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Albert Einstein on his bike


This nOde last updated April 8th, 2008 and is permanently morphing...
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bi·cy·cle  [bahy-si-kuhl, -sik-uhl, -sahy-kuhl]  noun, verb, -cled, -cling.

1.    a vehicle with two wheels in tandem, usually propelled by pedals connected to the rear wheel by a chain, and having handlebars for steering and a saddlelike seat.
–verb (used without object)
2.    to ride a bicycle.
–verb (used with object)
3.    to ship or transport directly by bicycle or other means.

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The bicycle, bike, or cycle, is a pedal-driven, human-powered vehicle with two wheels attached to a frame, one behind the other.

First introduced in 19th-century Europe, bicycles now number approximately one billion worldwide, providing the principal means of transportation in many regions.  They also provide a popular form of internal linkrecreation, and have been adapted for use in many other fields of human activity, including children's toys, adult fitness, military and police applications, courier services, and cycle sports.

The basic shape and configuration of a typical bicycle has hardly changed since the first chain-driven model was developed around 1885, although many important details have been improved, especially since the advent of modern materials and computer-aided design. These have allowed for a proliferation of specialized designs for particular types of cycling.

internal linkdog hoodie piggyback ride bicycle

The bicycle has had a considerable effect on human society, in both the cultural and industrial realms. In its early years, bicycle construction drew on pre-existing technologies; more recently, bicycle technology has, in turn, contributed ideas in both old and new areas.

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bicycle light cycles

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bike buddies internal linkcat

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critical mass - melbourne
Hofmann's trippy bike ride blotter


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palm pilot bike brain

John Lennon and his bike
Audrey Hepburn and her bike

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Female Emancipation

The bicycle was recognised by nineteenth-century internal linkfeminists and suffragists as a "freedom machine" for women. American Susan B. Anthony said in a New York World interview on February 2, 1896: "Let me tell you what I think of bicycling. I think it has done more to emancipate women than anything else in the world. It gives women a feeling of freedom and self-reliance. I stand and rejoice every time I see a woman ride by on a wheel...the picture of free, untrammelled womanhood."

In the 1890s the bicycle craze led to a movement for so-called rational dress, which helped liberate women from corsets and ankle-length skirts and other restrictive garments, substituting the then-shocking bloomers.

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John Zorn on a bicycle

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Boneshaker (or bone-shaker) is a name used from about 1869 up to the present internal linktime to refer to the first type of true bicycle with pedals, which was called velocipede by its manufacturers. "Boneshaker" refers to the extremely uncomfortable ride, which was caused by the stiff wrought-iron frame and wooden wheels surrounded by tires made of iron.

This type of bicycle was invented in the 1860s in France and first manufactured by the Michaux company from 1867 to 1869 – the time of the first bicycle craze, and copied by many others during that time. It fell out of favor after the summer of 1869, and was replaced in 1870 with the type of bicycle called "ordinary", "high-wheel", or "penny-farthing".

Few original boneshakers exist today, most having been melted for scrap metal during World War I. Those that do surface from time to time command high prices, typically up to about $5,000 US.

The construction of the boneshaker was similar to the dandy horse: wooden wheels with iron tires and a framework of wrought iron. As the name implies it was extremely uncomfortable, but the discomfort was somewhat ameliorated by a long flat spring that supported the saddle and absorbed many of the shocks from rough road surfaces. The boneshaker also had a brake – a metal lever that pressed a wooden pad against the rear wheel. The front wheel axle ran in lubricated bronze bearings, and some had small lubrication tanks that would wick oil from soaked lamb's wool into the bearings to help them run smoothly. Like the High Wheel bicycles that became popular later in the 19th century, boneshakers were front-wheel drive, but in comparison they had smaller wheels (only about 1m), and were heavy, with a lightweight model weighing 30 pounds or more.

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Social Implications

In cities, bicycles helped reduce crowding in inner-city tenements by allowing workers to commute from more spacious dwellings in the suburbs. They also reduced dependence on horses, with all the knock-on effects this brought to society. Bicycles allowed people to travel for leisure into the country, since bicycles were three times as energy efficient as walking, and three to four times as fast. Cycling has many health benefits and does not directly contribute to global warming or environmental pollution.

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internal linkutility box, bicycles - corner of San Lorenzo Blvd, Laurel St., & Broadway - internal linkSanta Cruz, California N 36° 58.213 W 122° 01.317

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While pedaling at night, internal linkAlbert Einstein observed that the bobbling beam cast from his headlamp always traveled at the same speed, whether he was cruising at a quick clip or coasting to a stop.  The theory - that internal linklight from a moving source has the same velocity as light from a stationary source - as born on that ride.  "I thought of it while riding my internal linkbicycle," remains one of Einstein's most renowned quotes.

Another favorite saying - "Life is like riding a bicycle.  To keep your balance, you must keep moving" - is indicative of the joyful, compassionate scientist's love of the bicycle.  Early in his schooling at Munich University in Germany, he would take bicycle tours with fellow scientists to contemplate the world at large.  And during his final years, while at Princeton University during the early 1950s, when the automobile was the mode of transportation du jour, Einstein chose his trusty steed over any other modern engineering marvels.  Indeed, the most lasting image of the internal linkwild-haired genius is that of him tooling around, atop his bicycle, with his infectious grin, gleefully internal linkimagining the next revolutionary idea.

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bicycle wheel by marcel duchamp Psychedelic Bicycle Day - April 19, 1943 vinyl, bikes, spin networks

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Psychic TV - Themes 12inch on Some Bizarre/WEG (1982) Psychic TV - Cold Dark Matter 12inch on Some Bizarre/WEG (1982)

Pink Floyd - Piper At The Gates Of Dawn (1967)
Dr. Octagon - Dr. Octagynecologist (1996)

Urge Overkill - Saturation 12" (1993)

Urge Overkill - Saturation 12" orange vinyl
1 Speed Bike - Droopy Butt Begone (2000)
Orb - Bicycles & Tricycles on Sanctuary (2004)
Descendents - Milo Goes To College12" (1982)

Descendents - Milo Goes To College 12" (grey vinyl)

Soundgarden - Superunknown 12"x2 (green marbled vinyl)
Schwinn banana seat bicycle

This Bike Is A Pipe Bomb - The Black Panther Party 7" back cover
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