INDEX

BET YOU DIDN'T KNOW
The inventor of the tandem never intended it to be ridden by two people.

Buzz Aldrin, the second man to walk on the moon, brought a bicycle bell with him and rang it constantly, annoying Neil Armstrong and mission control. He later accidentally left it behind, where it remains to this day.

Tour de France winners undergo a secret initiation involving a malformed baguette and a recording of Placido Domingo. It is not painful but it makes one think.

Robert Wadlow, the world's tallest man who ever lived, had a custom-built Raleigh given as a gift to him by the king of Persia. It was later stolen by the world's second tallest man, who was observed to adjust the saddle height slightly before making his getaway.

Immediately after Thomas Stevens completed the first circumnavigation of the globe on two wheels in 1887, he did it again, backwards, playing an out-of-tune harpsichord. He was later found in an asylum in Grand Rapids, Michigan, proposing marriage to a corset.

The inventor of the derailleur got the idea after watching a midget fall off a donkey in a pantomime.

Nostradamus predicted the increasing use of carbon-fibre in frames and components on the very folio page containing the infamous stanza about the London fire.

Double-butting is the oldest process known to man and is mentioned in the bible 17 times.

A bicycle will not float in the Dead Sea unless a rabbi performs a special ceremony.

Reynolds tubing is impervious to x-ray vision.

More people are injured every year on the internet arguing about helmets than in all road accidents in recorded cycling history.

It only takes two thin spokes to make a wheel strong enough to hold the weight of a rider. The rest are spares but are required under a law drafted in the 1920s which has never been repealed.

A domestic cat can ride a bicycle and will, if given the opportunity; but it does not know how to brake and cannot be trained. Every year dozens of cats are lost over Beachy Head in this way.

A drawing which is clearly recognizable as a bicycle, with a rudimentary Campag rear mech, was found in the paleolithic Lascaux cave paintings in France in 1940. It later disappeared under mysterious circumstances.

Those Chinese acrobats who ride dozens to a bicycle are not permitted to fly in groups of less than 1200 on a plane.

In double-blind tests carried out by researchers it has been documented that most cyclists cannot tell the difference between titanium and aluminium frames unless they are first informed of the price.

The Brompton T6 can be taken apart and reassembled to make a completely different Brompton. The process can be repeated indefinately.

The Dali Lama rides a Cannondale Bad Boy. 'Bad Boy' in Tibetan means 'Bad Llama'.

It has been proven in laboratories that the air that you pump into your tyres has been altered by kinetic forces so that by the time it leaks out it is, on a molecular level at least, indistinguishable from Christmas pudding.

The first recorded instance of the Bonk occurred in 1840, when Jeremy Lungford collapsed and died after piloting his 'hobby horse' up Ditchling Beacon near Brighton. It later transpired that he wasn't dead, only taking a nap.

A bicycle is statistically likely to be more stolen if its handlebars are turned very slightly left rather than right, except in Devon, where the turning must be more pronounced.

The cyclists' favourite food of bananas have little basis in fact.

The fully mature human body contains enough ingredients and raw materials to make a perfectly functional miniature bicycle. Even children under five can manage a unicycle. However, as you get older you lose the ability to properly heat-treat alloys.

Good racing bikes have such little tolerance for rider error that they will kill you if left unattended.

The 'Golden Age of Bicycling' never existed. Cyclists were in fact routinely dismembered and left to their own devices if they were even caught singing 'Daisy, Daisy, give me your answer, do.' Only the foolhardy attempted the second verse.

The original utility bicycle was the brainchild of Hermann Schotelgrabner, a subaltern in the Scandinavian German Millinary. He grew bored one day and drew up plans on his socks (one of which is still extant in the Smithsonian). It was never used.

Helmets are always tested on heads of Romaine lettuce first. Disreputable labs are known to use Iceburg. This is why they should always be washed first.

Another little-know fact about helmets: the testers often give them names and grow attached to them. This is encouraged.

Optimum saddle height is a myth. Lapsed roundgitudinal forces are typcally far more important.

The Tour de France is not the oldest bicycle race in the world. That honour belongs to the Javanese, whose use of rough-hewn but basically circular stones to kill escaping missionaries - riding on them, steering with their feet - predates the Tour by centuries. They even had yellow jerseys coloured by dye from local butterflies.

If all the bicycles ever manufactured were laid end to end, they would stretch from Land's End to John O'Groats and back 374 million times, even with a side trip to Blackpool, according to the Schwarzchild equations. Others say Schwarzchild was an idiot.

The best way to properly wear in a Brooks saddle is to rub it in room temperature, taking care to avoid arrest.

According to the Guiness Book, the youngest cyclist to attempt to mend a puncture was 13-month old Jason Whippet, who used a bit of velcro from his diaper. Obviously it didn't work.