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Wednesday, August 21, 2013

The AJ List: 9 Bikes That Changed The Sport | Adventure Journal

An early version of the Breezer, circa 1977
An early version of the Breezer, circa 1977
We’ve all gotten a little overexcited about bikes from time to time, and why not. Every since we learned balance in motion, new avenues of liberation were opened to us. Throughout history, a handful of bikes have changed—really changed—cycling. We’re not talking “7 percent lighter” here, we’re talking “feels like a whole new sport.” In chronological order:
1. The Velocipede, aka The Boneshaker, 1864
Before 1864, the closest thing anyone had to a bicycle was the “Walking Machine”—essentially a bicycle without pedals, or an adult-sized Strider bike. In 1864, a documented purchase of a pedal-driven two-wheeled vehicle, the Velocipede, was recorded. Its pedals were attached directly to the front wheel hub (so it was also the first fixie), and it was made completely out of wood (including the wheels/tires), giving early adopters a bumpy ride, and earning it the nickname “The Boneshaker.” The Michaux family sold the machines in Paris, and the Velocipede became one of the bigger asterisks in bicycle history: The family may have used Pierre Lallement’s pedal-driven wheel design, which he patented in the United States in 1866.
2. Safety Bicycle, 1876
In 1876, Harry (or Henry) John Lawson designed what came to be known as the world’s first “safety bicycle”—most men at the time rode around on high-wheel pennyfarthings, which placed the rider high above the ground. The safety bicycle used a chain-and-sprocket design, and put the rider lower, with feet in safe reach of the ground.

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