I notice that many current bikes have flattened, non-tubular frame components. Why? Style? New materials? I would assume, knowing little about it, that the tube shape would generally retain its advantages regardless of the material. But perhaps the new material doesn't form tubes well?
I own one aluminum bike, relatively low end and not super lightweight... but it does look cool. ;-)
The computer is more of a car for our minds - they run on electricity/gas, take minor low effort inputs from us, and transform them into massively larger outputs not due to simple mechanical laws, but because of a secondary source of impetus. There isn't that 1:1 input/output that a bike has.
The real bicycle for the mind is pencil and paper.
I still use notebooks for some things. You can draw in a notebook (and yes, I know you can draw on a computer, but in many ways it is more involved). The link between thought and recording is much tighter than on a computer.
It would be interesting to look at how our tools shape and limit our thinking.
To me bikes and computers are as different as they come.
That's part of the real joy for me - "hmm... something is making a noise" and then you can tinker until the noise goes away. There's learning feedback still available on a bike.
EDIT: The URL includes 'Scientific American March 1973', which matches my first link. EDIT2: So I think that must be the source.
Slightly longer version: Find a good bike shop to do it for you. The wheels on a bicycle are about the only truly challenging thing to work on (short of suspension components or the headset bearings that are pressed into the frame), and about the only things that you can irretrievably screw up. A shop that builds more than a couple wheels a year will probably do a better job than the average bike shop.
If you're curious about what building a wheel involves, a good resource is The Bicycle Wheel, by Jobst Brandt . Mind you he still that the bottom spokes of a wheel are in compression (which is demonstrably false; see Mavic's linear pull spokes, which literally cannot be in compression or the wheel would fall apart). Sheldon Brown's website is useful too.
I think you might want to read pages 7–8 again: "Wires must be tensioned to prevent their buckling under load. With tension, wires can support compression loads up to the point where they become slack. The same loads that increase compression in wooden spokes, reduce tension in wires. As in algebra, where negative and positive numbers are combined to give algebraic sums, in spokes tension and compression are the negative and positive forces whose sums depends on built-in spoke tension and the carried load."
So the bottom spokes can support a compressive load because this is smaller than their unloaded tension.
Anyhow, I think we are fundamentally in agreement that all of the spokes in the wheel are in tension at all times. I am not an engineer, but I did run this bit by an engineer. He was in agreement that the fact that the bottom spokes are under less tension does not mean they are supporting the load via compression.
At best, the passage is a bit misleading; none of the spokes on a bicycle wheel are ever in compression (or as Brandt rightly claims, they would buckle). Claiming that the reduced tension (again, correct) supports a "compression load" is misleading.
Sorry I can't stick around for further discussion; I'll check back later.
In Brandt's defense, the last edition came out 25 years ago, and as I recall the tension/compression debate wasn't settled yet.
I'd keep in mind that the rohloff speed hub is an amazing piece of technology, so it comes with a hefty price sticker. I'd question it's really worth it for the average bicycle person when a shimano alfine 11 gear hub costs barely a quarter.
Still an awesome bit of kit.
Imagine people trading in their horses for bicycles, for much easier care, less pollution, much smaller and flexible (it seems to me) alternatives. Imagine the variety of bikes people would come up with, lacking alternatives: Personal transport, of course, but also cargo, long-haul, rough terrain, tandem/triple/etc when more power is needed, rickshaws, etc.; with bikes already being the established 'first mover', would we use cars for as many purposes as we do today? Imagine how cities would be constructed, providing for bikes first, with the car fitting in later - from roads to locations of retail and transit.
For some things you still may have needed horses, such as pulling heavy loads. Also, I wonder if the terrain and roads would have suited bicycles (cobblestones and muddy roads probably aren't so great to ride on) and, if not, if people would have invested in the infrastructure; beware the modern myopic perspective about cities - back then almost everyone lived in rural areas. Finally, in some less economically developed parts of the world bicycles did become immensely popular before cars, IIRC; I wonder how these issues played out there.
This did happen: Bicycles used to be the primary mode of transport for many many people even in Europe. It certainly was in China and other parts of Asia. Long John Style Cargo bikes - the type that Bullit for example builds - were conceived in the early 1920ies. Butchers/Barkes Bicycles were common until the 1950ies in Europe. Cars were a luxury back then, common people used bicycles, walked or used public transport.
I think that electric assistance is what will drive a renaissance of cycling as a mode of transport if infrastructure can be provided that makes cycling in cities safe and enjoyable. It allows sufficiently high speeds to achieve reasonable transport times even on medium distances for most people.
You've just copy-and-pasted Columbia's ad text from the late 1800s. The problem was not that bicycles were too late, but that bicycles were out of reach for the common working man for quite a while. Multi-speed, shaft-drive bicycles with pneumatic tires were available in the 1890s. They were also priced like Teslas.
Source: have been a member of the U. S. counterpart to the Veterans Bicycle Club (where this article came from) since I was a kid.
What's the difference?
"The problem with the airplane was that it was late..." No, we've had airplanes since 1903. The problem is that I can't afford, even as an upper middle class software engineer, to keep one in the air.
> have been a member of the U. S. counterpart to the Veterans Bicycle Club
What is the club? An historical society? Whence the name?
(Not to be confused with the League of American Wheelmen, the old name of what is now the League of American Bicyclists.)