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Those bicycle builders big mistake!



 
 
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  #1  
Old December 17th 03, 03:47 AM
Garrison Hilliard
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Last modified Saturday, December 13, 2003 8:18 PM PST

Wilbur and Orville Wright's great mistake






By: ROBERT KAHN - Staff Writer

One hundred years ago, on Dec. 17, 1903, Wilbur and Orville Wright made a big
mistake. They got out of the bicycle business and into airplanes.

Actually, the Wright Cycle Co. of Dayton, Ohio did not go out of business until
1907, when the U.S. Signal Corps put out a request for bids for a
heavier-than-air flying machine. The Wright brothers won the bid, for $25,000,
which was enough money back then for the boys to close up their bike shop.

That's a shame. The bicycle is a much better machine than the airplane. In the
history of mankind, I cannot think of a single case of a bicycle doing anyone
harm, except an improvident rider or the unfortunate person the rider runs over
---- one at a time. With the exception of musical instruments, the bicycle may
be the most human machine ever invented. The airplane is one of the most
inhuman. The scale of the disasters the airplane made possible shows we would be
better off without it.

Just 14 years after Wilbur flew over Kitty Hawk, the U.S. government began the
era of modern warfare by using planes to bomb the troops of Agusto Sandino in
Nicaragua. The Fascist bombing of Guernica in Spain was the first time planes
were used to make war upon cities, but it was the U.S. government that pushed
the world down its first steps toward the particular hell we inhabit today. For
100 years we have been earnestly saving the world by inventing machines to blow
it up one piece at a time.

I prefer the bicycle. Apparently, it was invented in 1816 by Joseph Nicephore
Niepce, who also invented photography, with help from Louis Daguerre. The first
bicycle was made of wood and was missing a few things we expect on a bicycle
today: pedals and a chain, for starters. The doughty Frenchmen called it a
celeripede, and the rider sat on it and pushed himself around until he got
tired. Englishmen called it a hobby horse.

It took more than 20 years for someone to get around to adding pedals to it.
This was Kirkpatrick MacMillan, of Dumfries, Scotland, who produced the first
velocipede in 1840. He was arrested and prosecuted once for "furious driving."

I must take issue, however, with the bicycle historians who say that MacMillan
also invented the first comfortable bicycle seat. There is no such thing.

It took another 25 years for the first bicycle shop to be opened, by Pierre
Lallement of Paris. I will spare you a detailed recitation of what came next:
the high-wheeler, the safety bicycle, the addition of the chain or drive shaft,
pneumatic tires and derailleurs. But all these improvements came at a human pace
---- years apart, and for no other purpose than to make the bicycle more fun to
ride.

It is a machine fitting for intelligent chimps who have no self-control or
social conscience ---- a machine for humans.

By the 1890s the safety bicycle ---- with rear-wheel drive and pneumatic tires
---- became so popular that guys had to let women try it. The women liked it, so
the bustle had to go, and so did whalebone corsets, though women still had to
wear long skirts so guys could not see their legs, and so the women would have
trouble keeping up.

In 1896, Susan B. Anthony said, "The bicycle has done more for the emancipation
of women than anything else in the world." And who am I to pick a fight with
Susan B. Anthony?

The most interesting scientific fact about the bicycle is that when you get up a
head of steam its center of gravity is actually in front of the place where the
front tire meets the road. The greater the angle of the front fork, the farther
forward the center of gravity is. That's why you can ride a bike with no hands
---- because it keeps falling forward toward its center of gravity. As you slow
down, the center of gravity comes back, and when it's behind the place where the
front tire meets the road, you fall over. Or put a foot down.

Well, if Wilbur and Orville hadn't done it, someone else would have done it, so
we can't blame them for everything. By the way, Wilbur and Orville had an older
brother named Reuchlin, which shows that Mr. and Mrs. Wright had a great sense
of humor, or had none at all.

Wilbur died of typhoid in 1912, but Orville made it until 1948. He lived to see
the wonderful use to which we put his invention at Hiroshima. Just a few weeks
ago, a group of atomic bomb survivors protested the National Air and Space
Museum's plans to put the Enola Gay in a display of famous airplanes ---- as
though there were something to celebrate.

I think the atomic bomb survivors have a point. We should smash the Enola Gay
into tiny pieces and bury it in the ocean, or shoot it into outer space with a
sign on it: "If you can read this, you are too close." Or we could melt it down
and pound it into bicycles

http://www.nctimes.com/articles/2003...0320_15_39.txt
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  #2  
Old December 17th 03, 04:36 AM
Russ Price
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Default Those bicycle builders big mistake!

In rec.bicycles.misc Garrison Hilliard wrote:

By: ROBERT KAHN - Staff Writer


I must take issue, however, with the bicycle historians who say that MacMillan
also invented the first comfortable bicycle seat. There is no such thing.


Mr. Kahn evidently hasn't heard of recumbents. On organized centuries,
I've overheard other riders wishing they had one as we were headed to
the finish. For me at least, at the end of a long ride on either of
my recumbents [1], NOTHING is sore. I might have tired legs (especially
after 100+ miles!), but nothing aches.

I switched to the rolling lawn chairs a couple of years ago, and never
looked back. Beware - they're addictive!

[1] One short-wheelbase bike, one tadpole trike.

--
Russ --kill the wabbit to despam
"I've been calculating distances in kilometers but the elevation markers
are in feet. It's a good thing I'm just trying to ride my bike and not
launching any multi-million dollar space probes." -Kent Peterson
  #3  
Old December 17th 03, 04:55 AM
frkrygow
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Default Those bicycle builders big mistake!

Garrison Hilliard posted teh article:


Wilbur and Orville Wright's great mistake


I liked this part a lot:

With the exception of musical instruments, the bicycle may
be the most human machine ever invented.



But what's this???

The most interesting scientific fact about the bicycle is that when you get up a
head of steam its center of gravity is actually in front of the place where the
front tire meets the road. The greater the angle of the front fork, the farther
forward the center of gravity is. That's why you can ride a bike with no hands
---- because it keeps falling forward toward its center of gravity. As you slow
down, the center of gravity comes back, and when it's behind the place where the
front tire meets the road, you fall over. Or put a foot down.


Whew!! That's a contender for the most nonsensical thing I've ever seen
published!

Journalism majors don't take Physics, do they?



http://www.nctimes.com/articles/2003...0320_15_39.txt



--
Frank Krygowski [To reply, omit what's between "at" and "cc"]

  #4  
Old December 17th 03, 05:34 AM
psycholist
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Default Those bicycle builders big mistake!

"frkrygow" wrote in message
...
Garrison Hilliard posted teh article:


Wilbur and Orville Wright's great mistake


I liked this part a lot:

With the exception of musical instruments, the bicycle may
be the most human machine ever invented.



But what's this???

The most interesting scientific fact about the bicycle is that when you

get up a
head of steam its center of gravity is actually in front of the place

where the
front tire meets the road. The greater the angle of the front fork, the

farther
forward the center of gravity is. That's why you can ride a bike with no

hands
---- because it keeps falling forward toward its center of gravity. As

you slow
down, the center of gravity comes back, and when it's behind the place

where the
front tire meets the road, you fall over. Or put a foot down.


Whew!! That's a contender for the most nonsensical thing I've ever seen
published!

Journalism majors don't take Physics, do they?


The nonsensical things in this story began far before that remark. "In the
history of mankind, I cannot think of a single case of a bicycle doing
anyone harm ... " Of course you can't. It's an object. So is an airplane.
On their own, neither the bicycle, nor the airplane are capable of doing
anyone harm. The problem is with mankind, not with the machine. But it's
typical that someone would project the sinister deeds of man IN a plane onto
the plane.

Anyone who buys into this drivel must be mindless. Watch Discovery Wings on
cable or satellite TV, or read a book about the Wright Brothers'
achievement. It's really quite remarkable. Stunningly remarkable. It's
not just a story of incredible ingenuity, but also one of remarkable
determination and commitment to excellence.

I was a journalism major in college. Fortunately, I decided to get a real
life and to really achieve something instead of just retelling the
achievements of others ... or just tearing them down.

Bob C.


  #5  
Old December 17th 03, 05:43 AM
Werehatrack
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Default Those bicycle builders big mistake!

On Wed, 17 Dec 2003 02:47:44 +0000, Garrison Hilliard
quoted ROBERT KAHN thusly:

The most interesting scientific fact about the bicycle is that when you get up a
head of steam its center of gravity is actually in front of the place where the
front tire meets the road. The greater the angle of the front fork, the farther
forward the center of gravity is. That's why you can ride a bike with no hands
---- because it keeps falling forward toward its center of gravity. As you slow
down, the center of gravity comes back, and when it's behind the place where the
front tire meets the road, you fall over. Or put a foot down.


What an utter and complete crock! A little attitudinal licentiousness
I can forgive, but this is so far over the edge into nonsense that one
has to wonder if the author has ever had a basic science course.

--
My email address is antispammed; pull WEEDS if replying via e-mail.
Yes, I have a killfile. If I don't respond to something,
it's also possible that I'm busy.
Words processed in a facility that contains nuts.
  #6  
Old December 17th 03, 06:24 AM
Pete
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Default Those bicycle builders big mistake!


"Werehatrack" wrote in message
...
On Wed, 17 Dec 2003 02:47:44 +0000, Garrison Hilliard
quoted ROBERT KAHN thusly:

The most interesting scientific fact about the bicycle is that when you

get up a
head of steam its center of gravity is actually in front of the place

where the
front tire meets the road. The greater the angle of the front fork, the

farther
forward the center of gravity is. That's why you can ride a bike with no

hands
---- because it keeps falling forward toward its center of gravity. As

you slow
down, the center of gravity comes back, and when it's behind the place

where the
front tire meets the road, you fall over. Or put a foot down.


What an utter and complete crock!


Along with a few other of the writers comments.

Pete


  #7  
Old December 17th 03, 07:38 AM
Carl Fogel
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Default Those bicycle builders big mistake!

"frkrygow" wrote in message ...
Garrison Hilliard posted teh article:


Wilbur and Orville Wright's great mistake


I liked this part a lot:

With the exception of musical instruments, the bicycle may
be the most human machine ever invented.



But what's this???

The most interesting scientific fact about the bicycle is that when you get up a
head of steam its center of gravity is actually in front of the place where the
front tire meets the road. The greater the angle of the front fork, the farther
forward the center of gravity is. That's why you can ride a bike with no hands
---- because it keeps falling forward toward its center of gravity. As you slow
down, the center of gravity comes back, and when it's behind the place where the
front tire meets the road, you fall over. Or put a foot down.


Whew!! That's a contender for the most nonsensical thing I've ever seen
published!

Journalism majors don't take Physics, do they?



http://www.nctimes.com/articles/2003...0320_15_39.txt


Dear Frank,

But it's a "scientific fact"!

Now we know the secret to no-hands
riding that Jobst Brandt has been
hiding from us for years--you just
keep your center of gravity in front
of the place where your front tire
meets the road.

Naturally, I want lots of measurements
of how large "a head of steam" is
needed before this happens.

Here's a fixed-gear rider showing
how to ride no-hands by trying to
get his center of gravity ahead of
his front tire's contact patch:

http://www.oldskooltrack.com/files/skids.frame.html

Carl Fogel
  #8  
Old December 17th 03, 11:46 AM
[email protected]
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Default Those bicycle builders big mistake!

In rec.bicycles.misc psycholist wrote:

: The nonsensical things in this story began far before that remark. "In the
: history of mankind, I cannot think of a single case of a bicycle doing
: anyone harm ... " Of course you can't. It's an object. So is an airplane.
: On their own, neither the bicycle, nor the airplane are capable of doing
: anyone harm. The problem is with mankind, not with the machine. But it's
: typical that someone would project the sinister deeds of man IN a plane onto
: the plane.

Yup, it's obviously just liberal nonsense. Easily countered with a
rational NRA-style argument.

FWIW the bicycle is also used by the military.

--
Risto Varanka | http://www.helsinki.fi/~rvaranka/

  #9  
Old December 17th 03, 01:25 PM
Michael Dart
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Default Those bicycle builders big mistake!


"psycholist" wrote in message
...
"frkrygow" wrote in message
...
Garrison Hilliard posted teh article:


Wilbur and Orville Wright's great mistake


I liked this part a lot:

With the exception of musical instruments, the bicycle may
be the most human machine ever invented.



But what's this???

The most interesting scientific fact about the bicycle is that when

you
get up a
head of steam its center of gravity is actually in front of the place

where the
front tire meets the road. The greater the angle of the front fork,

the
farther
forward the center of gravity is. That's why you can ride a bike with

no
hands
---- because it keeps falling forward toward its center of gravity. As

you slow
down, the center of gravity comes back, and when it's behind the place

where the
front tire meets the road, you fall over. Or put a foot down.


Whew!! That's a contender for the most nonsensical thing I've ever seen
published!

Journalism majors don't take Physics, do they?


The nonsensical things in this story began far before that remark. "In

the
history of mankind, I cannot think of a single case of a bicycle doing
anyone harm ... " Of course you can't. It's an object. So is an

airplane.

I don't know about that...

"KANDAHAR, Afghanistan (CNN) -- A bicycle carried a bomb that exploded in
the main square of the southern Afghanistan city of Kandahar, wounding at
least 15 people, police in the city say. "

http://www.cnn.com/2003/WORLD/asiapc.../afghan.blast/

Do a Google search on "bicycle bomb". Dark humor aside, your point is
correct. It's how man uses his technology either for good or harm.

Mike



  #10  
Old December 17th 03, 09:07 PM
Rick Onanian
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Default Those bicycle builders big mistake!

On 16 Dec 2003 22:38:00 -0800, (Carl Fogel)
wrote:
Here's a fixed-gear rider showing
how to ride no-hands by trying to
get his center of gravity ahead of
his front tire's contact patch:

http://www.oldskooltrack.com/files/skids.frame.html

No fair! He's steering with his thighs...

Carl Fogel

--
Rick "Steer a _fixie_ with your thighs?" Onanian
 




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