Monowheels

#History

Mon, Mar 27th, 2006 01:34 by capnasty NEWS

The story of vehicles with insufficient wheels.

Pictured above, what is possibly the first monowheel.

This elegant monowheel cycle- the word "bicycle" seems somehow inappropriate, though there are certainly two wheels involved- dates back to 1869. It was built by Rousseau of Marseilles.

"In 1869 the craftsman Rousseau of Marseilles built this monocycle, which perches the cyclist on the inside of a 2 1/2 yards-high wheel. As there is no steering mechanism, it makes uncommon demands on the rider's sense of balance." (from Galbiati & Ciravegna)

Presumably the bigger outer wheel made bumps in the road easier to negotiate; compare the popular penny-farthing or "ordinary" bicycle. What it does not have is the gearing-up given by the large wheel of a penny-farthing.Note the solid rim- this is before pneumatic tyres were introduced. There is no gearing and no steering. There is a brake, operated by twisting the handlebar forward. This pulls a strap that causes the curved lever to press against the rim of the inner wheel.

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