Salty Sam’s Fun Blog for Children

Number 229



Hello Everyone



Bill and Bob are very lucky that they have a park very near to them.  ln fact, the back of their cottage – Primrose Cottage, overlooks it.


There, there is plenty of space to play football and ride their bicycles around.  This is great because the garden at the back of their cottage is really quite small.


Have you ever wondered when the bicycle was invented?


People were riding them before cars were invented. 


There doesn’t seem to be one story that tells about the invention of the bicycle. 


Many people claim credit for inventing the first bicycle.


lt is said that Giovanni Fontana built the first human-powered, land vehicle with four wheels and used an endless rope connecting gears to wheels.  He lived in Venice in the 15th century.


Of course, before this, there were boats and horse-drawn carts, but this new idea meant that a human could control a vehicle that would take them across land much faster than walking without the help of an animal.


History gets a bit foggy after that; but we do know of the dandy horse (also known by other names like ‘running machine’) which was invented by Karl von Drais.  He said that he was able to cover a distance of eight miles in less than an hour. 


Thousands were made and were seen on the streets of Paris in 1816.


The dandy horse was the earliest bicycle known of in modern times.


They say that necessity is the mother of invention and Karl invented the human-powered vehicle during a shortage of horses.


Not long before, in 1815, Mount Tambora had erupted on a remote island in the lndian Ocean.  The eruption was the largest of the 19th century.  


This resulted in a huge amount of dust being blasted into the upper atmosphere which in turn had a catastrophic effect on the weather. 


ln fact, 1816 was know as the year without a summer.


The crops failed and massive starvation and the widespread slaughter of horses followed.


With a shortage of horses to use for transport, people started to think of other ways they could move about over long distances.


The dandy horse was made entirely of wood and had a steerable front wheel.  People did not lift their feet off the ground completely – there were no pedals.  They would sit on the centre portion and move along by pushing on the ground with their feet so they could create a gliding walk.


The next year there was a bumper harvest.  The dandy horses, which could not balance well on the rutted roads of the time, were banned from the pavements because they had caused so many accidents, and the fad was just about over. 


Although in 1839, a Scottish blacksmith called Kirkpatrick Macmillan invented a way of pedalling his dandy horse using cranks and rods attached to the back wheel – the next stage in the evolution of the bicycle had taken place.


Many years later, in 1860, a similar vehicle was invented.  lt was called a velocipede and later dubbed the bone-shaker – this vehicle had steel wheels and pedals.  The pedals were on the front wheel.  The velocipede was seen in large cities and was called a bone-shaker because the people who rode one would be jolted about so much on the cobbles that paved the streets.


ln 1871, another machine was invented.  This time the front wheel was much bigger than the back.  For the first time, technology allowed all the parts to be made of metal.  Solid rubber tyres gave the rider a smoother ride than its predecessors and the larger wheel meant that the rider could go further with one rotation of the pedals.  This invention was the first to be called a bicycle, in fact the exact name was ‘ordinary bicycle’ – meaning a cycle with two wheels.  You may know it as a penny farthing.  lt could travel quite fast and was popular with young men of the time – l guess you could call them the boy racers of their day! 


However, it was difficult to pedal a wheel that was used for steering, and if you had an accident and fell off, it was a long drop to the ground.


Ladies, who in those days wore long skirts and corsets which restricted movement, and professional men like doctors and lawyers, preferred to ride on tricycles or quadracycles.  These were, of course, large enough for adults to sit comfortably on.


ln 1885, British inventor John Kemp Starley designed the ‘safety bicycle’ with a steerable front wheel.  The two wheels were equally-sized.  Pedals drove the rear wheel by means of a chain as they do on the bikes we ride today.


The pneumatic tyre was first fitted to a tricycle by an lrish vet called Dunlop in 1888 because he wanted to give his ailing son a more comfortable ride.


ln the 1890s, bicycles were being mass produced.  Bicycling gave people the freedom to travel far distances on vehicles that were within the price range of ordinary workers.


They were much safer to ride than the penny farthings.


ln the beginning cycling was only for men and when women started riding bicycles in the late Victorian Era they met with a lot of disapproval.


Ladies wore bloomers instead of skirts so that they could now ride bicycles but still keep their legs covered (in order to show modesty).  This craze for riding bicycles helped to end the era of the corset.  Women wanted to have fun and freedom more than have the tiny waists that being tapped in a corset produced!


ln the 1920s, children’s bicycles were invented, BMX bikes originated from California in the 1970s, and in the 1980s mountain bikes and exercise bicycles became popular – people could exercise without travelling anywhere in the comfort of their homes.


Bicycles were a very popular mode of transport in World War ll because petrol was on ration and hard to get hold of.  What petrol there was was put into vehicles being used for the war effort. 


Military vehicles were allowed to have petrol and so were fire engines and ambulances. 


Doctors could have petrol because they needed it to travel to patients in sick beds in their homes.  Doctors also had priority for new cars. 


The fuel for tractors was dyed pink.  This was only supposed to be used on farms and if someone was caught driving a car that had pink petrol in it, they would be in trouble with the police.


Family cars were very often put up on blocks for the duration of the war – they weren’t going anywhere!  And so if people wanted personal transport, bicycles were the ideal choice.


ln the 21st century, technology continues to improve the bicycle.  Components are becoming lighter without losing any strength.  Folding bikes can be easily be taken on trains and used when a traveller or commuter reaches their destination. 


Modern bikes have many speed options.


Bicycles are popular with adults and children today.  They are cheaper to use than public transport and are especially popular in places that are flat like Holland and cities where specially designated cycle lanes make travelling easy.


Bill and Bob think that cycling in the park is fun but when they saw the pictures that are in the picture gallery this week they said they were glad they ride on modern bikes!



Bye bye everyone – don’t forget to subscribe to my blog!


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Thank you!


And see you again next Fun Friday!


Love and kisses



Salty Sam





Bill and Bob’s Joke of the Weekjokejoke


Bill: Why does my bicycle keep falling over?


Bob: l don’t know.  Why does your bicycle keep falling over?


Bill: Because it is two tired!



Salty Sam © Christina Sinclair 2015

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of material from this blog without express and written permission from this blog’s author and owner is strictly prohibited.

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Picture Gallery


Mount Tambora


Riding a bicycle was faster than walking


The Dandy Horse


The Bone-shaker

Somebody decided to put a horse’s head on this bicycle


The Penny-Farthing


A tandem



Edwardian bicycles – the lady in the centre of the picture is wearing bloomers


Modern bicycles are light and fast


A penny farthing









This week Bill and Bob were telling me about their end of term party.

Everyone took in some food or drink and they had a lot of fun.

But the next day, they all had to do a lot of tidying up because their classroom was going to be painted during the holidays.

Miss Pringle said that they had to do everything they could to help the painters be able to get to the walls and do a good job.

All the children packed their things that had been left in their boxes at the back of the classroom to take home over the summer holidays – they couldn’t believe how many empty crisp packets and sweet wrappers were in there!

The bin became so full that Miss Pringle had to get a refuse sack from Mr Grump the school caretaker to carry all the extra rubbish out of the classroom.

Any old paper that they didn’t want anymore, they recycled, but of course the children wanted to take all their paintings and pieces of writing that had been put up on the notice boards home with them.

Miss Pringle asked the children what colour they would like their classroom to be painted.  A lot of the boys wanted it to be blue but some of the girls said that blue was quite a cold colour – especially in the winter and pink would be much nicer.

The boys didn’t want pink.

Some of the children said that yellow would be a really cheerful colour to have on a dull, winter’s day.  One little girl wanted mauve because that was the same colour as her bedroom and Roger, the class wit, said that he wanted the classroom to be painted bright orange to match his hair!

Miss Pringle said that there clearly wasn’t going to be a consensus on the matter – that means everyone agreeing – so the best thing to do was to just paint the classroom white. 

When they had a lovely coat of new, fresh paint on the walls they could add lots of different colours with all the new paintings they were going to make in the new school year.

She also said that she had noticed that the flower bed outside the classroom window was getting a bit bare, and if anyone could bring in some plants in the new term, they could plant them in the soil and try and get them established before the winter came.

So Bill and Bob asked Auntie Alice if she had any plants that she could spare from her enormous garden and she suggested they take in some hydrangeas because she had made some stem cuttings from her plants and they were doing quite well in her greenhouse. 



She said they were easy plants to make from cuttings – all you had to do was take a stem without a flower on it and push it into a pot.

She said that they were the kind of plants that could look after themselves in the school grounds – as after all, Mr Grump had enough things to do. 

Hydrangeas would be just about the right height to poke their heads up above the bottom of the windows so that the children could see the lovely flowers, but wouldn’t grow so high that they would start blocking the light.

She said that the flower heads would be pink or blue depending on what the soil was like outside the classroom but to make sure you get blue flowers you had to add aluminum sulphate to the soil and to get pink ones you could add phosphorus.

In this way, maybe the boys and girls would both be happy.

But she didn’t think she had an orange hydrangea for Roger! 

She could find a white one for him instead.

So the school will soon shut down for the summer and some refurbishments will take place. 

Bill and Bob saw a new notice put up near the entrance to the school as they were cycling past recently.  It said ‘slow children crossing’ which they were a bit unhappy about.  They complained that they didn’t think that they were slow at all, and that actually they were quite good at learning their lessons.

I explained to them that the notice told the drivers of cars to slow down as they approached the school because there would be a lot of children crossing the road at certain times of the day.  It didn’t mean that the children were slow!

When road signs are written, the people writing them know that the people reading them as they drive past don’t have much time to read many words, so they put the fewest words they can – but of course the sign still has to make sense!









Quick Quiz


What do these expressions mean?


  1. To be two-faced
  2. To be in two minds
  3. Two heads are better than one
  4. To put two and two together
  5. Not short of a bob or two
  6. Once bitten twice shy
  7. To know a thing or two







lt’s the Weekend!




This cat suit is really easy to make.

It is made in two halves.



Using 4mm knitting needles and white dk yarn cast on 20 stitches

Knit 2 rows of garter stitch

Knit 38 rows of stocking stitch

Decrease 2 stitches at the beginning of the next 2 rows of stocking stitch

Knit 30 rows of garter stitch

Cast off



With right sides together and using over-sew stitching sew up the front and back seam and the inside legs of the trousers

Crochet 50 chain stitches into a length of yarn to match or to contrast leaving a small length of yarn each end

Tie this around the waist

Then sew some straps to the front of the top (1cm each side of the centre seam at the front) and tie them around your doll’s neck.  (Crochet 25 chains into 2 lengths of white yarn to make the straps.)



Please note that the material on this blog is for personal use and for use in classrooms only.

It is a copyright infringement and, therefore, illegal under international law to sell items made with these patterns.

Use of the toys and projects is at your own risk.

©Christina Sinclair Designs 2015sand



Quick Quiz Answers


  1. To be two-faced – to say one thing when really you believe the opposite
  2. To be in two minds – to not be able to decide between one decision and another
  3. Two heads are better than one – two people making a decision might have more ideas or better ideas than one person alone
  4. To put two and two together – to put two or more facts together in order to better understand a situation
  5. Not short of a bob or two – to have plenty of money (a bob is another word for a shilling of the old money used before 1971)
  6. Once bitten twice shy – if you have been upset by something going wrong, you are reluctant to put yourself in a similar situation again because you are frightened of it going wrong again
  7. To know a thing or two – to be experienced


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