Industrialized Cyclist Notepad


Hurst on chain maintenance

My non-standard views on chains and cleaning chains, posted recently on the Falcon.com blog:

Rousseau said: Men are born free but everywhere are in chains. A profound observation which foretold the bicycle craze. Then Aretha came along and said: Chain-chain-chain, chain of fools. Which sums it all up quite a bit better in my opinion.

The invention of the chain drive in the 1880s (almost exactly halfway between Rousseau and Aretha) enabled bicyclists to escape the purgatory of the highwheeler era, during which their pedals were shackled directly to those comically large front wheels. Along with Dunlop’s pneumatic tire, Starley’s addition of a chain and gears to the bicycle was certainly one of the most important waypoints in the entire history of personal transportation. The chain drive was a revolution in personal freedom and human dignity.

Not long after the miraculous chain drive took over, however, inventors were thinking of ways to put it out of business. Chains were hardly perfect, after all. They were greasy and needed frequent lubrication, and occasionally tried to take your finger off, realities that diminished the marketing glow of the new form of transportation.

Read More.

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