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The Art of the Bicycle

"There are literally millions of ways artists can depict God’s glory. Their creativity and the skill that God has placed in the artists’ hearts, heads, and hands will guide them to create art that will help us transcend the ugliness and pollution of this world. Whatever their medium—paint, pencil, textiles, marble, metal, drama, music, etc.—artists share a common mission and are a special and valuable part of God’s kingdom." from the article: What Does the Bible Say About Art?

Captain Kangeroo Says "Schwinn Bikes are Best"
Captain Kangeroo Says "Schwinn Bikes are Best"

The Art of the Bicycle

Bicycles have been a form of transportation for several hundred years.

Most of us in America have fond memories of our first bicycle.

But like everything else in our world we humans put our imagination and cultural context into what we design and build. Bicycles are no different.

But like everything else in thsi world bicycles continue to change and evolve. This article gives us a glimpse of the past and the future.

"The Smithsonian credits the Comte de Sivrac in 1791, when he reportedly debuted a two-wheeled scooting-style bike in Paris. This early iteration of the bike had two mounted wheels that could not change direction: The handlebars and front wheel could only point forward, making it a highly impractical, though fun, invention..." from the article: Who Invented the Bicycle?

A wood bicycle based on Leonardo da Vinci’s Renaissance study project is exhibited as part of the Codex Atlanticus exhibition at the Corsini Palace in Rome. Alessandra Benedetti - Corbis//Getty Images
A wood bicycle based on Leonardo da Vinci’s Renaissance study project is exhibited as part of the Codex Atlanticus exhibition at the Corsini Palace in Rome. Alessandra Benedetti - Corbis//Getty Images

The History of Bicycles

A bicycle timeline.

Inside Mike Wolfe's Incredible Bicycle Collection | Reconnecting Roots

Video from Reconnecting Roots

"Mike Wolfe of American Pickers shows Gabe a few of the bikes from his personal collection." from video introduction

Early Bicycle Designs: The History Of Bicycles

"Bicycles have become an integral part of modern transportation and leisure activities, but their origins can be traced back to early designs that revolutionized human mobility. The history of bicycles is a fascinating journey through time, reflecting the ingenuity and innovation of countless inventors who sought to create efficient and practical means of personal transportation. One example of such ingenuity can be found in the development of the Draisine, also known as the “running machine,” which served as a precursor to the modern bicycle.

The earliest forms of bicycles were quite different from what we know today. Invented by Baron Karl von Drais in 1817, the Draisine was a two-wheeled contraption designed for self-propelled movement. It featured a wooden frame with no pedals or chains; instead, riders used their feet to push off the ground and glide forward. This innovative design allowed individuals to travel at relatively higher speeds than walking alone, making it an attractive mode of transport during its time. Despite its limitations, including difficulty maneuvering on uneven terrain and lack of braking mechanisms, the Draisine laid the foundation for subsequent advancements in bicycle technology.

As society progressed into the late 19th century, numerous inventors capitalized on this initial concept and introduced various improvements and innovations to the design of bicycles. One notable advancement was the addition of pedals, which allowed users to generate propulsion through a circular motion. This development, credited to Scottish blacksmith Kirkpatrick MacMillan in 1839, greatly enhanced the efficiency and ease of riding a bicycle.

Following MacMillan’s invention, there was a flurry of inventors and engineers who contributed to further refining the bicycle’s design. In 1861, Frenchman Pierre Michaux introduced the concept of a larger front wheel combined with smaller rear wheels, known as the “High Wheel” or “Penny Farthing.” This design increased speed and efficiency but also posed safety concerns due to its high center of gravity.

The safety bicycle emerged in the late 19th century as an alternative to the Penny Farthing. English inventor John Kemp Starley is often credited with developing the first modern bicycle design in 1885. The safety bicycle featured two equally-sized wheels and a chain-driven mechanism that connected the pedals to the rear wheel. Its lower center of gravity and improved stability made it safer and more accessible for riders of varying skill levels.

Throughout the 20th century, bicycles continued to evolve with advancements such as pneumatic tires, lightweight materials like aluminum and carbon fiber, gears for easier climbing and faster speeds, suspension systems for off-road riding, and electric motors for assisted pedaling.

Today, bicycles are not only used for transportation but have also become popular recreational vehicles, competitive racing machines, and environmentally friendly alternatives to cars. With ongoing technological advancements and growing awareness about sustainability, it is likely that bicycles will continue to play an important role in our future mobility solutions..." from the article: Early Bicycle Designs: The History Of Bicycles

Bicycles Now and In the Future

Colnago: The Art Of Bicycle Design

Video from GCN Plus

"GCN Presenter Oliver Bridgewood headed to Colnago HQ in Milan to meet the man himself, Ernesto Colnago, the legend behind one of the world’s most iconic bike brands. Can the man who claims that every bike has a soul do the impossible, and pick out just 4 of his bikes which define his brand's legend? Sign up now: Ernesto Colnago is a legend of Italian bicycle frame design. And at almost 90, he remains the heart and soul of the brand he founded in the 1950s. His bikes have won almost every race and accolade within the sport, with personal frames for all the legends of the sport, including Merckx, Saronni, Rominger and Museeuw. GCN Presenter Oliver Bridgewood visited the Colnago HQ in Milan, to meet the man who has become an icon of bike design and ask him to do the impossible: pick the bikes which define the Colnago legend. GCN+ is the home of the world’s most thrilling live bike races, highlights, exclusive shows and epic cycling documentaries that you can enjoy live + ad-free + on-demand + interactive + all-year round. GCN+ is more of everything you’ve come to love from GCN but taken to the next level: more entertainment, more races, more inspiration, more access, more analysis, more science and more to watch with exclusive and original long-form films, documentaries and shows. GCN+ is cycling like you’ve never seen it before." from video introduction

Future Bikes: 10 Bold, Brilliant Bicycle Concepts

Custom Bicycle Concepts
Custom Bicycle Concepts

Custom Bicycle Concepts | Throughout its lifetime of several hundred years, the bicycle formula hasn’t changed much– a pair of wheels, a seat, a frame and pedals. While you shouldn’t always fix something that isn’t broken, progress is progress– and these 10 custom bicycle concepts show just how far progress can go. Some are strange, others are sexy, but all of them represent where the future of cycling could go, or reasons why it should stay the same. That much is up to you..." from the article: Future Bikes: 10 Bold, Brilliant Bicycle Concepts


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