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Bicycle history HTML5


Animation brought to you in cooperation with the Musée des Arts et Métiers - Paris.

The velocipede (literally "fast foot") uses a chain set with a fixed sprocket on the front wheel: one turn of the pedals is the equivalent of one turn of the driving wheel.

To travel greater distances with each turn of the pedals it is necessary to increase the diameter of the front wheel: the Penny Farthing is an extreme application of this principle.

The bicycle uses a transmission system that involves a chain connecting two sprockets of different sizes, which provides greater distance to be covered with each turn of the pedals.

Learning goals

  • To make the connection between transmission by chain and gears
  • To define the ratio of transmission
  • To show an application of the calculation of perimeter

Learn more

The draisienne is often cited as the ancestor of the bicycle. It is not represented in this animation because it did not have pedals. It was invented in 1818 by Baron Charles de Drais (1785 -…

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