first primed with an undercoat and then painted with a colored enamel. Paint may be applied by hand-spraying or by passing the frames through automatic electrostatic spraying rooms. The negatively charged frames attract the positively charged paint spray as the frames rotate for full coverage. Finally, transfers and lacquer are applied to the frame. Chrome plating may also be used instead of paint on components such as the fork blades.

Assembling the

Derailleurs and gear shift levers

  • 10 Depending on the style of bicycle, the gear shift levers are mounted either on the down tubepopular on racing bikeson the stem, or on the handlebar ends. A cable is attached, which extends to the front and rear derailleurs. Front derailleurs, which move the chain from one drive sprocket to another, may be clamped or brazed onto the seat tube. Rear derailleurs may be mounted with bolt-on hangers or integral hangers.

Handlebars, stems, and headsets

  • 11 Handlebars may be raised, flat, or I dropped. They are bolted to the bicycle stem which is then fitted into the head tube. The headset components, including bearings, cups, and locknuts, are attached to the head tube. The headset allows the fork to turn inside the head tube and thus makes steering easier.


  • 12 The brake levers are mounted to the handlebars. Cables extend to the brakes and are fastened to the calipers. Tape, made of plastic or cloth, can then be attached to the handlebars and the ends are plugged.

Saddles and seat posts

  • 13 Seat posts are generally steel or aluminum alloy and are bolted or clamped into position. The saddle is generally made of molded padding and covered with nylon or plastic materials. Although leather was the norm for saddles for a long time, it is less commonly used today.


  • 14 The crankset supports the pedals and transfers power from the pedals to the chain and rear wheel. Cranksets consist of steel or aluminum alloy crank arms, chain rings, and the bottom bracket assembly of axle, cups, and bearings. They are attached with bolts and caps into the bottom bracket of the bicycle frame. The pedals are then screwed to the ends of the crank arms.

Wheels, tires, and hubs

  • 15 Wheel manufacturers conform to the A J International Standards Organization (ISO) system for wheel diameter and tire sizes. Wheels may be constructed by machines, which roll steel strips into hoops that are welded into rims. The rims are drilled to accept spokes, which are laced one round at a time between the rim and hub flange.
  • 16 A wheel must be trued, or straightened, in radial and lateral directions to achieve uniform tension. Next, the rim liner, tire, and inner tube are attached. The chain may also be fitted onto the bicycle.
  • 17 Rear wheels are fitted with a free-/ wheel, consisting of several cogs and spacers, which frees the rear wheel from the crank mechanism when the rider stops pedaling.
  • 18 Wheels are attached to the bicycle frame by means of an axle which runs through the hub of the wheel. The axle may be tightened with bolts at the ends or with quick-release skewers.

The Future

The future for bicycles looks promising as we approach the 20th century. Developments in bicycle technology in the 1990s have led to advances in human-powered vehicles (HPVs) design. Most HPVs are low-slung recumbents, which are more aerodynamic than conventional bicycles and therefore reduce drag and increase speed. Recumbents are also safer, and many provide cargo room and weather protection. A hybrid of the bicycle and automobile called the Ecocar began to surface on European streets by the 1990s. Designed by a Dutch surgeon, Wim Van Wijnen, it provided weather protection, safety, luggage room, easy maintenance, comfort, and speed.

The use of computer technology greatly enhanced the design capabilities of manufacturers and designers. Designers are able to simulate various forces working on the bicycle, such as pedaling and road shock. Computer-generated programs make testing simpler, and variations of designs are modified more easily and quickly.

Where To Learn More


Ballantine, Richard and Richard Grant. Richards' Ultimate Bicycle Book. Dorling Kindersley, 1992.

The Bicycle Builder's Bible. TAB Books Inc., 1980.

Bicycle Magazine's Complete Guide to Bicycle Maintenance and Repair, revised ed. Rodale Press, 1990.

Watson, Roderick and Martin Gray. The Penguin Book of the Bicycle, Allen Lane Pub., 1978.


Brown, Stuart F. "The Anybody Bike." Popular Science, August 1991, pp. 58-59, 89.

Schwartz, David M. "Over Hill, Over Dale, On a Bicycle Built forGoo." Smithsonian, June 1994, pp. 74-86.

Soviero, Marcelle M. "Easy Riders." Popular Science, May 1993, pp. 84-87.

Audra Avizienis

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Cycling Crazes. In the late nineteenth century, especially in the 1890s, middle-class Americans embraced the bicycle as an instrument of transportation, recreation, and sport. After the Civil War the boneshaker, a clumsy and uncomfortable machine upon which the rider sat and propelled himself by walking, was introduced to the nation. Since it interfered with pedestrian traffic, the boneshaker was soon banned from most city streets and parks. The second cycling craze followed the introduction of the ordinary, a British cycle, at the 1876 Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia. The ordinary was an odd-looking contraption with a huge front wheel, with a diameter measuring up to sixty inches, and small rear wheel. The ordinary was uncomfortable, dangerous to ride, and expensive to own, costing up to $100. Riders of the ordinary were usually daring middle-class and upper-middle-class young men who had mastered the difficult techniques of mounting, riding, and braking the vehicle.

Organization of Cycling Clubs. The ordinary promoted the development of the nations first cycling clubs, the most prominent of which were the Boston Bicycle Club, organized in 1878, and the Chicago Cycling Club, organized in 1879. The Boston club, the first in the United States, grew from ten to one hundred members in four years. These clubs aimed to enhance the pleasurable and competitive aspects of bicycling by holding club meets, tours, and races. The clubs also acted as a pressure group to promote the sport and the rights of cyclists to share public roadways. In 1880 the League of American Wheelmen was formed, with local branches scattered throughout the nation. More so than the Boston or Chicago clubs, the League of American Wheelmen promoted competitive races and fought for improved roads and equal access with horses on public thoroughfares. Its Bulletin, one of eighty-five cycling journals in America, had a readership of nearly one hundred thousand by the turn of the century. In 1883 the League of American Wheelmen achieved an important victory when New York City opened Central Park and Riverside Drive for part of the day to cyclists. Within the next few years few city streets and parkways were off-limits to wheelmen.

The Standard Revolution. A new bicycle, the standard, was responsible for the bicycle craze of the 1890s. The standard had equally sized pneumatic tires in front and back, a chain rear drive, a diamond-shaped frame, and more efficient coaster brakes. In addition, the standard was more affordable, with a cheap model costing about $50 and a better one close to $100. Purchasing a bicycle, even one of the expensive models, was easier with installment purchasing plans. Sales of secondhand bicycles made the vehicle available to the working classes, but even these purchasing options were out of reach for the unskilled laborer. Bicycling sometimes worsened class resentments, as the residents of poor neighborhoods resented middle-class folk using their streets as riding paths, interfering with street life, and endangering children at play and pedestrians. Angry city residents were known to pelt cyclists with rocks, glass, garbage, eggs, and vegetables, and blocked their paths with pushcarts. In 1896 anarchists and socialists led community opposition to the paving of streets in certain neighborhoods of New York because it would make the community open to speeding cyclists.

Height of the Cycling Craze. By 1895 there were five hundred cycling clubs in America. Each had its own distinctive uniform worn by members on their outings, which could go as far as one hundred miles at a time. Riders represented an important subcommunity of sportsmen, as they constituted significant voting blocs who would support politicians that advocated road and highway improvement and equal access to streets and parks for cyclists. In 1897, when Carter H. Harrison II ran for the first of his five terms as mayor of Chicago, he became an active cyclist and participated in one-hundred-mile tours in order to gain the support of the cycling fraternity. Cycling clubs also sponsored races, and cycling gained popularity as a spectator sport in the 1890s. One of the most popular races was the fifteen-mile race from Chicago to Pullman held each Memorial Day that attracted two hundred to four hundred contestants. Popular from the 1870s to the 1920s were indoor professional track races. The most outstanding racing cyclist of the era was Marshall Major Taylor, an African American, who captured the national sprint championships in 1898, 1899, and 1900 and broke many national and world records before retiring in 1910. In 1897 white racers tried to bar him from the tracks, but race promoters and bicycling manufacturers supported Taylors entry into the events. The success of the cycling craze was due to the masses, as there numbered more than one million cyclists in 1893, a figure that more than quadrupled by 1896.

Bicycling and Health Reform. Bicycling received strong support from physicians and other health promoters as exercise for sedentary urban workers and women. Influenced by the cult of masculinity and the notion of the strenuous life, middle-class urbanits embraced the healthful benefits of cycling. Riding a bicycle provided exercise and fresh air and could be enjoyed alone or with friends. Bicycling was one of the few sports socially sanctioned for participation by women, who had traditionally viewed sports as physically taxing and unfeminine. Bicycling, moreover, promoted fashion changes in womens garments, as women cyclists opted for less restrictive clothes, reflecting the broader social freedom and independence provided them by the machine. Although most physicians encouraged people to use the bicycle for exercise, others were more cautious, warning that overexertion on the bicycle could lead to heart strain and breathlessness. These physicians also cautioned women of childbearing age from excessive cycling, believing that the seat might injure the reproductive organs.

Decline. By the turn of the century there were ten million bicycles in the United States, but the bicycle fad had passed. The market was saturated, and innovative manufacturers were turning to a more sophisticated vehicle, the automobile. While in other parts of the world the bicycle was still regarded as a means of transportation, Americans began to see it as a childs toy. The automobile replaced the bicycle in the hearts of Americans because it was more exciting and ownership conferred greater prestige. Also, the automobile rendered roadways less safe for cyclists. At its height, however, the bicycle epitomized the progress of civilization, symbolizing the victory of technology over the environment.


Norman L. Dunham, The Bicycle Era in American History, dissertation, Harvard University, 1956;

Richard Harmond, Progress and Flight: An Interpretation of the American Cycle Craze of the 1890s, Journal of Social History, 5 (Winter 1971): 238-250;

Robert A. Smith, A Social History of the Bicycle: Its Early Life and Times in America (New York: American Heritage Publishing, 1972).

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BICYCLING. Primitive, bicycle-like machines appeared in early nineteenth-century Europe. Draisines, celefires, celeripedes, and velocipedes preceded the development in England of bicycles, known as penny farthings or ordinaries, with large front wheels attached to small rear wheels by backbones. Colonel Albert A. Pope saw them exhibited at the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia in 1876. Intrigued, he imported English bicycles before creating in 1878 the Pope Manufacturing Company. In the mid-1880s the introduction of the "safety" bicycle, with smaller, similar-sized wheels connected by a diamond

frame and with pneumatic tires, expanded the popularity of bicycling to women and older men. By the mid-1890s, 2.5 million American men, women, and children rode. Four hundred American manufacturers produced some 2 million bicycles in 1897. Major cities had riding schools, and newspapers devoted weekly columns to bicycling news, which covered both the sporting and the touring aspects of this new phenomenon. Numerous manuals appeared with information on choosing a bicycle, learning to ride, maintenance, and tips for tourists.

Thomas Stevens became the first person to ride across North America when he rode and walked his high wheeler from San Francisco to Boston in 1884. Sponsored by one of America's leading sporting magazines, Outing, he became the first person to ride around the world, completing his circuit in San Francisco in January 1887. He inspired several other Americans, one of whom was murdered in the Middle East, to follow in his wheel tracks. Magazines and newspapers sponsored others who rode around the perimeter of the United States, through each state and its capital, and around the world. While the majority who rode were men, the bicycle had a significant impact on women as well.

The bicycle provided individual freedom and mobility, giving young men and women a newfound opportunity to be alone. They could now court individuals from other towns and villages without having a chaperone along. Because women's dresses went down to their feet with petticoats and yards of material, it was difficult for them to ride. The bicycle encouraged women to change to a skirt to the knees with modified bloomers covering the rest of their legs. By encouraging the rational dress movement, the bicycle allowed women greater mobility and freedom to engage in other activities. Despite early articles that claimed bicycling was unhealthy and immoral for women, physicians soon supported this form of exercise.

Bicycles worked best on good roads, but few roads were paved. Consequently the League of American Wheel-men, founded in 1880, began a "good roads movement" that continued with the automobile. As more people traveled further and further, road signs appeared, as did inns and other establishments for the aid of the bicycle traveler.

In addition, bicycle racing became popular in the United States, and people collected trading cards of the some six hundred professional racers. In 1899 one of them, Charles M. Murphy, became the first to ride a bicycle one mile in less than one minute. Another standout was Major Taylor, one of the most successful bicycle racers and an African American. Velodromes saw all kinds of races, from sprints to the grueling six-day races that drew sell-out crowds, but by the 1930s bicycle racing in the United States was coming to an end.

With the development of the automobile, the bicycle's place in the United States was relegated to that of a child's toy. While adults continued to ride bicycles, most gave them up when they became old enough to drive. The 1960s, however, saw a resurgence of interest in bicycles, with increasing numbers of baby boomers riding. Bicycle clubs began sponsoring tours for their members and the general public, and the League of American Wheelmen (now the League of American Bicyclists), which had been languishing for decades, experienced rising membership. Bicycling, which began as a mimeographed newsletter, quickly expanded into a widely read magazine. In the 1970s another bicycle organization, Bikecentennial (now Adventure Cycling), developed cross-country routes for bicyclists. The U.S. Cycling Federation continued to certify races, mostly at the local level. Only a few, the Tour Dupont, Boston-Montreal-Boston (based on Paris-Brest-Paris), and the Race across America (RAAM), achieved any sort of national attention.

Mountain bicycles developed in the 1980s and quickly became the most popular style, forcing bicycle manufacturers to scale back dramatically their production of road bicycles. Furthering interest in bicycling, Greg LeMond became the first American to win the Tour de France in 1986. He won again in 1989 and 1990, becoming one of only a handful of riders to win the tour three times. In 1999 Lance Armstrong became the first to win the Tour de France as a member of an American team. He won again in 2000, 2001, and 2002.


Harmond, Richard. "Progress and Flight: An Interpretation of the American Bicycle Craze of the 1890's." Journal of Social History 5 (winter 1971–1972): 235–257.

Nye, Peter. Hearts of Lions. New York: Norton, 1988.

Ritchie, Andrew. King of the Road: An Illustrated History of Cycling. London: Wildwood House, 1975.

Smith, Robert A. A Social History of the Bicycle, Its Early Life and Times in America. New York: American Heritage Press, 1972.

Stevens, Thomas. Around the World on a Bicycle. Volume 2: From Teheran to Yokohama. New York: Scribner, 1988.

Tobin, Gary Allan. "The Bicycle Boom of the 1890's: The Development of Private Transportation and the Birth of the Modern Tourist." Journal of Popular Culture 7, no. 4 (spring 1974): 838–847.

Duncan R.Jamieson

See alsoRecreation ; Roads ; Sports .

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bicycle, light, two-wheeled vehicle driven by pedals. The name velocipede is often given to early forms of the bicycle and to its predecessor, the dandy horse, a two-wheeled vehicle moved by the thrust of the rider's feet upon the ground. Probably the first practical dandy horse was the draisine, originated c.1816 by Baron Karl Drais von Sauerbronn, chief forester of the duchy of Baden, to facilitate his inspection tours. Introduced into England in 1818, it was slowly improved, and c.1839 Kirkpatrick MacMillan, a Scottish blacksmith, developed a machine propelled by foot treadles and incorporating cranks, driving rods, and handlebars. The French inventor Ernest Michaux introduced in 1855 a heavy crank-driven bicycle. This was perfected c.1865 by Pierre Lallement, whose velocipede, known as a "boneshaker," ran on ironclad wooden rims, the front wheel larger than the rear. Major improvements followed rapidly, including a light, hollow steel frame, ball bearings, tangential metal spokes, and solid rubber tires.

By the 1880s the front wheel had attained a diameter up to 64 in. (163 cm). Although the larger the wheel, the greater the potential speed, size was limited by the length of the rider's legs, and speed by their strength. The safer tricycle, a three-wheeled vehicle similar to the bicycle, also enjoyed a vogue in the 1880s, especially among women and short men. The safety bicycle, with wheels of approximately equal diameter and a sprocket-chain drive connecting the pedals with the rear wheels, was first manufactured at Coventry, England, c.1885 by the English machinist James Starley; following the invention of the pneumatic tire in 1888 by the Scot John Dunlop, the safety bicycle superseded the high-wheeled form. Subsequent modifications include the freewheel (a rear wheel that turns freely when the pedals are stopped), the coaster brake, the hand brake, variable drive gear, and adjustable handlebars.

In the 1880s cycling became a fad of major proportions in the United States and Europe. Bicycle clubs were formed; both sexes participated in rides into the country, often on tandem bicycles. The League of American Wheelmen, organized in 1880, was a leader in the agitation for good roads. Although cycling declined in the United States with the introduction of automobiles, it has recently grown in popularity, notably since the introduction in the 1970s of wide-tired, off-road "mountain bikes." In many parts of the world the bicycle remains a more important means of transportation than the automobile. See also bicycle racing; motorcycle.

See D. V. Herlihy, Bicycle (2004); M. Glaskin, Cycling Science (2012); T. Hadland and H.-E. Lessing, Bicycle Design: An Illustrated History (2014).

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bicycle Two-wheeled vehicle propelled by a rider. The earliest design (a hobbyhorse-type bicycle) dates from c.1790. In 1816 German engineer Karl Drais von Sauerbronn invented a steerable bicycle. Scottish blacksmith Kirkpatrick Macmillan is usually credited with the invention of the first pedal-operated bicycle in 1839. In c.1861, French engineers Pierre and Ernest Michaux demonstrated their ‘boneshaker’ velocipede, with pedals attached to the front wheel. In 1871 James Starley produced his ‘penny-farthing’ bicycle. In 1873 J. H. Lawson invented the chain drive, which John Starley incorporated into his modern safety bicycle with tangential-spoked wheels in 1885. See also cycling

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bi·cy·cle / ˈbīsikəl/ • n. a vehicle composed of two wheels held in a frame one behind the other, propelled by pedals and steered with handlebars attached to the front wheel. • v. [intr.] ride a bicycle in a particular direction: they had spent the day bicycling around the island. DERIVATIVES: bi·cy·clist / -siklist/ n.

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bicycle XIX. — F. f. BI- + Gr. kúklos CYCLE.

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"bicycle." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. . (December 14, 2017).

"bicycle." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. . Retrieved December 14, 2017 from


bicyclecackle, crackle, grackle, hackle, jackal, mackle, shackle, tackle •ankle, rankle •Gaskell, mascle, paschal •tabernacle • ramshackle •débâcle, diarchal, matriarchal, monarchal, patriarchal, sparkle •rascal •deckle, freckle, heckle, Jekyll, shekel, speckle •faecal (US fecal), treacle •chicle, fickle, mickle, nickel, pickle, prickle, sickle, strickle, tickle, trickle •besprinkle, crinkle, sprinkle, tinkle, twinkle, winkle, wrinkle •fiscal •laical, Pharisaical •vehicle • stoical • cubicle • radical •medical, paramedical •Druidical, juridical, veridical •syndical •methodical, periodical, rhapsodical, synodical •Talmudical • graphical • pontifical •magical, tragical •strategical •alogical, illogical, logical •dramaturgical, liturgical, metallurgical, surgical •anarchical, hierarchical, monarchical, oligarchical •psychical •angelical, evangelical, helical •umbilical • biblical • encyclical •diabolical, follicle, hyperbolical, symbolical •dynamical, hydrodynamical •academical, agrochemical, alchemical, biochemical, chemical, petrochemical, photochemical, polemical •inimical • rhythmical • seismical •agronomical, anatomical, astronomical, comical, economical, gastronomical, physiognomical •botanical, Brahmanical, mechanical, puritanical, sanicle, tyrannical •ecumenical •geotechnical, pyrotechnical, technical •clinical, cynical, dominical, finical, Jacobinical, pinnacle, rabbinical •canonical, chronicle, conical, ironical •tunicle • pumpernickel • vernicle •apical • epical •atypical, prototypical, stereotypical, typical •misanthropical, semi-tropical, subtropical, topical, tropical •theatrical •chimerical, clerical, hemispherical, hysterical, numerical, spherical •calendrical •asymmetrical, diametrical, geometrical, metrical, symmetrical, trimetrical •electrical • ventricle •empirical, lyrical, miracle, panegyrical, satirical •cylindrical •ahistorical, allegorical, categorical, historical, metaphorical, oratorical, phantasmagorical, rhetorical •auricle • rubrical • curricle •classical, fascicle, neoclassical •farcical • vesicle •indexical, lexical •commonsensical, nonsensical •bicycle, icicle, tricycle •paradoxical • Popsicle • versicle •anagrammatical, apostatical, emblematical, enigmatical, fanatical, grammatical, mathematical, piratical, prelatical, problematical, sabbatical •impractical, practical, syntactical, tactical •canticle •ecclesiastical, fantastical •article, particle •alphabetical, arithmetical, heretical, hypothetical, metathetical, metical, parenthetical, poetical, prophetical, reticle, synthetical, theoretical •dialectical •conventicle, identical •sceptical (US skeptical) • testicle •analytical, apolitical, critical, cryptanalytical, diacritical, eremitical, geopolitical, hypercritical, hypocritical, political, socio-political, subcritical •deistical, egoistical, logistical, mystical, papistical •optical, synoptical •aeronautical, nautical, vortical •cuticle, pharmaceutical, therapeutical •vertical • ethical • mythical • clavicle •periwinkle • lackadaisical •metaphysical, physical, quizzical •whimsical • musical •Carmichael, cervical, cycle, Michael •unicycle • monocycle • motorcycle •cockle, grockle •corncockle • snorkel •bifocal, focal, local, univocal, varifocal, vocal, yokel •archducal, coucal, ducal, pentateuchal •buckle, chuckle, knuckle, muckle, ruckle, suckle, truckle •peduncle, uncle •parbuckle • carbuncle • turnbuckle •pinochle • furuncle • honeysuckle •demoniacal, maniacal, megalomaniacal, paradisiacal, zodiacal •manacle • barnacle • cenacle •binnacle • monocle • epochal •reciprocal •coracle, oracle •spectacle •pentacle, tentacle •receptacle • obstacle • equivocal •circle, encircle •semicircle

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"bicycle." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . 14 Dec. 2017 <>.

"bicycle." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . (December 14, 2017).

"bicycle." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Retrieved December 14, 2017 from