The History of Bicycles Reading Questions and Answers

The Blog post contains the following IELTS Reading Questions:

  • IELTS Reading Summary Completion
  • IELTS Reading True/False/Not Given
  • IELTS Reading Sentence Completion

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IELTS Reading Passage – The History of Bicycle

The History of Bicycle

The bicycle was not built by a single individual or in a single nation. The modern bicycle took approximately 100 years and several people invented it. By the time those 100 years were over, bicycles had changed how people traveled.

Bicycles were first seen in Scotland in the early 1800s, where they were called velocipedes. These bicycles were two-wheeled but without pedals. The velocipede’s rider pushed it forward by sitting on a pillow and moving his feet along the road.

Immediately after that, a French inventor somehow added new pedals to the front wheel. Instead of walking, passengers used their feet to move the pedals of their bikes. Unfortunately, it was difficult to pedal since the velocipedes were so heavy. The wooden tires were covered with steel, and the framework was built of solid steel tubes. Still, velocipedes were popular with affluent young men who raced them in Paris parks.

Nobody considered using velocipedes for transportation as they were so difficult to ride. People did not ride velocipedes to the markets or their workplaces. Instead, people would think velocipedes are toys.

Around 1870, American manufacturers noticed that velocipedes were quite popular overseas. They also began building velocipedes, but there was one difference. They built the framework with hollow steel tubes.

Although this modification made velocipedes considerably lighter, riders still had to work very hard to pedal, even for a short distance. Furthermore, steering was challenging due to the bumpy roads. In fact, the majority of riders preferred indoor tracks where they could rent a velocipede and take riding lessons for a nominal fee.

To improve the efficiency of pedaling, British engineers made subsequent changes to the wheels. They claim that every time a rider rotated the pedals, the front wheel also turned once. If the bicycle’s front wheel was small, it would only travel a short distance with each turn.

They believed that if a bicycle’s front wheel was larger, it would travel a greater distance. So they manufactured a bicycle with a huge front wheel. They reduced the size of the rear wheel. Its basic objective was to help the cyclist’s balance. It was difficult to balance since the cyclist had to be seated far above the huge front wheel to reach the pedals.

This meant that if he lost his balance, he could fall off the bicycle and hurt himself. Despite the obvious risk, “high wheelers” gained a lot of popularity in England.

Once again, American manufacturers tried to build a better bicycle. Their objective was to design a safer bicycle. They swapped the huge front wheel with a smaller one and placed the drive system in the larger rear wheel. Engineers built a set of foot levers since pedaling the rear wheel would be impossible for a person to do. The rider pushed a long metal bar up and down by pressing the right one first and then the left one. This bar was able to turn the rear axle. More and more people started using bicycles for regular activities as the rear wheel was moved by this axle, reducing the inherent dangers of riding a bicycle.

One final change was made to the design by the British. They matched the sizes of the two wheels and built a mechanism that spins the rear wheel through a chain. The modern bicycle was born after this final alteration.

Bicycles were later improved with features like lights, brakes, and rubber tires to make riding them more comfortable. By 1900, bicycle riding had become quite popular among men and women of all ages. Bicycles changed the way individuals all over the globe rode bicycles for transportation, entertainment, sport, and fitness.

*axle: the center bar of a wheel

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The History of Bicycle Reading Questions

Questions 1 – 6

Complete the sentences. Choose NO MORE THAN THREE WORDS from the passage above for each answer.

The creation of the bicycle involved not only one individual or country, but the entire world over a (1.) ______ years. In the early decades of the 1800s, this invention named velocipedes was first found in Scotland. These bicycles had two wheels, but no (2.) _______ and did not resemble the bicycles of today. To push the velocipede forward, the rider sat on a pillow and moved his feet along the ground. A French inventor soon installed pedals to the front wheel. However, they were considered as (3.) ________, because it was difficult to ride them, and no one used them in daily life. By 1870, American manufacturers realized that this product was famous (4.) __________, but with one difference: frameworks were built from (5.) _________, which made them considerably light. Soon after, the British engineers found a way for pedaling more efficiently by turning the pedals one at a time. They manufactured a bicycle with a huge front wheel. But, it was extremely challenging to maintain balance since the rider had to sit quite high above the large front wheel. Americans invented the safer bicycle. They created the rear (6.) ______ to reduce the risk of falling and being injured. Finally, the British altered the design one more time, adding two wheels of equal size and a mechanism that allows a chain to rotate the rear wheel. Hence, the example of the modern bicycle was invented.Click here to know more about the

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Questions 7 – 10

Do the following statements agree with the information given in the Reading Passage?

WriteTRUE if the statement agrees with the information
FALSE if the statement contradicts the information
NOT GIVEN if there is no information on this

7. To make pedaling more efficient, British inventors brought changes to the wheels.
8. Americans were the only ones who invented the bicycle.
9. The velocipedes were very difficult to lead because of their weight.
10. The alteration of velocipedes made people’s lives considerably easier.

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Questions 11 -13

Complete the sentences. Choose NO MORE THAN THREE WORDS from the passage for each answer.

11. American engineers created a set of ________ that were moved by pressing the right pedal first, then the left pedal.
12. The last change in the creation of the modern bicycle was making both wheels of equal size and spinning the rear wheel using a ________.
13. The British inventors thought the bicycle would cover a comparatively longer distance if the front wheel was larger in ______.

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The History of Bicycle Reading Answers

1. Hundred (H6)
2. Pedals
3. Toys
4. Overseas
5. hollow steel tubes
6. Axle
7. True
8. False
9. True
10. Not Given
11. foot levers
12. Chain
13. Size


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