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Noodle on these fun facts!

Our Chief Mechanic, Tyler Wituszynski, is a wealth of knowledge. He has a lot of valuable know-how — like how to fix your brakes, tires, and derailleur (the mechanism that shifts gears). But Tyler also knows a lot of bicycle lore. Here are a few factoids he shared with us recently:

NO. 1: FRUSTRATED RACER INVENTS QUICK RELEASE

“Back in the day, they used wing nuts to attach wheels to a bike frame,” says Tyler. “This is before the derailleur, so riders would have one gear on each side of their wheel. Then, when they came up to a mountain climb, they would have to flip the wheel over to put their climbing gear on.

“So Gentullio ‘Tullio’ Campagnolo is in a bike race in the Italian Dolomites, and he gets to the top of a hill. It’s a cold day, so his hands are numb, and he can’t open the wing nuts. He gets frustrated, and he loses the race. So he decides to go off and tinker with his wheel, inventing the quick release in 1930.”

NO. 2: DOES YOUR BIKE HAVE A NOODLE?

“Old mountain bikes and kids’ bikes often have V-brakes. The little metal piece that goes into the V-brake is called a ‘noodle.’ Kids usually get a kick out of the idea that their bike has a noodle on it.”

NO. 3: “TAKING A HEADER”

“Before the invention of the modern, two-wheeled ‘safety’ bicycle, you had the penny farthing — or ‘high wheel’ style — bikes where you would sit on top of a gigantic front wheel, pedaling the wheel directly. If you were riding on one of those and hit a bump or a crack in the road, you would fly over the big wheel and hit your head on the ground. Hence, taking a header.”

NO. 4: THE FIRST DERAILLEURS WERE CONTROVERSIAL

“The Tour de France used to have the philosophy of, ‘let’s make this as cruel and difficult as possible.’ So when the derailleur was first invented, and racers started to bring them to the Tour, they were accused of cheating. The thought of a derailleur was blasphemous, and at one point, there was an attempted ban on derailleurs. Now, they’re everywhere, of course.”

NO. 5: AMERICAN ROADS WERE DESIGNED FOR BIKES — NOT CARS

“Early paved roads were all developed by bicyclists. When you had very early automobiles — like the Ford Model T — the bicycle was still much more common. Early bicycle clubs, or ‘wheelman clubs,’ made the earliest road maps. They were the ones who advocated having quality, paved roads in cities and between towns. So it wasn’t actually car drivers who were pushing for nice roads — it was bicyclists.”

Ready to learn more from Tyler? We have you covered.

  • On Fridays in October, he’ll be hosting four mechanics workshops. Registration is $35, and the class will be held from 2 – 4 pm. ➡️ Mechanics Classes
  • We’re also planning an autumn Yard Sale at the Clubhouse. Date and time TBD. If you have a bike to donate or would like us to sell it on consignment, get it in by the end of the month.

Stop in at the Wheelhouse with your own questions. Tyler opens the community bike shop 8:30 am – 4:30 pm M, T, TH, F, and from 10–6 on Wednesdays.


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