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  • Posted Apr 2

BIKEIOWA NOTE: We've always been fascinated with the recumbent bicycle. When were they invented? Why were they banned from racing in the 1930's? Recumbent popularity after WWII, and the recumbent revival in the 1970's. This is well worth the read!

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From Challand’s ‘Normal Bicycle’ to Wilson’s Avatar 2000.
By: Tony Hadland and Hans-Erhard Lessing

Geared recumbents first appeared in the 1890s, soon after the safety bicycle, which had begun to persuade the more timid riders to return to two wheels. Charles Challand, a professor in Geneva, built what was probably the first geared recumbent. He called it the Normal Bicycle, because the rider’s posture was more normal than that of a stooped-over rider on a standard bicycle. The rider sat directly over the standard-size back wheel, directly steering the smaller front wheel. The crank axle was a few inches behind the steering head.

The patent drawing for the Normal Bicycle shows a skid-shoe brake, which was mentioned in a report on a lightweight timber-framed version of the bicycle displayed at the Swiss National Exhibition of 1896.


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