Regarding left-side drive on bikes:
Now BMX bikes, notably high end 'freestyle' or skatepark ('park') bikes have left-side drive. I believe the reason for the change has to do with the fact that most riders have a favorite side on which they grind (i.e. ride on the pegs - e.g. pool lips, stair railings, etc), and this is often on the right (strong side due to right handed/right footed). Thus the drive gets damaged doing this, and the chainring has a propensity to interfere with or get hung up on obstacles, more easily causing a crash, or at least preventing a good long grind.
Of course this necessitates a left-side drive cassette hub (cassettes are favored over freewheels because they are stronger, but more importantly this allows one to run a smaller rear cog, and the smaller the rear cog, the smaller the corresponding chainring you can run, which on a 20" wheel bike makes a big difference in clearance for obstacles). No, you can't just use a flip/flop, or lace the hub the other way around - the freewheel threading would go the wrong way, as would the cassette pawls - it's a custom setup. I rode one since 02, and it does not feel weird in any way, you don't even notice it.
I think I'll buy an LSD BMX hub to lace my next set fixie/MTB wheels to, just to freak everyone out :)
Bill Roberts Jacksonville, OR -----Original Message----- From: email@example.com [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]On Behalf Of Michael Francis Butler Sent: Friday, October 14, 2005 11:07 AM To: Crumpy6204@aol.com Cc: email@example.com Subject: [CR]Chainsets Roads Right or Left?
Dear John, The simple answer is so that it easier to shoot or wound someone with a sword most of us are right handers. Now the complicated expanation from the net:
Try to be tolerant. Seven hundred years ago everybody used the English system, and if distressing numbers of us have proven fickle in the centuries since, that's no reason to dump on the Brits.
In the Middle Ages you kept to the left for the simple reason that you never knew who you'd meet on the road in those days. You wanted to make sure that a stranger passed on the right so you could go for your sword in case he proved unfriendly.
This custom was given official sanction in 1300 AD, when Pope Boniface VIII invented the modern science of traffic control by declaring that pilgrims headed to Rome should keep left.
The papal system prevailed until the late 1700s, when teamsters in the United States and France began hauling farm products in big wagons pulled by several pairs of horses.
These wagons had no driver's seat. Instead the driver sat on the left rear horse, so he could keep his right arm free to lash the team.
Since you were sitting on the left, naturally you wanted everybody to pass on the left so you could look down and make sure you kept clear of the other guy's wheels. Ergo, you kept to the right side of the road.
The first known keep-right law in the U.S. was enacted in Pennsylvania in 1792, and in the ensuing years many states and Canadian provinces followed suit.
In France the keep-right custom was established in much the same way. An added impetus was that, this being the era of the French Revolution and all, people figured, hey, no pope gonna tell ME what to do. (See above.)
Later Napoleon enforced the keep-right rule in all countries occupied by his armies. The custom endured even after the empire was destroyed.
In small-is-beautiful England, though, they didn't use monster wagons that required the driver to ride a horse. Instead the guy sat on a seat mounted on the wagon.
What's more, he usually sat on the right side of the seat so the whip wouldn't hang up on the load behind him when he flogged the horses. (Then as now, most people did their flogging right-handed.)
So the English continued to drive on the left, not realizing that the tide of history was running against them and they would wind up being ridiculed by folks like you with no appreciation of life's little ironies.
Keeping left first entered English law in 1756, with the enactment of an ordinance governing traffic on the London Bridge, and ultimately became the rule throughout the British Empire.
The trend among nations over the years has been toward driving on the right, but Britain has done its best to stave off global homogenization.
Its former colony India remains a hotbed of leftist sentiment, as does Indonesia, which was occupied by the British in the early 19th century. The English minister to Japan achieved the coup of his career in 1859 when he persuaded his hosts to make keep-left the law in the future home of Toyota and Mitsubishi.
Nonetheless, the power of the right has been growing steadily. When Germany annexed Austria in 1938, it brutally suppressed the latter's keep-left rights, and much the same happened in Czechoslovakia in 1939.
The last holdouts in mainland Europe, the Swedes, finally switched to the right in 1967 because most of the countries they sold Saabs and Volvos to were righties and they got tired of having to make different versions for domestic use and export.
The current battleground is the island of Timor. The Indonesians, who own west Timor, have been whiling away the hours exterminating the native culture of the east Timorese.
The issue? Some say it's religion, some say it's language, but I know the truth: in east Timor they drive on the right, in west Timor they drive on the left.
Regarding the chain drive side I remember seeing some Russian International track riders at Herne Hill in the early 1960 who were riding Russian built bikes with the chain drive on the opposite side to us. Strange sight. Mick Butler Huntingdon UK -- Michael Francis Butler firstname.lastname@example.org