Yorkshire was privileged this year to host “The Tour de France Grand Depart”. The two stages from Leeds to Harrogate via the Yorkshire Dales and York to Sheffield via the Pennines were a great advert for Yorkshire showing the beauty of region to the world. On Sunday 6th July after much preparation and anticipation the race passed through the village of Haworth.

The peloton rounds the corner into Bridgehouse Lane, Haworth opposite the entrance to Airedale Springs.

With the Tour de France nearing its conclusion bicycles are pretty high profile at the moment. With the event starting in Yorkshire  they are currently enjoying a colossal amount of exposure, and despite the rather disappointing performance of Team Sky this year, it’s an opportune moment to see just how far bike design has now come and how springs have played their part.

Early Bicycles

Early bicycles were a far cry from the sleek and streamlined devices that we’re used to seeing in the modern world, and the very first forerunner of the bicycle was actually pushed along using the users own feet (see right)! Even when mechanical innovations allowed bicycles to utilise the methods of propulsion that we’re accustomed to today, there were still many teething problems to overcome.

The Penny Farthing (see left) is probably the best known experimental form of the bicycle to most of the general public, and these rather cumbersome creations were both rather too high in the seat and distributed weight very poorly, so there is perhaps little wonder that they were relatively short-lived. Other early bicycles addressed some of these problems, but in doing so made new ones. The dwarf ordinary (see below right), for example, used the front wheel for the situation of the foot pedals and as a means of steering; a system that thankfully didn’t last long.

The first ‘true’ bicycle in a modern sense had to wait until 1885 to be introduced, almost 40 years after the initial efforts were unveiled, and from that point onward bicycles have become ever more sophisticated. From pneumatic tyres to mechanisms that enable free-wheeling, bicycles have come a long way, and some of these refined capabilities are undoubtedly due to the incorporation of springs.

Springs in Bicycles

Suspension has been an important part of all vehicular developments – the problems created by a lack of impact absorption are too numerous to mention, after all – and effective suspension systems are fundamentally based upon the elasticity of springs. Modern bikes also make heavy use of springs within their gears and breaks. It’s fair to say that the UK’s recent cycling dominance at the Olympics and the Tour de France (this year not withstanding!) could never have happened without the use of springs.

At Airedale Springs, components like our compression springs and wire forms regularly find their way into bicycles of all shapes and sizes, including a setters test piece!  Take a look at the image on the left to see a two piece bicycle wireform manufactured on a Wafios FMU 1.7

We’re especially fond of this mode of transport because of its extremely eco-friendly nature; environmentally friendliness is a huge business priority for us, and we are in full support of always doing what we can in this area. Of course, our springs are used in huge array of areas too, and it’s fair to say that we can create a spring for almost any application that you can think of. To find out more, contact us now by calling 01535 643456 or email sales@www.airedalesprings.co.uk.