- The Washington Times - Friday, January 10, 2003

RAMBLINGS ON A BIKE

The bicycle was invented by a Scottsman, Kirkpatrick Macmillan in about 1838. Originally called the velocipede, the wheels were enormously large and the contraption was quite heavy.

MacMillan started off heading for a lawsuit when he ran over a child while demonstrating the machine. Horns and bells were added later on.

Some of our resources say the French invented a bicycle-like machine in about 1790 called the "celerifere." The front wheel was fixed, not steerable, so it was not very popular (nor pronounceable).

Perhaps the French gave the Scots the bicycle. Some say the Irish gave the Scots the bag-pipes and they still haven't got the joke.

Wouldn't you know, the motorcycle (1885) came along before the practical bicycle or "safety" bicycle (1887), as it was called. Daimler (yup, same as Daimler-Benz nee Mercedes-Benz) cobbled together the motorcycle. The safety bicycle was so called because the rider actually could touch the ground with his feet. Now that's a novel idea.

By the way, China has an estimated 300-million bicycles on the road daily.

Beryllium is much lighter and stronger than titanium. It's also a primary ingredient in former Soviet missile components. In a converted factory outside Moscow, beryllium from recycled weapons parts and some newly processed alloy are being used to make … bicycle frames.

(Comments? Question? Pedal them on over to [email protected])


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