Cycling Art, Energy and Locomotion

Nov 28, 2013 by

cyclingCycling art, energy and locomotion: a series of remarks on the development of bicycles, tricycles, and man-motor carriages

First published in 1889, this is an interesting little book all about cycling at the turn of the century.

Here are a few lines from the book to give you a feel for it:

“A six-inch crank was used upon the machines in these experiments, and the lever action was such as to be comparable to a fifty-inch gear. The height of a point on the curve shows the extent of and variation in power upon the pedal, and the translation from left to right the time. In consequence of the limit of pressure occurring but once in each stroke, the number of undulations determines the speed, since it would show the number of strokes in a given time, and we know the number that make a mile.

The number of pounds’ pressure at any point on a curve is shown by the figures upon the perpendicular line, as, for example, in No. 1 the apex of the curve just to the right of the scale is about even with the hundred-and-fifty-pound point; this pressure was maintained for a very short space of time, since the curve travels a very short distance to the right at this point; in other words, it is quite sharp at the top. Stronger springs were used on the Cyclograph in testing the safeties, as I found myself liable to compress them beyond their limit  hence the scales must be closely observed in making comparisons. Among the interesting results noticeable in these experiments I find, for instance, in Nos. 3 and 4, an abnormal deviation in the height of the curves at the same speed upon the same track at nearly the same time, though running in opposite directions.

Finding this strange difference of some fifty pounds in pressure, I noticed an almost imperceptible breeze against me in the one, and in my favor in the other, direction. No. 12 illustrates how a hundred-and-fifty-pound man gets up a pressure of two hundred and forty pounds presumably by a ninety-pound pull on the handle-bar. In No. 9 we see how one hundred and fifty pounds pressure is applied in back pedalling down a grade of one foot in twelve. That the curve would not be very regular is easily impressed upon the mind of the average rider.”


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