Tag Archives: Sports

Why do men’s bicycles have crossbars while women’s bicycles don’t?

Unlike other vehicles, when it comes to bicycles, we can see a classification of sorts more often than not. Even though it is not formal by any means, some types are called men’s cycles and others women’s cycles, an apparent parameter being the crossbar. The so called men’s cycles have a horizontal crossbar, creating a large triangle in its frame, but women’s cycles typically don’t. The women’s cycles rather have a slanted crossbar, although the modern concepts are blurring all these implications.
The horizontal crossbar was actually a pivotal part in the cycles in its early days. Then the cycles used to be made of weaker materials, even wood. The horizontal bar connected to the top of seat tube provided quite a bit of strength and balance to the cycle frames. This set-up is actually called diamond frame and was the usual design.
The lack of the crossbar for women’s cycles can be attributed to the social reservations and male prejudices that prevailed in the past. The primary attires of women those days were dresses and skirts which were often floor length and wide. If a woman had to ride a bicycle, she had to lift her leg over the crossbar, which made her dress to rise up, exposing more amount of leg than others would have liked or even a bit of underwear. It is unnecessary to say how scandalous and unladylike it would have been to do so in those times.
Owing to this fact, the cycle makers began to design models suited for women. They slanted the crossbar a bit such that it was connected to middle of the seat tube. It became easy for the women to mount and dismount the cycle without exposing their legs. It was also easy for elder people and people with limited dexterity to hop on the cycle without straining their body much. These types of frames were called step-through frames and became as popular the diamond frames.
This tradition has continued till date, though the reasons for it are getting insignificant these days and women rarely ride cycles in skirts or dresses. Today the cycles are made of strong materials and it compensates the absence of a crossbar.
When it comes to the sports cycles, for those who do tricks on them, they are normally built with a high crossbar; no matter whether they are for men or women. Even most of the cycle championship organizers insist on having horizontal crossbar. Most of the racers have their cycles custom built, the design suitable for their body.

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What was the origin of the Olympic Games?

The original Olympic Games were an ancient Greek festival, held at the end of every fourth year at Olympia, in Southern Greece. (See picture below.) They had a semi-religious character, and were open to members of all branches of the Greek race. During the festival no fighting was allowed anywhere in Greece. The winner of the Games received only a wreath of wild olive, but the prize was valued above anything else that a Greek could obtain. The winning of it conferred permanent glory on the country as well as the family of the victor. The first Games of which there is a record were held in 776 BC, from which year Greek dates were reckoned, each Games year being called an Olympiad. Thus, 772 BC was the second Olympiad, 768 BC the third Olympiad, and so on.
Ancient Greek Olympics
The fact that the Olympiads were made the basis of Greek chronology shows the great importance attached to these contests. The Games continued to be observed for over 1,100 years, and were not finally abolished till AD 394. The modern Olympic Games date from 1896, when an athletic meeting open to the whole world was held at Athens. Except in 1916, they have been celebrated every fourth year since, in different countries. The Games of 2012 will take place at London, UK.

More reading:
Olympic Games (Wikipedia)
Ancient Olympic Games (Wikipedia)

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Why is tennis-ball furry?

The tennis balls are made from synthetic substances and about ten different chemicals. First the sheets are made from these ingredients which are then cut into strips shaped like the numeral 8. Two strips are heated up to a certain temperature in a pressure chamber and their edges are joined with latex like adhesive. Natural atmospheric pressure is 14.7 pounds per square inch whereas the air pressure inside the ball is kept at 13 pounds per square inch. If the internal pressure is same as the external then the ball’s pitching on the court would not absorb the force of its momentum. It would bounce higher than the racket extended above the head of the opposite player, because equal air pressure inside as well as outside the ball would not allow the ball to compress as it hits the court. However, the small difference of 1.7 pounds per square inch between internal and external pressure is not adequate to keep the bounce low. Hence, a coat of furry felt comprising of nylon, wool and Dacron fibers is pasted over the ball.

As the tennis ball pitches on the ground the felt covering is compressed first and then the synthetic material beneath the felt. Both the phenomena ultimately absorb much force of impact. One of the important laws of tennis stipulates that the ball released from the height of 100 inches above the court should not bounce higher than 58 inches. This law is meant to ensure that the bounce of the ball is controlled. Another important purpose served by the furry felt is reduction in the speed of the ball through friction with the air in order to give some more time (even if it is friction of a second) to the player to return fiery service or to hit a volley. One more advantage of felt covering: It is the fibrous surface of the ball that prevents it from slipping on the catgut cord of the racket even if it is hit from the slanting angle. On the other hand playing with a fiber-less smooth ball the players find it difficult to judge where the ball will pitch.

More reading:
Tennis-ball (Wikipedia)

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