Sunday, September 24, 2006

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Bicycles?

This week I am dedicating all of my posts to other people. Why? Why not is what I ask of you.

When I typed of this last week, I only had one legitimate repy from Team Dicky. So regarding the bloggers code of ethics that I am creating as I go I shall meet his demands. He suggested that I dedicate a post to Wolfgang Mozart. He even challanged me to make it bike related. Oh, a challange you say? I don't take challanges lightly. So I hope you all enjoy this.

Mozart was born in Salzburg Austia in 1756. He lived to the ripe old age of 35. He composed his first symphony when he was eight years of age. I think I leaned to ride a bike somtime around 8 or 9 years of age.

While researching this remarkable historical figure I found out some interesting facts.

Mozart supposedly learned to speak 15 different languages.

He played the keyboard and violin.

Mozart was buried in an unmarked grave due to the fact that he spent all of his money on bicycles or something else worthy of money.

Mozart composed more than 600 works before his death.

He died in 1791.

So you may be asking yourself how in the world this is related to bicycling? Here we go.

According to this resource, the first bicycle was built in 1791 in France. So this means that Wolfgang probably didn't even see a bicycle. However he had to know of the concept since Leanardo DaVinci came up with the idea much earlier in time. This "first bike" was known as the wooden horse. It was a simple contraption made from two wheels and two forks bolted together by a board. It was known as a "running machine" since the only way to get it to go was to move it with your feet. Besides the fastenings, it was composed entirely of wood. Let's see you enduro nut jobs do a race on one of these bad boys next year. Oh yeah, did I mention that this thing didn't have any sort of steering mechanism either. Just do it!

Since this tied in so nicely with the history of the bike. Here are some other interesting tid bits about bikes:

Soon after the "wooden horse" was made, velocipede's were fashioned with crude steering devices. Can we get a pedal or a crank here? Somebody throw me a friggin chain here. People who rode this awesome machines were known as Velocipedestrians. Sweet word huh? I would like to be associated with that word anyway.

In 1865, a Frenchman, Ernest Michaux, added pedals by attaching two rods with nails on the ends to the axle of the front wheel?this contraption was now called the Michaudine. Since there were no gears or cranks, each pedal revolution caused the bike to move a distance equal to the circumference of the wheel.

Whoa, its the invention of the "fixie!" This is making things awfully easy.

Bikes were made with a large front wheel and a smaller back wheel. After people got tired of flipping over the bars from each pebble they encountered on the road, safety bikes were made. These bikes had a larger back wheel to prevent the ease of flipping.

From there we all know what happened next. Drivetrains were built. Chains were fashioned. Gears even came available, but for heaven's sake who in the world would want this technology?

I hope you have enjoyed this piece. Who's on tap for tomorrow? Well I don't even know yet so don't tell me because that might freak me out to know that you know more than I know about my thoughts.

Some references used:


Dicky said...

Nice. I am working on building a "wooden horse" for a hundie next year.

wolfescw said...


using this instead of email. thanks for the blog comment; here's my reply...

Extreme Tomato. Like them for what they are. a bit heavy, but wide and steel beaded so i have them set up tubeless. can run them as low as 25 psi and ride all of farlow without any issues. great training tire, worth a try for sure for the price. if your looking for something lighter with a tube, try the bontrager XR fronts in 2.3; great tire, good hook up on dupont/pisgah type terrain. i have run just about everything at least once. my formula is schwalbe little albert 29'er 2.1 on the back, exi or jones on the fronts. shout at me when you come up this way; we'll ride. peace scott