Where did Push bike come from?

Pushie Pirate
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Where did Push bike come from?

Postby Pushie Pirate » Wed Jul 26, 2017 10:00 am

There seems to be a few theories, one the first push bikes did not have pedals and
you pushed them along with your feet ah la the Flinstones car. Second reason even
after they got pedals they still had to push their bikes as the roads where muddy
and therefore you couldn't ride. Finally you push the pedals to propel the bike,
juries out I guess any of the above seems feasible.

The above is from my google searches, be interested to here people's thoughts?

My replica of an early (1920s) Indian push bike.
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find_bruce
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Re: Where did Push bike come from?

Postby find_bruce » Wed Jul 26, 2017 11:52 am

I always thought it was a reference to pushing the pedals, but I have no authority for that

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Re: Where did Push bike come from?

Postby Arbuckle23 » Wed Jul 26, 2017 1:11 pm

find_bruce wrote:I always thought it was a reference to pushing the pedals, but I have no authority for that
+1. My knowledge is as much as find_bruce though

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Re: Where did Push bike come from?

Postby brumby33 » Wed Jul 26, 2017 1:23 pm

In the days of only single speed bikes, i guess if it was all too hard to peddle...you got off and pushed it.....i have a bit of experience with that :mrgreen:
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Re: Where did Push bike come from?

Postby Duck! » Wed Jul 26, 2017 1:42 pm

My though was that it's a somewhat more recent (as in more recent than the bike itself, but still historical) term from sometime after the development of the motorcycle (which in its early forms was little more than a motorised bicycle), and it differentiates an unpowered - aka push - bike from a powered bike.
Last edited by Duck! on Wed Jul 26, 2017 8:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.
I had a thought, but it got run over as it crossed my mind.

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Re: Where did Push bike come from?

Postby human909 » Wed Jul 26, 2017 1:49 pm

It is a bicycle. Or a bike for short. Calling it a push bike lengthens the original shortening is a little absurd.

A push bike is word invented by Australian motorists to differentiate them from a motorised 'bike'. As far as I know the phrase doesn't exist outside of Australia and NZ.

(That is my belief anyway. Though I can't say that I've researched the word extensively.)

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Re: Where did Push bike come from?

Postby Scott_C » Wed Jul 26, 2017 1:56 pm

Having a look through the old Australian newspapers in Trove it appears that the term "Push-Bike" made its first appearance on the 7th July 1906 in an advertisement of a motorcycle for sale and offering a trade-in for a push-bike.

Velocipede (1822) and Bicycle (1869) considerably pre-date the usage of push-bike. The first usage of Motorbike (1897) is contemporary with the first usage of push-bike so I'd suspect that "push-bike" was coined as a somewhat perjorative term for a non-motorised bicycle in comparison to the effortless equivalent of a motorbike.

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Re: Where did Push bike come from?

Postby piledhigher » Wed Jul 26, 2017 2:15 pm

human909 wrote:It is a bicycle. Or a bike for short. Calling it a push bike lengthens the original shortening is a little absurd.

A push bike is word invented by Australian motorists to differentiate them from a motorised 'bike'. As far as I know the phrase doesn't exist outside of Australia and NZ.

(That is my belief anyway. Though I can't say that I've researched the word extensively.)
In America they ten to use bicyclist (which I hate, it just sounds awkward) to distinguish the non motorized version..

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Re: Where did Push bike come from?

Postby Scott_C » Wed Jul 26, 2017 2:46 pm

From The Bolton Evening News Manchester, Wednesday 24 December 1902:
the push-biker, as the ordinary cyclist is being termed to distinguish him from his motor friends
So there we go, it seems to originally be a British usage that, at the time of first use, was a way to differentiate between traditional cyclists and the new motorcyclists. As to why they used push-bike rather than the more accurate pedal-cycle I cannot tell.
Last edited by Scott_C on Wed Jul 26, 2017 5:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Where did Push bike come from?

Postby uart » Wed Jul 26, 2017 2:52 pm

piledhigher wrote:
human909 wrote:It is a bicycle. Or a bike for short. Calling it a push bike lengthens the original shortening is a little absurd.

A push bike is word invented by Australian motorists to differentiate them from a motorised 'bike'. As far as I know the phrase doesn't exist outside of Australia and NZ.

(That is my belief anyway. Though I can't say that I've researched the word extensively.)
In America they ten to use bicyclist (which I hate, it just sounds awkward) to distinguish the non motorized version..
Yeah, "bicycle" is three syllables whereas "push bike" is only two. So it is a contraction, at least in terms of spoken English. As with most things, in context you can usually get away with less information. On these forums for example, when someone says "bike' we know they mean push bike or bicycle. On a motoring forum however, I'd probably have to say push bike (or bicycle) or some readers would assume motor bike.

As others have said, the push in "push bike" refers to having to push on the pedals to make it move. It only came about to distinguish from motorized versions once they became a thing.

Lots of things get named like this, and then the extra adjective gets dropped after (if) it they become the dominant form. The car used to be called the "motor car", which was a shortened form of "motorized carriage", which distinguished it from the existing non motorized or horse drawn carriages.

When I was a kid we didn't have radios, we had transistor radios or "trannies" (and yes we had no idea what a transvestite was back then, so there was no confusion). Obviously all contemporary radios use transistors (even if part of an integrated circuit chip) so no one is going to bother with the transistor part of the description.

Some people will be reading this post on their digital computer.
Last edited by uart on Wed Jul 26, 2017 6:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Where did Push bike come from?

Postby Thoglette » Wed Jul 26, 2017 4:03 pm

human909 wrote: A push bike is word invented by Australian motorists to differentiate them from a motorised 'bike'. As far as I know the phrase doesn't exist outside of Australia and NZ.
(That is my belief anyway. Though I can't say that I've researched the word extensively.)
No :-). A very quick google quotes the phrase used in "The Dispatch-Riders" by Percy F. Westerman which was published in the UK in 1915.

Now m'bikes had been around for quite while by then, so it's not clear if "push" originally meant "no motor" or whether it relates to the original (pedaless) velocipedes. Something for someone with better google-fu (or dictionary collection) than I
Last edited by Thoglette on Wed Jul 26, 2017 4:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Where did Push bike come from?

Postby WyvernRH » Wed Jul 26, 2017 4:08 pm

uart wrote:Some people will be reading this post on their digital computer.
Heh, I doubt many people on this list would have encountered an analog computer or know what one might look like.
I was involved with various types quite extensively in my distant youth, :) from models you could put in your pocket to ones you could walk around inside.

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Re: Where did Push bike come from?

Postby baabaa » Wed Jul 26, 2017 4:46 pm

Yes, in use well before the motor bikes or cars became common in Australia as both of these cost way more than most people could afford to buy or even maintain. Maybe more common in use at the time when you could do the Simplex type bolt on cycle attachment engine thing to your bike. The overlanders like Francis Birtles used "pushbike" to help sell books. The old shearers safety bikes was a “push-bike” as you would load them up ride if and when you could and then push through the mud or rubbish brindle tracks and rocky roads when you could not.
In India bikes like a traditional working type Heros are called push cycles. If you visit and need tubes a patch or other bicycle bits asking about and calling them “push bi cycle” will help you find the around the corner bike type shop and not directed miles away to a scooter or moped repairer.

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Re: Where did Push bike come from?

Postby AUbicycles » Wed Jul 26, 2017 4:57 pm

Here I am considering the pull-bike.... which I googled.
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Re: Where did Push bike come from?

Postby Mulger bill » Wed Jul 26, 2017 9:18 pm

WyvernRH wrote:
uart wrote:Some people will be reading this post on their digital computer.
Heh, I doubt many people on this list would have encountered an analog computer or know what one might look like.
I was involved with various types quite extensively in my distant youth, :) from models you could put in your pocket to ones you could walk around inside.

Richard
Operated plenty in my day, this was the biggest :)
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Re: Where did Push bike come from?

Postby WyvernRH » Wed Jul 26, 2017 10:02 pm

Mulger bill wrote:
WyvernRH wrote:
uart wrote:Some people will be reading this post on their digital computer.
Heh, I doubt many people on this list would have encountered an analog computer or know what one might look like.
I was involved with various types quite extensively in my distant youth, :) from models you could put in your pocket to ones you could walk around inside.

Richard
Operated plenty in my day, this was the biggest :)
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Ooooh Impressive! I hadn't considered those. The ones I worked with were mainly for on the fly calculations (cylindrical slide rule) or to throw large amounts of metal accurately at far away things....

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Re: Where did Push bike come from?

Postby RobertL » Thu Jul 27, 2017 10:18 am

WyvernRH wrote:
uart wrote:Some people will be reading this post on their digital computer.
Heh, I doubt many people on this list would have encountered an analog computer or know what one might look like.
I was involved with various types quite extensively in my distant youth, :) from models you could put in your pocket to ones you could walk around inside.

Richard
I can remember learning how to use an abacus in about grade 1 or 2, but I think that was only something the teacher did to amuse us.

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Re: Where did Push bike come from?

Postby kb » Thu Jul 27, 2017 11:23 am

WyvernRH wrote:
uart wrote:Some people will be reading this post on their digital computer.
Heh, I doubt many people on this list would have encountered an analog computer or know what one might look like.
That would be a "person". Whoops, did I go back too far?

Never seen a computer but I used to have a cool mechanical calculator.
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Re: Where did Push bike come from?

Postby Thoglette » Thu Jul 27, 2017 11:45 am

WyvernRH wrote: or to throw large amounts of metal accurately at far away things....
A ex-chief I used to work with recalled rebuilding his one several times during one port visit. Because when he checked the location accuracy against a tower marked on the charts, it was always out by about 20 yards.

Had him stumped - he couldn't work out what he was doing wrong. Eventually he found out the tower had been rebuilt recently - just next door to the old one.
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Re: Where did Push bike come from?

Postby ColinOldnCranky » Thu Jul 27, 2017 2:58 pm

My understanding that the first workable "real" bike would be the Penny Farthing aka "boneshaker". It had spoked wheels and, although not geared, it had a usable mechanical advantage so you could go at a reasonable clip for good didstances compared to other modes of transport including the horse.. That was mid 19th century. But it was not useful on lumpy roads and hard to wheel along when not able to pedal up steep slopes etc, dangerous on down slopes and any time you hit a bump then, due a little to the height but mostly due to the location of the cyclist too far forward you came off the front tangled up with the handle bars and landed with the whole heavy thing following the riders trajectory and landing on him. (Whatton bars behind the legs made it safer but impossible to free mount.) It was basically a recreational toy for the idle.

So it was no surprise that the advent of the safety bike in the 1880's pretty much killed off the PF. Indeed the "safety" was so practical that that the birth of popular cycling could probably be slated back to then.

Prior to then the normal life experience of the bulk of the population of Europe was to never have been much more than 20 miles or so from their birthplace. But with advent of the safety bike people migrated across continents with their gear strapped to bike (maybe why they are also called "push" bikes). Australia very much used the bike for opening up new regions such as goldfields and new agricultural lands.

So I'd say around 1880's would be a date to consider. Wired spoked wheels, pneumatic tyres (I'm only guessing about here), geared and easy to ride. And 1still the basis of our bikes 130 years later.

I turned up this from Google Scholar that may be of use (I have only partially scanned it quickly.) https://books.google.com.au/books?hl=en ... 22&f=false Anyway a useful search term for Google is "safety bike".
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Re: Where did Push bike come from?

Postby westab » Thu Jul 27, 2017 3:35 pm

Man this is an interesting topic - adding my 2c worth.

The "Push Bike" according to my dad was due to the "safety bike" being different to the Penny Farthing, scooters, Tri-cycles, and any other non-chain driven types of cycles.

Basically the Penny Farthing and children's tri-cycles (etc..) were driven by the large front wheel that "pulled" the bike along as opposed to the chain driven "safety bike" that drove by the rear wheel and pushed the rest of the bike (and the rider) along.

In my fathers day as a boy to have your first "Push bike" was part of the growing up process and gave greater freedom as you could travel out of town. Home was very small town in the Adelaide hills called Tarlee.

This may not be the official line on them being called a push bike - but it makes sense to me (even if I think like my crazy Dad).
Not fast, no style, but still get there.

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Re: Where did Push bike come from?

Postby ColinOldnCranky » Thu Jul 27, 2017 4:37 pm

westab wrote:Man this is an interesting topic - adding my 2c worth.

The "Push Bike" according to my dad was due to the "safety bike" being different to the Penny Farthing, scooters, Tri-cycles, and any other non-chain driven types of cycles.

Basically the Penny Farthing and children's tri-cycles (etc..) were driven by the large front wheel that "pulled" the bike along as opposed to the chain driven "safety bike" that drove by the rear wheel and pushed the rest of the bike (and the rider) along.

In my fathers day as a boy to have your first "Push bike" was part of the growing up process and gave greater freedom as you could travel out of town. Home was very small town in the Adelaide hills called Tarlee.

This may not be the official line on them being called a push bike - but it makes sense to me (even if I think like my crazy Dad).
Your post sgues into some oddities and variants that existed in even the Penny Farthings. There were chain driven versions in Australia. The chain geared the front wheel so that it could be smaller.

There were also variants that had the smaller wheel at the front and where the larger driving wheel was at the back pushing just as modern bikes were. I have no idea what advantage this inferred upon the cycle though.

Yep, many variations to improve upon the basic PF but, in the end, it was the safety bike that worked well enough to popularize cycling.
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Re: Where did Push bike come from?

Postby Mulger bill » Thu Jul 27, 2017 7:29 pm

WyvernRH wrote:Ooooh Impressive! I hadn't considered those.
Thanks, best time of my career was spent with that beautiful but slightly cantankerous old lady. Still get twinges in my shoulder occasionally from the many times she reminded me not to be silly. If you're that way inclined, there's a little tech background HERE
WyvernRH wrote:...or to throw large amounts of metal accurately at far away things....
You're talking the RN fire control table? Now that's impressive! 8)
Don't suppose you could suggest further reading because I'm very inclined :D
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Re: Where did Push bike come from?

Postby WyvernRH » Fri Jul 28, 2017 8:39 am

Mulger bill wrote: Don't suppose you could suggest further reading because I'm very inclined :D
At the risk of highjacking the thread you might find this article interesting:
https://arstechnica.com/information-tec ... the-waves/

I'll look up some 'paper' book titles and PM you.

Richard

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Re: Where did Push bike come from?

Postby gorilla monsoon » Mon Aug 07, 2017 10:02 am

human909 wrote:It is a bicycle. Or a bike for short. Calling it a push bike lengthens the original shortening is a little absurd.

A push bike is word invented by Australian motorists to differentiate them from a motorised 'bike'. As far as I know the phrase doesn't exist outside of Australia and NZ.

(That is my belief anyway. Though I can't say that I've researched the word extensively.)
According to the Oxford Dictionary of English you'd be wrong. It defines "pushbike" as a "British noun" used as the "informal term for a bicycle".
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