Letter Bb





Bicycle – [bahy-si-kuhl, -sik-uhl, -sahy-kuhl] – /ˈbaɪsɪkəl, -ˌsɪkəl, -ˌsaɪkəl/
Boy – [boi] – /bɔɪ/
Ball – [bawl] – /bɔl/
Bear – [bair] – /bɛər/


Bicycle – [bahy-si-kuhl, -sik-uhl, -sahy-kuhl] – /ˈbaɪsɪkəl, -ˌsɪkəl, -ˌsaɪkəl/

  • A bicycle, also called a bike or cycle, is a human-powered or motor-powered, pedal-driven, single-track vehicle, having two wheels attached to a frame, one behind the other. A bicycle rider is called a cyclist, or bicyclist.
  • Before 1840 bicycles did not have cranks until a Scottish blacksmith Kirkpatrick Macmillan made the first modern bicycle, which also featured iron rims. The bike was not a success. Before that, you had to kick yourself forward.
  • In 1868 the 80 kilogram Boneshaker was introduced. It had an iron frame, wooden wheels and iron rims – all with a very smooth ride. I think Brooks already made leather saddles back then. Finally the world had a bicycle (or a velocipede, as they called it) you could race, and in the same year they did race them. I wonder if they were shaving grams off their bikes as well?
  • The growth of bicycles started to decline with the popularization of the automobile – because riding a bike became more dangerous. Who would have seen that coming?
  • Before the safety bicycle, similar to the one we drive today – and before the invention of the sprocket-chain drive, the cranks and pedals were on the front wheel. To maximize speed, the front wheels grew to up to 64 inch diameter (that’s 163 cm in diameter), finding proper mudguards was a total hassle.
  • The longest “tandem” bike was over 20 meters long and it seated 35 people. It was recorded in the history of dumb ideas as a prime example.
  • The fastest man on a bicycle after me is surprisingly an American, John Howard who was foolish enough to ride his bicycle nearly 250 kilometers per hour in the slipstream of a specially designed car. He survived to tell the tale.
  • There are about 1 billion bicycles in the world, more than double the amount of cars. Every year, there are 50-100 million new bikes made – Statisticians never get their numbers right, dammit.
  • You can park about 15 bicycles in the same space that one car takes.
  • 25 percent of all trips are made within 2 kilometers of home, 50% are under 5 kilometers – Excellent biking distances. Over 90% of all bike trips are under 15 kilometers.
  • Cycling three hours or 30 kilometers per week halves your risk of heart disease and strokes.
  • On average, Americans use their bikes for every one trip out of a hundred trips – the Dutch use their bikes 30 times out of a hundred. If the Americans double their bike use to 2%, they would save 3.5 billion liters of gasoline annually.
  • Compared to cars, a daily 16 kilometer commute saves the rider close to 10 euros per day, 5 kilos of carbon dioxide emissions and they burn around 360 extra calories.
  • Maintaining a bike annually costs twenty times less than maintaining and riding a car.
  • The bicycle is the most efficient vehicle ever devised; a human on a bicycle is more efficient (in calories expended per kilo and per kilometer) than a train, truck, airplane, boat, car, motorcycle or jet pack. Ducks, however, are still more efficient.
  • Research has shown that tripling the number of bike riders on the street cuts motorist-bicyclist crashes in half – So let’s get more bikes out there, it’ll be safer for all of us!
  • In 1817, Karl von Drais, a German baron, invented a horseless carriage that would help him get around faster. The two-wheeled, pedal-less device was propelled by pushing your feet against the ground. The machine became known as the “draisine,” and led to the creation of the modern-day bicycle.
  • The “high wheel bicycle” (above) was a popular style in the 1870s. The term “bicycle” was not introduced until the 1860s, when it was coined in France to describe a new kind of two-wheeler with a mechanical drive.
  • Orville and Wilbur Wright, the brothers who built the first flying airplane, operated a small bike repair shop in Dayton, Ohio. (Above is one they built themselves.) They used their workshop to build the 1903 Wright Flyer.
  • Fred A. Birchmore, 25, circled the globe by bicycle in 1935. The entire trip, through Europe, Asia, and the United States, covered 40,000 miles. He pedaled about 25,000 miles. The rest was traveled by boat. He wore out seven sets of tires.
  • Bikes were first brought to China in the late 1800s. Today over a half billion bicycles pedal throughout the country.
  • In the Netherlands (above), 30 percent of all trips are on bicycle, and seven out of eight Dutch people over 15 years old have a bike. In the United States, people use their bicycles for less than one percent of all urban trips.
  • About 100 million bicycles are manufactured worldwide each year.
  • Over the past 30 years, bicycle delivery services have developed into an important industry, especially in cities, where the couriers have earned a reputation for their high speed and traffic-weaving skills.
  • The Tour de France (above) is one of the most famous bicycle races in the world. Established in 1903, it’s considered to be the biggest test of endurance out of all sports.
  • Bicycle Moto Cross (BMX), an extreme style of bicycle track racing, became a sport in the 2008 Summer Olympic Games in Beijing, China.

Boy – [boi] – /bɔɪ/


1. Boys are more likely to be heuristic learners than girls.

Boys, more than girls, are likely to learn many of their lessons from experience rather than being told. This can be make parenting them challenging, particularly if you don’t have an appetite for risk yourself. Perhaps the biggest challenge is keeping them safe so some risks need to be out-of bounds. It can also be difficult as a parent being the support person when the lessons that boys learn bring hardship and tears.

2. Boys brains are designed by a different architect

In the first five years of life a girl’s brain is busy developing fine motor skills, verbal skills and social skills, which are all highly valued by parents and teachers. Meanwhile, a boy’s brain is busy developing gross motor skills, spatial skills and visual skills. These are all handy hunting skills. So boys often start school with a distinct disadvantage when it comes to learning and fitting in.

3. Boys mature differently to girls.

The maturity gap between boys and girls of anywhere between 12 months and two years, seems to be consistent all the way to adulthood. Parents should take this into account when deciding the school starting age of their sons. This maturity gap is also evident when kids finish school and move into tertiary studies or the workplace. Girls are often better placed to succeed, and many boys get lost once they leave school.

4. Loyalty is high driver for boys.

Understand that a boy’s loyalty to his friends and family is a key driver and you’ll begin to understanding the male psyche. They are incredibly influenced by their peers, which can hold many of them back. It takes a brave boy to get too far ahead of the pack, so they often hold each other back when it comes to achieving.

Loyalty to others can get boys into trouble. Call a boy’s sister an insulting name and you are in for fight. Insult his friends and you are asking for trouble.

5. Boys are more likely to be visual learners

Boys generally need a reason to learn. If you are having difficulty motivating your son then try linking learning to their interests. They may play a musical instrument when they know they can play in a band or practice their kicking if they can see it will help kick more goals.
If they love skateboarding the chances are they want to know more about it, so use this as a lever to motivate them if reading is a problem.

6. Boys fight more than girls (you probably knew this).

Leonard Sax author of Why Gender Matters reports on the year long study of elementary (primary school) students in the playground where boys fight 20 times more than girls. The fighting wasn’t always destructive, as they researchers found that boys usually ended up being better friends following the dispute. Sax, notes that male primates have the same proclivity toward fighting and theories that aggression is a part of the socialization process for males. He asserts that male primates that don’t fight with other males when young, grow up more violent as adults, not less. I’d hasten that even though some boys may fight, an important part of the socialization process is to teach how to resolve conflict with words, rather than using physical means.

7. Boys benefit greatly from silence.

Boys don’t have the same innate tendency for reflection that girls are born with. Don’t get me wrong, males of all ages have the ability reflect on their behaviors, values and their lives (when older) but they need the environment to be right for them to do so.

Quiet time and down time give boys the chance to let their thoughts wander around inside their heads. It also helps them get to know and even like themselves. Boys will often do their best thinking on their own, so they tend to retreat to their caves (bedroom) when things go wrong at school or in their relationships. They need to go within to find their own answer.

8. Boys just want to blend in

Boys are group-oriented by nature. They want to fit in. They tend to play group games and form themselves into structured friendship groups. Boys generally don’t want to stand out from the crowd.

Don’t put them down in front of their friends and understand that they may make poor friendship choices rather than be in a group of one – by themselves. They prefer the ‘wrong friends’ rather than no friends at all.

9. Approval is at the heart of working with boys

Approval is at the heart of working successfully with boys. They will walk over broken glass or hot coals if they feel you like them. In a sense this notion holds many of them back, as most boys will only work for a teacher if they like them and close down on learning if they sense the teacher doesn’t like them.

Take the time to nurture a relationship with your sons or the boys that you interact with. Some boys like to talk; others like to share an activity; some like you as an adult to do something for them; others are very kinaesthetic and love to be touched, cuddled and hugged; while some just love gifts and mementoes. Work out the relational preferences of the males in your life and make sure you match these.



Ball – [bawl] – /bɔl/


A ball is a round object (usually spherical, but can sometimes be ovoid) with various uses. It is used in ball games, where the play of the game follows the state of the ball as it is hit, kicked or thrown by players. Balls can also be used for simpler activities, such as catch or juggling. Balls made from hard-wearing materials are used in engineering applications to provide very low friction bearings, known as ball bearings. Black-powder weapons use stone and metal balls as projectiles.

List of ball games. Bat-and-ball games , such as cricket and baseball . Racket and ball games, such as tennis , squash , racquetball and ball badminton . Hand and ball-striking games, such as various handball codes, rebound handball and 4 square. Goal games, such as forms of hockey (except ice hockey which uses a hockey puck ), basketball , water polo and all forms of football or lacrosse . Net games, such as volleyball and sepak .



Bear – [bair] – /bɛər/

Bears are carnivoran mammals of the family Ursidae. They are classified as caniforms, or doglike carnivorans. Although only eight species of bears are extant, they are widespread, appearing in a wide variety of habitats throughout the Northern Hemisphere and partially in the Southern Hemisphere. Bears are found on the continents of North America, South America, Europe, and Asia. Common characteristics of modern bears include large bodies with stocky legs, long snouts, small rounded ears, shaggy hair, plantigrade paws with five nonretractile claws, and short tails.

Scientific Name: Ursidae
Biological Fank: Family
Higher Classification: Caniformia
Height: 24 inch – 63 inch
Weight: 220 pound – 254 pound on average (Giant panda) · 165 pound – 276 pound (Giant panda, Female) · 0.2 pound – 0.22 pound (Giant panda, Newborn) · 99 pound (Giant panda, At 1 year of age) · 772 pound – 1,540 pound (Polar bear, Male) · 992 pound on average (Polar bear, In the beaufort sea, Male)
Lifespan: 20 years (Giant panda, In wild) · 35 years on average (Marsican brown bear)
Did You Know: Male Alaskan brown bears and polar bears may continue to grow until they are 11 years old.

Posted in English Workbook Level One, Letter Bb.