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Bicycle

rear wheel improved pedals

Bicycle, 2-wheeled vehicle propelled by pedals. In the late-18th century, a device called a célérifère was demonstrated in Paris by Count Mède de Sivrac. By the early 19th century, an improved model, called a draisine, had been developed, with handlebars and a saddle. The design was further improved by Kirkpatrick MacMillan, a Scottish blacksmith, who introduced treadles that the rider moved back and forth to provide power to the rear wheels. The use of rotary pedals was incorporated by the Frenchman Ernest Michaux in his vélocipède. Popular in the 1870s was the “penny-farthing,” which had a large front wheel and a much smaller rear wheel. The first bicycle with a chain-drive powering the rear wheel was made in England in 1885. Pneumatic tires were introduced soon after, and the bicycles of the 1890s were similar to those of today. Subsequent improvements include the use of gear-changing systems.

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